Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times
By Sheila Mullane Estrada
Published January 20, 2019
ST. PETE BEACH — Plans to renovate and convert the former
Silas Dent’s Steakhouse into a Caddy’s restaurant and bar have raised the
ire of potentially hundreds of nearby residents.
Residents of a
waterfront, four-story condominium and a smaller condominium
and a number of homes facing the inlet and the restaurant’s
rear fear noise from Caddy’s St. Pete Beach would echo
across the water.
Several voiced their objections during a recent City
Commission meeting and are now organizing to fight the city
in court if it allows the restaurant to have open-air access
to the rear of its bayside building on Gulf Boulevard just
north of 55th Avenue.
The residents are pushing for a formal, public hearing on
the restaurant renovation, while city officials insist there
is no legal reason barring the city administration from
granting a permit and absolutely no reason for a conditional
use permit as demanded by some residents.
In a letter to the
city, resident Ed Stapor said “the merits of the residents’
arguments have not been considered rigorously nor taken
He says there are
nearly 600 households within hearing distance of the
Aerial view of inlet leading to back of former Silas
Dent?s restaurant (building painted yellow) showing 4-story condo on
the north side and homes along 55th Avenue finger on the south side.
At issue are the type of window openings planned for the building’s rear
wall that faces a narrow inlet from the Intracoastal Waterway.
“It’s a very small bay and all the noise would ricochet between the
buildings. It would be like a sound chamber or tunnel,” said resident Mike
He and other residents have met with and corresponded frequently with city
officials, including the mayor, the city attorney and planning officials, as
well as the restaurant owner.
Stapor said area residents “categorically oppose” any renovation that would
allow use of the restaurant’s dock for boating customers or gathering of
patrons on the rear of the property.
“They (restaurant operators) intend to use the rear and dock for their
typically rowdy crowd,” resident Gerald Suetholz told the commission last
That will absolutely not happen, according to one of the restaurant owners,
Marcus Winters, whose JWC Holding group also owns Caddy’s on the Beach in
Treasure Island as well as MacDinton’s in St. Petersburg and Yard of Ale in
A rear door is only an emergency exit, he says, and inside dining tables
will be next to a single open-air window allowing patrons seated at the rear
of the restaurant to “enjoy Florida’s wonderful fresh air”.
There is a single dock that boating patrons will be allowed to use, just as
occurred at the former Silas Dent’s, according to Winters.
He says there are no plans to add any docks, much less the eight docks
publicized last year.
Once the city approves plans for the restaurant renovation, it will take
about three months to complete.
“This will be a family seafood restaurant with an open window to the water,”
Any outside dining will be restricted to the front of the restaurant.
“We are trying to put the people at ease. It’s very important that they know
we never set out to upset anybody,’’ Winters said. “We don’t intend to break
any city regulations.”
In its latest set of comments, the citys’ community development department
reminded Winters that city codes prohibit “exposing neighboring residents to
offensive noise and audible music, and adverse impacts from lighting and
Winters said there may be some live music in the evenings, but the musicians
will be positioned at the front of the restaurant, some distance away from
the single open window.
Earlier plans for the building’s renovation included the replacement of two
groups of fixed, closed windows on the rear of the building with two
roll-down, garage-style windows that would expose the interior directly to
the open air.