New owner upgrades marina at Cortez Seafood Shack

Manatee County's landmark Seafood Shack is completing a revamp of its marina facilities.

click to enlarge Improvements to the Seafood Shack marina include new pilings and decking. - The Seafood Shack
The Seafood Shack
Improvements to the Seafood Shack marina include new pilings and decking.


Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, the Seafood Shack bar and grill has been cooking up local catches for downtown Cortez since the early 1970s. While the 180-seat destination has experienced several expansions, new owner John Vandyk, CEO of the Canadian developer VANDYK group of companies, started implementing more changes in October last year.

With a fresh menu and management team, The Shack, as the locals call it, is now completing its marina revitalization. Vandyk aimed to "bring the local treasure back to life," according to a news release.

More electrical capacity, alongside new power pedestals, lighting, decking and pilings, are among the 68-slip marina's updates. Boaters also have access to free Wi-Fi, gas at the nearby Annie's Bait & Tackle, trailer storage and the renovated private shower and bathroom. Other facility improvements are planned, including space for seaplane dockage.

Inside, wood from the marina's old docks was used for the new bar at The Neptune Room, a 7,000-square-foot banquet hall on the landmark restaurant's second floor. Though dockage for diners is complimentary, reservations are recommended for overnight boaters and those who plan to stay awhile.

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