It was a building that sat vacant for more than a year. Those who went down to the flats got used to the 23,000 square foot building across from Punch Bowl Social and The Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar staying unused and desolate among the other occupied and happening places in the Flats.
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Restaurant is scheduled for a soft open on Monday, July 3—just four months after construction began on a space that only had gravel for a foundation. The Grand Opening is scheduled for July 11 with an official ribbon cutting. Patrons coming to the restaurant will notice what a challenge this opening is, considering the size of the space. It isn't for every restaurateur to take on, but, for Margaritaville, it was just right.
"Cleveland is becoming a tourist attraction which being from Cleveland it's crazy to hear. Margaritaville will give some familiarity to come here. We have a lot of local things in Cleveland but Margaritaville is a well-known brand name. Also, the whole East Bank of the Flats is uprising, trendy, it's fashionable, it just fits right into that escapism, you're on vacation somewhere," said Joe Jalsevac, General Manager of Margaritaville in Cleveland.
With the weather being notoriously unpredictable in Cleveland, Margaritaville gives the much needed warm weather vibe to Clevelanders, particularly in the cold, long winter months. Jalsevac jokingly said the thermostat will always be in the 80's for those wanting a warm refuge.
Guests will be welcomed with a 20-foot oversized blender mimicking a margarita blender. Memorabilia throughout the restaurant is synonymous with the Margaritaville brand. A life-sized pontoon boat serves as booth seating in the main dining area.
While there are not many features of the restaurant specific to Cleveland, Jalsevac fought hard to get more locally sourced draft beer on tap.
"One of my things was I tried to fight for having more draft beers because Cleveland is a beer drinking town. We have five that we have to carry nationally and then seven I can do what I want with," Jalsevac said.
Great Lakes, Goldhorn Brewery and Portside Brewery & Distillery are just a few that will be in the cold glasses of thirsty guests. Beers will rotate every so often based on seasonal demand.
The menu will be consistent with the national brand. Signature food items include hand-battered chicken tenders, Volcano nachos and Landshark Lager Fish & Chips. Of course, the homemade margaritas shouldn't be forgotten.
Margaritaville has a rooftop patio with self-seating and access to the street for those just wanting to pop in for a view and a drink. On the lower level, the 5 o'clock lounge provides inside seating that continues to the street.
As summer rolls through Cleveland, Margaritaville adds another option for those heading to the Flats East Bank, which has a little bit of something for everyone.
"Expect to have fun. Crazy. Live music every day. It's going to be louder than most places so expect that," Jalsevac said about what patrons can expect from Margaritaville.