Following the recent acquisition of JD’s Restaurant and Lounge, Matt Loder Sr., CEO and principal at Crabby Bill’s, has added more restaurants and services under its restaurant and hospitality umbrellas, including a restaurant in Dunedin.
“This [acquiring restaurants] allows the next generation of our family to continue to build a larger footprint and maintain great relationships – just as my parents did,” Loder said.
“I took the reins of the family-run business and promised my dad that during my lifetime, we would never sell it and keep those long-term working relationships with suppliers and competitors.”
Decades ago, Crabby Bill’s started in a small 800-square-foot building on Gulf Boulevard and has expanded over time to include several additions to the Loder Family Brands: Crabby Gifts, Jake’s Coastal Cantina, Seabreeze Island Grill, Ready Set Yo!, Crabby Bill’s St. Pete Beach and Crabby Bill’s Fish Camp.
The group recently acquired property at 301 Gulf Blvd. through a long-term lease. It was formerly a Mexican restaurant, near the Crabby Bill’s location.
“We’ve been working on this for just over a year to update the building due to supply chain challenges,” he said, explaining it was completely renovated with a new A/C, roof and plumbing, and that they are waiting for a transformer from Duke Energy. There was a shortage of equipment due to Duke Energy serving those in Southwest Florida who suffered damage due to Hurricane Ian.
“This is different than what we do at Crabby Bill’s and JD’s – this place will have live entertainment mainly focused on sports and will become more of that type of gathering place,” he said.
It will be renamed Guilty Sea Sports Pub.
The family also recently acquired the waterfront Bon Appetit restaurant in Dunedin from owners Peter Kreuziger and Karl Riedl. Loder said they will keep the same concept and plan to capitalize on the 200-person banquet facility on the top of the restaurant.
“Bon Appetit has been here for over 45 years and they said it was time to step out and they could have sold this to a lot of people, and they decided with us,” he said.
In a LinkedIn post about the restaurant sale, Loder wrote, “We love the beautiful waterfront views, white tablecloth atmosphere and the entire experience you get when you dine at the Bon Appetit. Again, we admire the wonderful restaurant they have created over all these years. It’s our hope that they, Peter and Karl, will continue at their leisure to provide us with guidance as we take the helm.”
Loder will be making cosmetic changes to the property, such as improving the docks, and is collecting input from team members. He does plan to return the valet parking service at the restaurant, which is in high demand, according to the existing staff.
“Everything great takes time, and everything good may not be easy,” he said, regarding the five-month acquisition process.
Loder said he is always open to opportunities that may approach him, adding that the business typically evaluates properties within a two-hour driving distance from Crabby Bill’s.
In addition to having more restaurants under its belt, the company is also growing its catering line – Big Claw Catering LLC.
The family also is the food and beverage provider at Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club hotel in Clearwater Beach via the Cabanas Coastal Grill.