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Doc Ford’s to take over former Green Iguana waterfront space

Veronica Brezina

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The Doc Ford's restaurant in Fort Myers Beach. The new Bay Pines location will look similar to this. HM Restaurant Group.

The parent company that runs Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille is set to open a new location in a space formerly occupied by the Green Iguana. 

The Fort Myers-based HM Restaurant Group purchased the waterfront property in West St. Pete, at 8790 Bay Pines Blvd., in late April from Chesapeake Bay Holding Company Inc. in a $3.45 million deal. 

8790 Bay Pines Blvd. Google Maps.

The 6,750-square-foot building, formerly home to the Green Iguana Bar and Grill, has been vacant for nearly a decade. Before it was used for the Green Iguana, it operated as a Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant. 

The Doc Ford’s restaurant in Fort Myers Beach. The new Bay Pines location will look similar to this. HM Restaurant Group.

“Since opening the Doc Ford’s at the St. Pete Pier, the market has been very good to us,” Joe Harrity, marketing & operations director at the restaurant group, told the St. Pete Catalyst

“This location has the feel and look we go for and it’s on the water. Besides the restaurants at John’s Pass, there aren’t that many waterfront restaurants and this is a market that’s far enough from the pier but is close enough that people are familiar with our brand,” Harrity said. 

The group was site searching for a year before claiming the 2.2-acre site. 

“The location stayed vacant for so long because of the flood line. We are getting the flood line moved so we can do all of our renovations,” he said. The renovations may cost upwards of $1 million. 

HM Restaurant Group plans to have transient floating docks on the property that would allow for eight boat slips. 

The group initially wanted to open the new location by the end of this year; however, due to the pandemic’s impact on permitting and increased cost of materials, the goal now is to open it by next spring. 


RELATED: Restaurants opening in St. Pete: From tropical to twisted melts


The Doc Ford’s restaurant in Fort Myers Beach. The new Bay Pines location will look similar to this. HM Restaurant Group.

The Doc Ford’s location is expected to have more than 300 seats, with the majority outside. 

Unlike the St. Pete Pier location that’s very modern, the Bay Pines location will have the typical aesthetic of the other Doc Ford’s locations. 

Once opened, it will generate roughly 80 jobs, Harrity said. 

Doc Ford’s other locations include Fort Myers Beach, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Rose Hayes

    August 12, 2021at7:57 am

    Great news. Maybe we will not have to pay to park.

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