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The Pub Waterfront Restaurant changes hands
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Photo by BRIAN GOFF
The Pub Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge in Indian Shores was recently sold by Steve and Nancy Westphal to the owners of Caddy’s on the Beach in Treasure Island.
INDIAN SHORES – Another page is turning in the chapter of an iconic beach staple, The Pub Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge, 20025 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores.

Owner Steve Westphal decided the time was right to sell the property and business to concentrate on other pieces of his growing restaurant holdings.

He said as he approaches age 60, it is time to welcome new blood into the operation of The Pub.

“The Pub is a 50-year-old building that requires a lot of attention for maintenance and upkeep,” he said. “We felt that by going forward, the customers and staff would be better served with fresh new energy. I took care of it and grew it the best I could for the last 20 years.”

Westphal and his wife Nancy recently sold the property to the owners of Caddy’s on the Beach in Treasure Island. Details of the deal were not released.

Westphal is convinced that the Caddy’s, led by Barry O’Connor, will keep the tradition of The Pub going well into the future.

“The new owners are a fine group of Irish gentlemen,” he said. “They will no doubt continue in the tradition of The Pub and keep her iconic for years to come. The onsite crew and management were very appealing and I don’t see any changes to that.”

O’Connor could not be reached for comment.

Westphal said the toughest part of selling The Pub for him and his wife was having to part from the staff, many of whom have been there for decades.

“We could not help but feel like we were losing family after all these years,” he said. “Many of them were there long before me and will be there long after me. I look forward to visiting them often. They are not gone and not forgotten.”

Westphal said the interaction with the staff has left indelible memories.

“We watched their children grow up to be busboys and cooks,” he said. “I preach to many a young busboy and ask them to remember that was where my first job was and maybe they too can have ownership of a place they can call home. We’ll always have a place in our hearts for them.”

Westphal did indeed begin his working career as a busboy at The Pub. Then not long after he went into ownership and before owning The Pub 20 years ago had a stake in two other bars, the Sports Bar at Bay Pines and another on Gandy Boulevard.

In addition to the actual Pub itself Westphal also owned the neighboring apartment building and next to that a small marina and boat rental business. Both those properties went in the sale to the Caddy’s group. Westphal had plans to incorporate those properties with The Pub to create a resort-like development. That now becomes someone else’s dream.

Westphal does retain one restaurant property on the beach, Aqua Prime in Indian Rocks Beach. He and his wife purchased that just over a year ago and he says it is doing well.

“It requires very little in maintenance and management,” he said. “It is doing so well, and we look forward to continued good results.”

The future for the Westphals however, seems to lie in downtown St. Petersburg where they own four establishments, soon to be five.

They own and operate 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House, the Parkshore Grill, the Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge at Albert Whitted Airport and Café Tala in the Salvador Dalí Museum. Soon to open will be a casual breakfast and lunch restaurant next to 400 Beach.

“It is all about growing,” said Westphal. “We were having so much opportunity downtown. We’re closing one door but another one is opening; this is a journey into the next chapter.”

“I bought The Pub when I was 39 and gave it all the energy I could. Now that I’m approaching 60 it is time to make good decisions. We’re not here forever,” he said.

Still, he maintains that The Pub was special in his life and always will be.

“I could not ask for a better experience than my 20 years at The Pub,” he said. “It was a growing and enriching period in my life. I’m thankful for everything that came our way during that time.”
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