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Beach Beacon
RumFish opens at Guy Harvey Outpost
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Photo by BOB McCLURE
A 33,500-gallon fish aquarium is a focal point at the new RumFish Grill and Bar at the Guy Harvey Outpost in St. Pete Beach.
ST. PETE BEACH – The beach’s newest gem opened to a major fanfare May 16.

Guy Harvey’s RumFish Grill and Bar at Guy Harvey Outpost, 6600 Gulf Blvd., was showcased during a VIP reception that was followed by a special edition of the television show “Tanked” on Animal Plant, which featured the builders of a 33,500-gallon aquarium – the centerpiece of the new facility.

Those dining at the $6 million facility will have a chance to sit close up to an aquarium measuring 33 feet wide, 10 feet high and 6 inches thick. Inside are over 200 fish. The 31 varieties include tarpon, sharks, snook, Jack Crevalle, cobia, spotted sea trout, red drum, black drum and a 5-foot moray eel, to name a few.

“About 60 percent of the fish were caught (in the Gulf of Mexico),” said Keith Overton, president and chief operating officer of TradeWinds Island Resorts, which includes Guy Harvey Outpost. “We brought in some of the Atlantic species.”

The fish were caught by Overton, Guy Harvey and the builders of the tank, Wayde King and Brett Raymer, the hosts of “Tanked” and owners of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing of Las Vegas.

“We caught most of the fish in four to five days,” said Overton, “including a 29-inch trout that Guy caught.”

Secrets of the Sea, which formerly operated the aquarium at the St. Petersburg Pier, will be the curator of the aquarium and maintain the main tank, as well as two 1,100-gallon tanks for predator fish in the bar area and a juvenile tank in the restaurant.

TradeWinds Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost guests will have chance to snorkel in the big tank for $25 and a webcam is planned to stream views of the fish on the TradeWinds website.

Overall, RumFish takes up 17,000 square feet. The main dining room seats 150 and the bar seats 80 inside and 70 outside. When not sipping on a cold drink, patrons will have the option of viewing TV screens in the bar and listening to a variety of live music.

Chef Aaron Schweitzer will oversee a 5,000-square-foot kitchen that will feature a state-of-the-art self-cleaning hood system. Schweitzer said there would be seven to eight cooks on the line at all times preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu, he said, would include nine main entrees and about 28 to 29 items total.

Reservations are currently being accepted online at www.rumfishgrill.com for seatings on and after June 1, when the restaurant officially opens.

For King and Raymer, the RumFish project was one of their largest. The pair have a long history of converting anything from a gumball machine and an automobile into a fish tank.

“This is more of a traditional aquarium with more of the things of Florida,” Raymer said.

Surprisingly, the entire RumFish project took less than three months to complete. The toughest obstacle, King said, was bringing in the large acrylic walls for the tank, which weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds each, and putting them in place with a 12-story crane. The filtration system alone takes up the equivalent of eight parking spaces, Raymer said, and the aquarium is supported by 36 25-foot pilings under the tank.

For those who wish to view fish in the tank but not sit down for a meal in the dining room, there is the RumFish Cave – an enclosed corridor that runs beside the dining area to the tank and allows folks a free look at the aquatic life without disturbing those in the dining room.

“This aspect is the best part of all because it allows the general public to come in and view the tank,” Overton said.

They can also check out the 2,200-square-foot Guy Harvey Outpost retail store, which is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Overton said he anticipates $1.5 million to $2 million in revenue per year from the retail store and about $10 million annually from the restaurant. He expects about 80 percent of that to come from resort guests.

“I feel like we’re really in a good position to do well,” said Overton. “But, of course, our biggest challenge, as it is everywhere on the beaches, is parking.”

Altogether, the TradeWinds offers nearly 800 rooms – 585 at the Island Grand and 211 at the Guy Harvey Outpost.
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