Patrons to Crystal River’s Margarita Breeze saw quite a few changes when the restaurant opened its doors Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Firstly, it’s not the Margarita Breeze anymore. The new name, now in effect, is Waterfront Social.
Secondly, there’s a new menu. Diners will still find staples such as burgers, chicken wings and seafood options. Other entrees now include a mix of Southern-coastal foods.
Customers will notice new floors, newly painted walls, new fans and lighting and new china and glassware. A new blue-white color scheme replaces the old brown inside.
“It’s pretty much a total revamp,” said Richard Wiggins, new owner of the restaurant at the Port Paradise Resort & Hotel at 1610 SE Paradise Circle.
There’s still some tweaks to come but the major renovations are completed, he said.
Local urologist, hotelier and restaurateur Dr. Paresh Desai, whose family bought the property in 2003-04, tabbed Richard and Tiffany Wiggins, owners of Lecanto’s Katch Twenty Two Restaurant to take over the renovated facility.
Desai said the Wiggins’ have the culinary background and restaurant credentials to do the job at his Port Paradise, soon to undergo a major renovation of its own.
Desai said Wiggins knows what it takes to work in a “big-flag” hotel, which Port Paradise will soon become when it transitions over to a Marriott Hotel.
“He’s the perfect candidate,” Desai said. “We’re lucky he’s in Citrus County.”
Richard Wiggins was 20 when he began his hospitality culinary career with Hyatt Hotels, working his way up to the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando and Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
Until June of this year, Tiffany Wiggins worked as a catering and sales specialist for Marriott Hotels.
Wiggins stressed the renovated restaurant, which had remained open during all these changes, will be laid-back. He will continue to own and operate the upscale Katch Twenty Two at 2924 State Road 44.
Meanwhile, Desai said bulldozing will start soon on part of the 7-acre Port Paradise property to make way for a new Marriott, which will have 75 hotel rooms, 35 condos, a bayside pool, grass courtyard, dive center and other amenities.
Marriott will take care of management operations once the redevelopment is complete and certain construction requirements are met. The price tag for all this is $25 to $35 million.
Wiggins said once the hotel is built, probably in about two years, the existing restaurant will close and a new one — still run by him — will move inside the Marriott.
What that restaurant will look like is too early to tell, he said.
Wiggins said the new Marriott should be a big success for Citrus County.
“Once the new hotel comes, everything changes in the area,” he said.