DAYTONA BEACH — If it’s truly 5 o’clock somewhere, as the Jimmy Buffett mindset suggests, then the destination for early happy hour on Thursday was the World’s Most Famous Beach.
Area business leaders, elected officials and other dignitaries hoisted margaritas and beers well before lunch to toast the simultaneous grand openings of the Buffett-branded Landshark Bar & Grill and the adjoining, separately-owned Cocina 214 Tex-Mex eatery, restaurants touted as additions that could lift the prospects for other beachside businesses.
“It has been a really fast year in making this happen,” said John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., among several area leaders to address a crowd clustered in the restaurants’ shared parking lot.
Consolidated-Tomoka is the landowner and developer of the $6 million dual-restaurant project on a 6-acre lot at 451 S. Atlantic Ave., just north of SunSplash Park.
“Our whole mission here is basically to get this property activated and get the beachside activated,” Albright said. “To me, this is the potential of Daytona Beach, and this is a start and there’s a lot more to come.”
Cocina 214 has hired virtually all of its 75-member workforce for a restaurant with a capacity of 345 guests. Landshark, meanwhile, also is close to its goal of 150 workers for that 350-seat restaurant.
Daytona Beach City Commissioner Ruth Trager said such economic impact is “fantastic.”
“The neighborhood is all in favor of it; the city is all in favor of it,” Trager said. “We see this as being the catalyst for great things happening in this area. It’s only the beginning.”