Ace Patio has recipe to succeed, owner says
By PIPER JONES CASTILLO
© St. Petersburg Times,
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- Aco "Ace" Akimovski plans to open a new restaurant, Ace's Patio, by this weekend at 2208 Gulf Blvd., and he says he's not concerned that three others have closed at the same site in the past six years.
"This will be a success because of my approach," says Akimovski, a native of Macedonia.
Last May, Akimovski, 45, purchased the property on the west side of Gulf Boulevard for $360,000 from Ellen and Bill Schwandt.
"Before me, the restaurant operators were renters, but I am coming in as owner of the entire property -- both inside and out. I'm responsible for everything, and this makes a difference when you approach it," said Akimovski, who also owns the Apple Cobbler on West Bay Drive in Largo and is past owner of the two Maria's Restaurants in Largo.
"I'm also not worried because I've been a chef and in the business for a long time," he said.
He is spending $100,000 on renovations, including a 1,200-square-foot deck, an expanded parking lot and a full-service bar at the center of the restaurant. He plans to hire at least 10 employees.
The menu at Ace's Patio will include steaks, seafood, sandwiches and salads.
"I will concentrate on the steaks, though. There's nowhere on Indian Rocks that offers good steaks," he said. "And of course, like in my other restaurant, the menu will include some Macedonian food, like pleskavaca (chopped steak) and palacenki (crepes)."
The recent restaurants on the site of Ace's Place include Mocha Bay (2000-2001), Mahi's Island Grille (1997-2000) and Skipjack's (1996-1997). Murph's Seafood Restaurant operated from the site from the early 1980s until 1996. "Out of all of them, Murph's was definitely the longest standing," said Ellen Schwandt, who owned the beach property along with her husband from 1997 through May 2001.
Ace's Patio will be open from 11 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week.
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