■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
The fish tank is still there. The general look is the same, and the phone number is, too. The sign came down last week for PJ’s Seagrille, Scarpa’s Coastal sign went up, and a new dining opportunity has come to fruition.
If you called Scarpa’s Coastal Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon, the answering service announced that reservations for Tuesday and Wednesday were already full. There are already rave reviews of the food on Facebook, including some locals who had nothing but good things to say about the amazing Italian-coastal menu.
While the restaurant held their soft opening this week, they are not in official “full swing” yet. Right now they are taking limited reservations, and next week they will assess where they are in their learning curve.
“We had no idea this many people would come in the first few days,” said co-owner Ashley Scarpa. “We had about 100 people each night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We are predicting we will still be doing our soft opening for another week or two.”
The full bar and extensive menu seem to already be a hit with many who have tried it so far. Scarpa’s Italian in Lakeland has a huge following, and some of those followers also come to Boca Grande quite frequently.
Bob Melvin played an integral role in bringing Scarpa’s to the island. Ashley and her husband Glenn tried to work out a deal with several potential buyers of the building, but when those deals didn’t work out Bob persisted in his effort to get the couple a second location here on the island.
“Bob has been our biggest cheerleader. He has been vital in making this happen,” Ashley said.
If you’re interested in giving Scarpa’s Coastal a try, you need to give them a call well in advance. The phone number should be familiar, as it’s the same one that PJ’s Seagrille had: (941) 964-0806.
“It’s hard to believe that Glenn and I started on this path almost a year ago!” Ashley said. “We are so grateful that this door has opened for us, and we’re so looking forward to becoming a part of the Boca Grande community.”