The Therien family brought the Banana Boat to Boynton Beach nearly 40 years ago and next month will celebrate a grand reopening after a weeks-long closure to update the waterfront restaurant.
There won’t be changes in the menu, prices or ownership, but there will be of a “Florida Caribbean” feel with more dock space and an emphasis on outdoor dining, said Luke Therien, one of the brothers who own the restaurant.
“We’re trying to connect with the Florida Caribbean atmosphere: fresh seafood on the waterfront, fishing, boating, surfing,” he said. “The decoration and the atmosphere didn’t completely reflect that.”
Banana Boat off Ocean Avenue in the Boynton Harbor Marina is one of a handful of restaurants in the underdeveloped downtown are that by itself has become a destination spot, but needed a renovation. The others:
- Across Federal Highway also on Ocean Avenue, Hurricane Alley, recently underwent a renovation that included a new bar that is double the size of the old one, owner Kim Kelly said.
- And an update is in store for Prime Catch, at Federal Highway Woolbright Road also owned by the Therien family.
Banana Boat, which opened in November 1978, closed Sept. 5 and is expected to reopen Oct. 5.
The improvements include new bathrooms, a dock with space for eight boats instead of three, a new patio bar, hurricane-proof windows that can open on those cool winter nights and a new color scheme of white and a Caribbean blue instead of the old beige.
Hurricane Alley closed in June for renovations. The restaurant, which opened more than two decades ago, had three sections but now the middle wall has been torn down to make an open room. The bar used to be about 12 feet and is now 25, which means more seating.
“It’s just more of an open and airy feeling,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the renovation was prompted by staff needing more space, and to keep up with the growing area. Across the street a residential and retail complex called 500 Ocean is under construction.
The restaurant will also be getting a new awning, but that’s thanks — or no thanks — to Hurricane Irma.
The Therien family opened Prime Catch in Riverwalk Plaza in June 2004. It’s also on the Intracoastal. A renovation will start when construction begins on the Winn-Dixie in the plaza, which will become a 10-story residential building with 326 apartments.
“After 14, 15 years there’s a lot of wear and tear,” Therien said. “Prime Catch has been upscale and we will continue on that theme.”