PUNTA GORDA — Harpoon Harry’s is expanding, setting sail for Tampa.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Thursday Smuggler’s Enterprises was awarded a contract for retail space at Tampa Bay Convention Center. The Punta Gorda-based Smuggler’s Enterprises will open its second Harpoon Harry’s Crab House in six to eight months, the city said in a press release.

It’s thought Harpoon Harry’s Crab House will bolster downtown economic development, which has been spurred by the revitalization of Water Street Tampa, a $3 billion mixed-use district, Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.

Smuggler’s Enterprises — which also owns Captain’s Table, Laishley Crab House, Muscle Car City Diner, Smuggler’s Culinary Catering and Harpoon Harry’s — is investing $3.6 million to transform a 10,000-square-foot storage space into a “family-friendly themed restaurant,” the city reported.

Harpoon Harry’s Crab House opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a mountain town and mecca for tourists not far from Smoky Mountain National Park, about two years ago. Smuggler’s Enterprises President/ CEO Ron Evans is from Tennessee.

Initial designs of the restaurant indicate it will have between 400 and 500 seats with mezzanines and an open-air concept gained through roll-up doors along Franklin Street, according to Tampa Bay Business Journal. Similar to the original Crab House, a sushi bar, main bar and another themed as a 1920s truck are set to be included.

“We look forward to having Harpoon Harry’s Crab House at the Tampa Convention Center as another option,” Buckhorn said in a statement, “in a growing number of restaurants downtown, for both our convention goers, vacationers and Tampa residents alike.

As Tampa’s downtown becomes a destination that visitors across the globe are flocking to, its high-volume, moderately priced restaurants like these that will keep families returning to the urban core.”

Tampa Bay History Center was the previous tenant of Harpoon Harry’s latest location.

Smuggler’s Enterprises did not respond to attempts seeking comment.

Source:  Port Charlotte Sun
By Jonathan Scholles, Staff Writer