The Chicago-based Glunz family is cornering the market on East Ocean Drive commercial property on Key Colony Beach.
The well-known family - whose fortune was made in beer and wine wholesale and distribution - purchased the Ocean Beach Club hotel on East Ocean roughly three years ago.
Two weeks ago, the Glunz family purchased the popular adjacent Cabana Breezes tiki bar from owner Cole Tracy. The Tracy family retained ownership of the Cabana Club, a private swim club next to the bar.
The bar is closed for renovation that's being overseen by Jim Glunz, who most recently operated the Glunz Bavaria Haus, a German bar and restaurant, in Chicago.
Glunz told the Keynoter that purchasing the waterfront bar and restaurant allows the hotel to live up to its new Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort name.
"One thing we wanted to make it was a resort-type thing," he said. "That was a little foreshadowing because we weren't a resort at first."
Glunz said the family plans to offer room service and breakfast options to its hotel patrons, and is constructing a high-end eatery that he said will be separate from the existing tiki bar.
"Our family, coming down for years, we thought we needed to upscale the menu. We're keeping the Cabana tiki bar and a bar menu," he said, insisting that the changeover would not push local patrons away.
"We felt they were the key to the success to keep this place going while we didn't own it. It's been fun to see the locals come over and wonder what we're doing. They've been really wonderful," he said.
For now, Glunz said only that the high-end restaurant would take up the inside dining portion of the property, as well as the outdoor terrace area adjacent to the tiki bar.
Glunz called it a "fresh food restaurant" that will feature a smaller menu and "upscale beer and wine list."
The family has yet to decide on a name or a date that the property would reopen.
"We're shooting for next week some time," Glunz said on Jan. 23. "We're going to be open as fast as humanly possible."
Glunz said the goal is to maintain the tiki bar's original character, but that there would be some changes. That includes a family recipe thin-crust pizza being added to the menu.
The resort has also purchased a stretch eight-seat golf cart that Glunz said would pick up and drop off resort guests anywhere on Key Colony, as well as deliver food from its eateries. The service will be complimentary.
"Our policy is that if anybody would like to be a guest of the resort form Key Colony, we'll come pick you up to bring you," he said. "While they're here they validate the free rides."
In addition, hotel guests will be able to hitch rides to the island's other bar and restaurants.
"We'll shuttle our guests to and from Key Colony Inn, Tarpon Creek or Sparky's," he said.