The American dream is alive and well. For proof that hard work and dedication pay off, just stop by Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill in Coral Gables and see owneroperator Wayne Eldred, who came to the States from England when he was 12.
Eldred is sure to be there since he is in the restaurant 80-100 hours each week making sure that his patrons and employees are happy.
After working like he owned the place for the past eight years in the roles of assistant manager and general manager, Eldred’s dream of becoming majority owner of Tarpon Bend came true in April. It was no easy feat.
“It took more than three years to figure out the deal,” Eldred said.
Under Eldred’s watchful eye, Tarpon Bend has become a neighborhood favorite in the heart of Coral Gables. Since restaurants “live and die by quality and service,” according to Eldred, it should come as no surprise that patrons will find great service, high quality products, a positive vibe and a welcoming atmosphere at Tarpon Bend.
“We know 85 percent of our clients by name,” he said.
That is because everyone keeps coming back. Eldred calls Tarpon Bend a “daily dining destination.”
Many regulars order their tried-and-true favorite each day, while others try something different from the varied menu that includes American classics, daily fresh catches and an amazing array of seasonal raw bar items.
Although freshly prepared seafood is the house specialty, Tarpon Bend also offers a mouthwatering burger or steak for beef lovers, as well as a delicious Chicken Milanese and Marinated Pork Tenderloin.
“We are a scratch kitchen. Our chefs get here at 6 a.m. each day to begin prepping,” Eldred said. “When you serve seafood, you can only deal with fresh products.”
People know Tarpon Bend is the hot spot for lunch, dinner and happy hour. Now, friends can meet there on the weekends for brunch, too. Eldred launched his brunch offering the first weekend in July. The 13- item a la carte menu that was five months in the making features Crab Cake Benedict, Nutty French Toast, Smoked Salmon Roll, Shrimp and Grits, omelets, pancakes, parfaits and of course, Bloody Marys and Mimosas from the lively bar.
“Our brunch menu has traditional favorites, but with a sexy twist,” said Eldred. “We want to be the ‘go-to’ place for brunch in Coral Gables.”
Eldred is determined to ensure that the people who come to Tarpon Bend, and Coral Gables for that matter, have a great experience. The 32-year-old restaurateur has served the community on the boards of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and Travel and Tourism. He was recently elected the chamber’s incoming treasurer — a role he will begin in the fall. Eldred also is one of the founders of the Burgerlicious Festival and Coral Gables Restaurant Week.
“I’m in the hospitality business and, to me, that means giving back so people have a great experience,” Eldred said. “Life is about leaving a legacy.”
He also works hard to train and mentor a staff that understands his commitment to excellence and consistently delivers highquality service.
“I pray every day for the ability to lead this group of people,” Eldred said. “My goal is to add joy to this world, by serving up great times you can taste.”
For information on Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill, 65 Miracle Mile, call 305-444-3210 or visit www.TarponBend.com