Owners of Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet are looking to open a second restaurant on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.
Erez Sukarchi, one of the owners of Wicked Tuna, said he hopes to begin construction on the 15,000-square-foot restaurant at 1901 N. Ocean Blvd. sometime next year, with the goal of opening in time for the 2017 summer tourist season. There is a Wicked Tuna restaurant in Murrells Inlet at the marshwalk, which is known for it’s fresh fish – including sushi, prime beef and cocktails.
Sukarchi said he initially planned to go before the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board on Thursday but instead is going to go through the Planning Commission first because the property is part of the 21st Avenue planned unit development.
Plans are in the works for Wicked Tuna 2 to be a $3 million, three-level restaurant, including rooftop dining, that seats about 350 people, he said. The property sits on a 65-foot-by-100-foot lot on the west side of Ocean Boulevard – across from Anderson Park, so while the restaurant is not oceanfront, it has an ocean view.
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“We’re on the second row, but the advantage of this property is that we’re right in front of the park,” he said. “We’ll always have an ocean view because it’s a city park and nothing can be built there.”
There also is a 1,500-square-foot parking lot on Withers Drive that Sukarchi said is expected to fit about 100 parking spaces.
“We’ll have a lot of people walking from hotels, but we also have a big property behind the restaurant so that people can drive and not have to worry about parking,” he said.
Sukarchi said the Wicked Tuna Group purchased the property within the past eight months and is looking forward to expanding into Myrtle Beach.
“We opened [in Murrells Inlet] in May 2013 and it was a big hit from the get-go,” he said. “We’re doing really, really, really well down there. And with the popularity of it we decided to bring one up this way.”
Sukarchi said he hopes to take advantage of residents and tourists in Myrtle Beach with the new restaurant.
“Most people who live in Myrtle Beach don’t want to travel all the way down to Murrells Inlet for dinner,” he said. “And if they have a drink they worry about getting home. It seems far.”
Sukarchi said plans for the design are to be similar to the restaurant in Murrells Inlet, but also catered to Ocean Boulevard.
“There will be three bars, one on each floor,” he said. “The food is the same food like Murrells Inlet – great food.”
To bring the restaurant to Myrtle Beach, the owners must submit an application to the Planning Commission to amend the planned unit development, said city planner Kelly Mezzapelle. There must be a public hearing after which the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to Myrtle Beach City Council.
City Council then must approve two readings of an ordinance to amend the planned unit development, Mezzapelle said. Once approved, the design has to go before the Community Appearance Board before the city will issue building permits.
“It’s a straight-forward restaurant,” Sukarchi said. “I don’t expect any problems getting approved. ... It’s exciting. I really feel like we’re going to bring something different to the Myrtle Beach restaurant experience. You have chain restaurants, but you don’t have Wicked Tuna.”
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu.