We’ve got the dish on some exciting new eateries and openings.
We’re looking forward to four new restaurants opening this year from longtime Ocala resident and restaurateur Brad Harper. Eggs Up Grill, which will offer breakfast and lunch, will debut next door to Shuckin’ Shack, an ocean-friendly eatery committed to sustainably harvested oysters and seafood sourced as locally as possible. They’re set to open this month at Market Street at Heath Brook. The oyster bar will be a welcome addition to landlocked Ocala. The restaurant, which will also offer mussels, clams, crab legs, lobster, scallops and certified Wild American shrimp, will receive daily shipments of oysters—Harper promises not to serve any oysters more than 48 hours old.
“My interest in Shuckin’ Shack is because of the way the brand ties in with the community and is environmentally friendly and charitable,” he explains.
Harper also expects to open Locos Pub and Grill on East Silver Springs Boulevard in the next few months, and fan favorite Mellow Mushroom pizza in downtown Ocala this summer. Harper explains that the eatery is typically located in markets larger than Ocala, but the company took notice of how quickly our community is growing.
“Ocala deserves some really good restaurants,” says Harper, who brought Zaxby’s to Marion County 20 years ago. He adds that he and his wife Jessica, along with business partners James and Sandi Clarty want to bring quality restaurants to their hometown. “We are thrilled with the way things are going in Marion County, and we’re very happy to be bringing these businesses to Ocala and to be part of the community.”
Harper also helps to fund athletic programs and various clubs for Marion County Public Schools as part of his commitment to the community.
New & Next
Recently opened Ocala eateries include the gorgeous Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill, which boasts specialty and top-shelf cocktails and fresh, locally sourced and healthy food; downtown bar and gastropub Black Sheep on Broadway, offering a full bar including craft beer, wine and cocktails and some delicious eats including burgers, sandwiches, sliders, wings and crab cakes; Ristorante Milano, which is drawing lots of praise for its scratch-made Italian cuisine on Southwest College Road; family-owned Sabores Latinos on Northeast 3rd Street, where they specialize in homemade Latin American dishes; and Chef Loring Felix’s The Fiery Chef, is now open on East Silver Springs Boulevard with gourmet prepared meals and salads, including paleo and keto, to eat in or take out and scratch-made broth, soups and desserts.