Marina Cantina Coming soon to Grand Lagoon!

 

New Restaurant at Capt. Anderson's Marina in PCB
Marina Cantina Opening April 30th!!!

There is a new, hot Mexican restaurant coming to Panama City Beach in just a few days!  I am as excited as an avocado….do they get excited?

Anyhow, having a mother that makes excellent home made salsa and with myself, having the inclination to put jalapenos on anything that doesn’t move…..I could not help but jump up and down when I found out that Jeff Freidrich, a seasoned Restaurateur was opening a nice Mexican Restaurant on Grand Lagoon at Capt. Andersons Marina.

Knowing that Friedrich had ran a chain of successful, Gourmet pizza restaurants in Seattle , I posed the question, “Why Mexican?”  He said that he saw the space and just knew he could do something great with it.  He asked himself, “What do we like to eat?”.  “What do we have a taste for that is not readily available in PCB?”  “How could we bring it here?”  These are the questions that lead him to the answer…….Marina Cantina, Modern Mexican Cuisine and Tequila Bar.

In the past, Friedrich mentioned he and his family had to drive into Panama City or down Highway 30A for gourmet mexican fare.  He wanted to be able to bring a nice, modern restaurant for our local PCB beachgoers with a discerning taste, and yet still make it casual enough that you could enjoy one of their signature margaritas in their flip flops.

The restaurant will not only have a full bar inside, with the largest tequila selection on the beach, but Marina Cantina will also boast a full bar outside, for patrons to enjoy nightly live entertainment on the dockside patio overlooking Grand Lagoon.

From what I have learned about this upcoming, modern mecca for authentic, Mexican cookery and a good time, is that there will always be SOMETHING going on.  In addition to providing a variety of live entertainment options for their customers, Marina Cantina will feature daily happy hour drink and appetizer specials.  Their menu, which is said to have been inspired by South American street vendors will include fare made from scratch  using fresh ingredients.   Vegetarian and kid friendly options will also be available.  You can get a taste of what they have to offer, starting April 30th, Monday through Saturday, from 11 am to 11 pm.  They will also serve brunch on Sundays, starting at 10 am.  I know where I am going to eat after church now!!

As I sat down with Jeff and listened to him talk about his new place, I could feel goose bumps inching there way up to my skins’ surface.  Here was a man that was passionate about his business, who believed in it, with every inch of his being.  Tableside gaucamole delicious.  Live entertainment every night….too cool.  But a person that is completely and wholly invested in their business with the desire to serve their community…well, that is amazing.  If the enchiladas are half as intense as Friedrich’s enthusiasm, the tables at Marina Cantina will surely be full.

I will you let know about those enchiladas after I try them and touch back in next week.  Until then, why not open up your Facebook and LIKE them or give them a call: 850 – 249- 5500.  If you are as excited as I am and want to enter your email at a chance to win tickets to the Family and Friends Pre-Grand Opening Party THIS weekend…..go to their website, http://www.marinacantinapcb.com/ to enter!

January PCB Tourism Interest Activity Up

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at PCBLP.com.

All signs are pointing to a great tourism season in Panama City Beach.  Last year we had record breaking numbers and we expect much the same for the 2012 tourism season.

Many of our rental condos at PCBLP are booked up all summer already and we’re hearing much the same from our industry partners.

Visitor Service Inquiries and Web Site Activity

On a monthly basis, tourists from around the country (and the globe) inquire on more information about Panama City Beach through a variety of sources.  The numbers below are approximate, here are the top 5.

  • Website Inquiries: 3,500
  • Rea.Fun.Beach.Club ’11/’12: 2,250
  • Oprah Magazine: 2,150
  • Compass Family Travel: 1,750
  • Beach Chamber of Commerce: 600

Website Activity

A couple years ago the Tourist Development Council (TDC) launched a new website and a whole new effort to market the beach.  The campaign, dubbed Real.Fun.Beach has done loads in acquiring visibility for our little tourist town.  And through the BP disaster and the subsequent compensatory marketing funds that came from it, they captured the attention of national media time and time again.

January 2011 activity

  • Number of visits: 93,430
  • Length of session: 4 minutes 22 seconds
  • Pageviews per visit: 5.85
  • Unique visitors: 77,222

January 2012 activity

  • Number of visits: 119,220
  • Length of session: 3 minutes 57 seconds
  • Pageviews per visit: 4.9
  • Unique visitors: 98,241

Top website visitor states

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. Tennessee
  6. Illinois
  7. Ohio
  8. Indiana
  9. Kentucky
  10. Michigan

Top visitor service inquiry states

  1. Georgia
  2. Tennessee
  3. Ontario
  4. Ohio
  5. Florida
  6. Alabama
  7. Indiana
  8. Illinois
  9. Michigan
  10. Kentucky

New Amphitheater coming to Aaron Bessant Park

Improvements to Aaron Bessant park have been in the works for a few months.  In fact, talks of improvements have been going on for years, but money has always been a challenge.  This year, BP money in excess of $1 million, will help make park improvements a reality, and last week the Panama City Beach City Council approved the improvements.

Improvements include a new, larger amphitheater.

The new improvements will be a welcome addition to a heavily used facility.  Currently they have several large events there each year that requires spending 10’s of thousands of dollars on erected staging and equipment.  The new facility will have a large covered stage, integrated electrical and a solid infrastructure to host events with a capacity of 10,000.

All the improvements include:

  • 60’x40′ amphitheater with permanent roof and walls suitable for theatrical productions, orchestral performances and musical events
  • Expanded amphitheater lawn area (see diagram below
  • Vegetative buffers around the parameter to prevent the need for temporary fencing
  • The Festival Lawn (the sandy area that’s used as overflow and vedor parking behind the park) will be improved to the quality of Frank Brown Park’s festival area
  • This area will support parking, play fields, and will have sod and irrigation
  • Additional bathroom facilities
Renderings, conceptual and imagery

The teal boundary area is the existing sidewalk paths around the amphitheater area.  The purple lines indicate the other sidewalk areas and paths that lead around the park.  The black lines will be the new amphitheater lawn area.

This is a conceptual of what the amphitheater could look like. The final product will have a beachy feel and should be consisten with the look and feel of neighboring Pier Park.  The stage area could be approximately 60 feet across and 40 feet deep offering 2,400 square feet of space.  There will be permanent walls and roof.

This is an example of another amphitheater.  Ours could look similar.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think this will bring more traffic problems to this area?  Or do you think the improvements will be better for the community as a whole?

Spring Break 2011 “The Mega Week”

According to Tripsmarter.com, over 2 million kids were turned loose for Spring Break during this past week, making these past 5 days the official juiced-up, mega-week of Spring Break.

In fact, it’s so big, it needs it’s own intro-music. *ques theme to Rocky*

(wakka wakka)

This last week brought hordes of college kids to town, who promptly set about shimmying and raising toasts with cold beers or those fruity, umbrella drinks.

Immediately following up all that shimmying, toasting and the mandatory high-fiving, they torpedoed onto the beach. Which is where they remained, fully focused on turning various shades of cocoa brown and repeating aforementioned actions.

I’ve been holding off on posting this article due to some irrational fear that as soon as we stated “all is well” here, it would cause some cosmic shift and break the spell of decent behavior. Maybe I’m just paranoid, or more likely I’ve seen one to many cheesy horror flicks. You know the kind, somewhere some young cheerleader states “it’s OK guys, there’s nothing bad going to happen” and whoosh, crazed leprechauns shoot out of the woods.

In an effort to get over my superstitions (and to keep the bosses happy) we’ll finally just go for it but if it starts raining frogs afterward, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The reality is that during these last few weeks of Spring Breakers swarming in to town, the news has remained relatively positive. The revenue influx is encouraging and the positive turn-out for the first big run of the tourist season, is offering a ray of hope for business owners affected from last year’s oil-spill sucker punch.

Granted, there’s been a few nitwits who’ve managed to make the nightly news but thankfully, it was more from stupidity then anything else. In all, considering the increase in traffic and our beaches being held hostage by a ton of college kids, it’s been relatively smooth sailing. The Panama City Beach Police Department has reported an increase in citations, mostly issued for under-age drinking or public intoxication. Which should come as no surprise to anyone when you realize some of these folks were already planning on breaking the law before they left campus.

As this mega-week dies down, and we start to gear up for another round of visitors,  let’s take a moment to check out the live cams perched above Schooners.

Ahhh, look at that sand! The emerald water! Jealous yet?


Numbers Break Down from tripsmarter.com

 

 

March 14-18, 2011 (Mon-Fri) 

College / University Enrollment
Adams State College 2,308
Alabama A&M University 6,047
Albright College 1,650
Alcorn State University 3,668
Arizona State University 64,394
Army, West Point 4,000
Auburn University 24,137
Austin College 1,291
Bentley College 5,557
Birmingham-Southern College 1,500
Bucknell University 3,555
Butler University 8,367
California State University, Chico 14,500
Carthage College 2,930
Claflin University 1,800
Claremont Mckenna College 1,135
Cleveland State University 15,706
Colgate University 2,750
College of Wooster 1,827
Colorado State University 26,884
Concordia University, Austin 1,400
Concordia University, Wisconsin 5,600
Connecticut College 1,910
Delta State University 4,392
Des Moines Area Community College 27,000
Drake University 5,221
Earlham College 1,194
Eastern Illinois University 11,651
Edgewood College 2,500
Fairleigh Dickinson University 8,000
Florida College 600
Florida International University 38,614
Fordham University 16,009
George Mason University 30,332
George Washington University 24,531
Georgia Southern University 16,841
Harvard University 19,139
Harvey Mudd College 746
Humboldt State University 7,773
Indiana University, Purdue 29,854
Indiana University of Bloomington 38,990
Iowa State University 26,160
Jackson State University 8,351
Jacksonville State University 9,000
John Hopkins University 15,000
Keene State College 6,400
Lafayette College 2,403
Lakeland College 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 2,403
Liberty University 3,999
Lewis and Clark Community College 20,252
Liberty University 14,438
Lipscomb University 2,744
Longwood University 4,479
Madison Area Technical School 20,461
Manhattan College 3,000
Marquette University 11,548
Meharry Medical College 723
Montana State University 12,250
Mount Holyoke College 2,100
Naval Academy 4,400
New York University 40,870
Northern Illinois University 25,313
Northwest College 1,800
Ocean County College 9,351
Pitzer College 950
Pomona College 1,548
Princeton University 6,898
Purdue University 39,228
Quinnipiac University 7,400
Rider University 5,790
Rutgers University at New Jersey 34,392
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Camden 51,480
Rutgers University at New Jersey, Newark 10,246
Sam Houston State University 16,416
Samford University 4,400
Savannah State University 3,169
Scripps College 899
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 20,983
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 13,449
Southern Methodist University 10,901
St. Louis University 11,823
Stephen F. Austin State University 10,822
Syracuse University 19,082
Texas A&M 46,540
Texas A&M, Corpus Christi 8,355
Texas State University 28,132
Texas Tech University 28,260
University of Alabama, Birmingham 16,246
University of Alabama, Huntsville 7,100
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 25,580
University of Central Oklahoma 15,753
University of Georgia 33,831
University of Hartford 6,225
University of Houston 35,344
University of Idaho 11,251
University of Iowa 30,409
University of Kentucky 27,209
University of Lethbridge 8,001
University of Massachusetts 60,000
University of Miami 15,449
University of Minnesota 50,402
University of Mississippi 17,323
University of Montevallo 3,000
University of Nevada 31,000
University of New Hampshire 13,547
University of New Haven 4,480
University of New Mexico 24,092
University of North Florida 15,619
University of North Texas 34,268
University of Northern Colorado 12,981
University of Northern Iowa 14,207
University of Notre Dame 11,603
University of Oklahoma 29,721
University of San Francisco 8,447
University of South Alabama 14,003
University of South Florida 34,036
University of Southern California 33,389
University of Tennessee 26,400
University of Texas, Austin 49,696
University of Texas, Dallas 14,480
University of Texas, Pan American 17,048
University of Texas, San Antonio 28,534
University of Texas, Tyler 6,150
University of Tulsa 4,165
University of West Florida 10,358
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse 10,052
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 28,356
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh 12,409
University of Wisconsin, Parkside 4,999
University of Wisconsin, Platteville 6,431
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point 8,552
University of Wisconsin, Stout 8,416
University of Wyoming 13,301
Valdosta State University 23,750
Virginia Commonwealth University 11,280
Washington State University 31,907
Weber State University 18,300
Western Illinois University 13,600
Wilson College 868
TOTAL 2,112,478

2011 Tourism Predictions- Staffing Spree

This is the third article in a series that explores 2011 Tourism Predictions for Panama City Beach.

“If you market it, you must be prepared to staff it”

This is a *statement liberated from Socrates’s, um- well, his lesser known cousin, ahem, **Heraclitus.

However, let’s not quarrel over the origins of the statement, and opt to simply take into consideration it’s message.

We’ve been marketing, promoting, negotiating and canoodling with every possible venue, avenue, social site and persons, to spread the good word.

The word being that Spring Break & the Summer Season of 2011, is bigger and now-with-more-sparkles, then this past year of troubled times. The campaign has been proving it’s success through various ways of tracking, and along with the success of inviting the masses into our community, we’ve properly followed through by reaching out to the employable community to help handle the welcomed influx.

Article Below

Continue reading “2011 Tourism Predictions- Staffing Spree”

SCHLOTZSKY’S Opens in Pier Park

Pier Park and Panama City Beach, are in for a sandwich influx this season.

Along with the news of Subway opening up in Pier Park, sandwich enthusiast can look forward to Schlotzsky’s moving in and joining the Pier Park family.

Schlotzsky’s started it’s nation wide take-over, with humble origins that date back to 1971.  Originally launched in Austin, Texas with a basic menu comprised of sourdough bread and a selection of premium meats, cheeses and olives.

The humble beginning eventually morphed into 35 locations nationwide and four foreign locations. I have to say, I wish I would have known that during my travels through out Spain.

I loved trying out the local cuisine, but every now and then, even an American Girl traveling abroad, craves the simple taste of home. Be it toasted sub, or a New York bagel.

Schlotzsky’s Pier Park store is opening it’s doors on February 21, 2011 and boast an eclectic selection of subs, wraps, salads and gourmet pizzas, along with desserts and soups.

Details Below

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TDC/CVB Meeting- 2011 Marketing Plans

TDC/CVB Feb 8 meeting offered an in-depth look into the 2011 marketing strategies as well as an opportunity to check out the newest TV Commercials.

The Real. Fun. Beach commercials were created to hit specific markets and have two versions in rotation, aimed at targeting Couples and Families.

More Info Below

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