When Latitudes of Apollo Beach closed in September for proposed renovations, locals in the neighborhood were buzzing with curiosity and speculation. What would happen to their favorite nightspot, and would they like the changes?
Since reopening in mid-September, Latitudes has been packed seven days a week, and not just for happy hour. Sporting a fresh new décor and greatly expanded menu, the popular restaurant and lounge has tripled its offerings, including Martini Mondays, NFL Sunday-Fundays, Mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar, Daily Early Happy Hour, and a full list of evening entertainment with popular area bands.
“We are purposely like a chameleon,” said Greg Rothfeldt, who, together with his wife Donna, left a lucrative partnership in the Scott McRae car dealership and took ownership of Latitudes [formerly Incognito] on April 15. “We change as the day goes on, from lunch to happy hour to late-night entertainment. We change to suit the needs of our customers.”
The Rothfeldts have spent the past several months testing out new food and beverage items and getting feedback from their loyal customers in preparation for their reopening. Latitudes now features a brand-new lunch menu, a dinner menu that contains flatbreads to filets to fresh seafood plus a “10-after-10” menu offering munchies for the late-night crowd. Aided by the addition of a full-service, state-of-the-art kitchen and chef Kevin Collins (former sous-chef at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa), the Rothfeldts have completely revamped their cuisine.
They have also completely changed the interior concept of the restaurant, using warm wood tones and nautical-themed artwork for a cozier, classier feel. “This is the place to come to meet quality professional people,” said Realtor and regular patron April Dutra. “It’s upscale, elegant and fun.”
The Rothfeldts, who have lived in Apollo Beach for 10 years, chose to hire all local providers for the renovation, including general contractor Cecil Hughes, interior designer Diana Cacioppo of Bella Casa Home Staging and Redesign and Clifford Oberg of Gotcha Covered. A sophisticated sound system and multiple flatscreen TVs were installed by John DeLuge of CRT Sound, and the bar area was redesigned to make room for the addition of 16 new beer taps and four new wine taps.
Customers are giving rave reviews on the new changes in Latitudes. “I love the upscale atmosphere and the new décor,” said regular patron Tyler Thomas. “They did a wonderful job on the renovation, and the entertainment schedule is the best in town.”
“It’s a great place to come, have a glass of wine, and a few laughs with friends,” said Apollo Beach CPA Ron Steele. “I also come here because of Kelly [general manager Kelly Reedy], because she takes an interest in her customers.”
Owner Greg Rothfeldt said he has been listening closely to patrons’ comments and allowing them to vote on their favorite beers, wines and food items, as well as their choice of bands and events.
“We have customers that range from young people to retirees, and we want to be able to accommodate them all,” he said.
The October band schedule for Latitudes is full and eclectic, with Motown Dave, Black Velvet, Gene Canon, Gary Coco, Lorelei on the Rocks, Skyway, Luna Blue, Spy vs. Spy, Taylor & Taylor and Ladyhawk, to name a few.
“We’re excited to try out new things, and will continue to expand and be creative,” said co-owner Donna Rothfeldt. She described some of the upcoming special events planned at Latitudes, including Halloween weekend with a pig roast, five-piece band and outdoor-themed bar.
“We realize it’s a lot of change, but we think that is what’s needed here in Apollo Beach,” said Greg, who readily acknowledges the reference to the Jimmy Buffet song in the name of his new restaurant:
These Changes in Latitudes,
Changes in Attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands
And all of the highlands,
If we couldn’t laugh
We would all go insane.
Latitudes Apollo Restaurant & Lounge is at 131 Harbor Village Lane in Apollo Beach. For more information, check them out on Facebook, at Latitudesapollo.com or call 813-645-9700.