The Gulf Drive Café was established in 1981 and has been a staple on Anna Maria Island for locals and tourists ever since. The current owners, George & Wendy Kokolis, purchased the historic property in 1987. The Kokolis’ extensive experience in the restaurant industry has expanded over 45 years. After celebrating over 20 years as owners, they decided to renovate and expand the Café into a bar, The Kokonut Hut and event space, The Sunset by Gulf Drive Café.
The property sits on 450 square feet of waterfront on the Gulf of Mexico and has many offerings for guests to enjoy. It includes delicious meals, impeccable service, cold cocktails, live entertainment and also kayak and paddleboard rentals from a local vendor. Directly in front of the business exists an underwater archeological preserve sight and famous diving spot. Local and visiting divers submerge themselves to catch a glimse of The Regina, a Sugar barge that sank in 1940, carrying more than 300,000 gallons of molasses from Havana, Cuba.
The Island’s quaint simplicity and culture of sun and relaxation is a quintessential paradise getaway. Offering a diverse array of award-winning restaurants, boutiques and pristine beaches, this seven-mile stretch of history is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. A barrier island located in Manatee County, Anna Maria was first settled by the Timucan and Caloosan American Indians tribes and explored by the Spanish in 1530. It is comprised of three cities established in the 1900s: Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. The island maintains much of the small town charm of the 20th century and is connected to mainland Bradenton by two drawbridges and to the northern end of Longboat Key. Anna Maria also preserves Cortez, one of the last remaining fishing villages on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast. On the island, you can still experience the timelessness reminiscent of Old Florida.