Crow's Nest Celebrates 40 Years

Local Legend


In 1976 Steve Harner saw an ad for “Space for lease above marina suitable for restaurant.”  He called, took one look at the location at the Venice south jetty and knew it was the spot! Ignorance and youth blinded Harner to the pitfalls of the situation which had discouraged other prospective tenants. Along with Janis Payne and investors Larry LaRocca and Harp Harner, Steve forged ahead anyway, leasing the 2nd floor space in October of '76. Ten weeks later the Crow’s Nest opened with Harner in the kitchen, Janis Payne out front and two employees. The acquisition of the Tarpon Center Marina in 1981, major renovations in 1989, 2000, 2013 and continuous updates have created the restaurant you see today.

Along with a dedicated staff including Harner's wife and Crow's Nest General Manager Cheri, daughter Jessica, son-in-law Matt and Cheri’s son Brad, The Crow’s Nest is truly a family run establishment. Steve Harner has remained active in the marina and restaurant operation and has also been active in the community. He has served in leadership positions on numerous boards throught his 40 years in business, including the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, the Venice Little League, Miss Venice Fastpitch, the Venice Foundation, the State College of Florida and is currently President of the Sarasota Manatee Originals, an organization of over 50 independent restaurants that encourage diners to “Eat Like a Local.” 

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, The Crow’s Nest is planning numerous events for the entire year. For more information on the celebrations ahead, visit

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