Smacks Burgers & Shakes Officially Closes Its Doors and an Era

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY SEP 18, 2020

SRQ was saddened to hear yesterday the news of Smacks Burgers & Shakes closing its doors for good on Friday, September 18 after seven delicious years serving the community. It has not been a kind year to many of our favorite local businesses and we wish the Gecko's Hospitality Group (GHG) all the best in their other restaurant ventures.

Smacks offered a modern take on the classic American Burger and was inspired by the neighborhood dining legacies of Sarasota, including a tip of the hat to the legendary drive-in from 1950s downtown Sarasota. GHG owners Mike Gowan and Mike Quillen reincarnated the former neighborhood gas station at the corner of Bee Ridge Road and Shade Avenue into a fun, family-friendly gathering spot. Guests dined-in, utilized curbside pickup and its outdoor seating on the patio, all while enjoying Smacks' menu featuring old-fashioned frozen custards in different flavors, steroid and hormone-free burgers, award-winning fries and more. 

Since their very first year in business, opening in the spring of 2013, Smacks has since won 'Best of SRQ' awards in our annual competition, including "Best Local Fries" and "Best Local Burger" for multiple years running. "Thank you to the SRQ family for your wonderful support and encouragement as Smacks evolved," said Anne Rollings of GHG. "It has been a lot of fun and we could not have been Smacks without all of you." 

Yesterday, many loyal patrons sprinted over tthe Sarasota diner staple to grab one last burger and shake, as well as show their undying support and say farewell to their favorite Smacks' staff. Though the restaurant group shared with us that all eight of their valued employees have been offered jobs at their sibling restaurants within the Gecko's Hospitality Group family. "We hope they all continue their careers with us," said Rollings. 

Plans for the Smacks space will be revealed by the new owners. As for Gowan and Quillen, the partners made the decision to rededicate their focus on their Gecko’s Hospitality Group model of full service, polished casual restaurants, and they are grateful for all the support of the community during Smacks’ foray into the Sarasota quick-casual dining scene. Gowan and Quillen are known for their roll-up-your-sleeves approach to hospitality while creating new jobs, navigating economic storms, and through their charitable giving programs, serving the community. At the current moment, they offer a dependable "stay tuned" when asked about their next venture. "Thank you for enjoying with us, Sarasota."

A fond farewell, Smacks!

Pictured: General Manager Justin Speed works a busy lunch rush on Smacks final day, taken by Wyatt Kostygan.

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