A former bank drive-through has been reborn as a tiki bar.
Lee Mahatzke has completely renovated the former site of the now defunct South Trust Bank drive-through along Southeast 47th Terrace, creating a spacious, open-air bar with great prices on food and drinks.
Dubbed "Bahama Mamma's," this is the second location for Mahatzke, who also owns the original Bahama Mamma's in Bonita Springs.
Members of the Community Redevelopment Agency board and staff honor Bahama Mamma’s Tiki Bar owner Lee Mahatzke with $21,100 facade grant check Friday. From left, CRA Executive Director John Jabcobsen, Cape Coral Councilmember Marty McClain, CRA Planner Patrick White, CRA Chairman Don Heisler, owner Lee Mahatzke, CRA Board member Rich Greer and CRA Public Relations Manager Helen Ramey.
The original location is only open three days a week - Friday through Sunday - but the new Cape location runs seven days a week, noon to 9 p.m.
Mahatzke said he always wanted to own a restaurant in the Cape.
"I wanted a restaurant in Cape Coral but didn't want a dining room," Mahatzke said on Friday. "This is the only totally open bar in the Cape. You can do anything you want -you can smoke, have a good time ... there's even a nice breeze that flows through here."
Twelve-ounce drafts are just over a $1, with several name brands on tap. Bloody Marys, pina coladas, daiquiris, Marga-ritas and, of course, Bahama mammas are all $3.50 each.
Burgers are only $4, brats $3.25, and hot dogs $3, all served with chips. Slyders - made famous by White Castle Restaurants in the northern part of the country - are handmade at Bahama Mamma's and run only 50 cents each.
"We have the best burgers in town," Mahatzke said.
A considerable amount of money was spent on refurbishing the location - over $42,000 -which has sat empty for well over a decade.
The Community Redevelop-ment Agency was able to assist with those costs through their facade grant program.
They presented a check to Mahatzke on Friday for $21,100 to help pay back the renovation cost.
CRA Chairman Don Heisler said taking existing structures within the CRA and injecting new life into them is one of the primary missions of the board.
"This is the heartbeat of the CRA, right here," Heisler said. "Where there was a property in poor condition is now a viable establishment."
Heisler added that the CRA needs all kinds of projects to prosper, whether it be the massive Village Square project approved last month, or businesses like Bahama Mamma's.
"This is what we're about, turning nothing into something," he said.
Bahama Mamma's has been open for roughly a month, and though business has been up and down, Mahatzke said he's already starting to cultivate a series of regulars who enjoy what the tiki has to offer.
He said he's not looking to compete with the other establishments in the CRA. Most are open well past Bahama Mamma's 9 p.m. closing time.
Instead, he's focusing on a place where people feel comfortable, have a great time, at a great price, with great service.
"All I want is a nice, friendly bar," he said. "We have personable servers who really care about the people ... and we have good prices."
For more information on the new Bahama Mamma's Tiki Bar in downtown Cape Coral, call 770-8212, or visit in person at 1620 S.E. 47th Terrace.