New restaurant opening soon in old Murdock building in Cocoa Village

COCOA VILLAGE, Florida. – There’s a new Murdock coming to Cocoa Village, with owners who are excited to bring food and fun back to the corner of Maryland and Brevard Avenues.

Mike and Kim Barlowe have ambitious plans for Murdock’s Bistro and Char Bar, which they hope to open in late February or early March, according to News 6 partners Florida Today.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a solid lineup of musical and comedy acts.


“We want to give people something to do at night,” said Kim Barlowe.

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The Barlowes are not new to the hospitality industry. They have owned the Old Florida Grill and Oyster House in Port St. John for seven years. Mike Barlowe has owned the Lazy Gator in Titusville for 20 years.

They are also not new to the area. At least Mike isn’t. He graduated in 1994 from Cocoa High School.

Kim, who grew up in Oviedo, said they couldn’t go anywhere without someone stopping to chat with Mike.

“I joke that he’s a hometown celebrity,” she said. “He knows everyone.

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When they saw the Murdock building for rent, they felt like it was meant to be. They are drawn to the charm and hometown ambiance of Cocoa Village and the historic 1940s building that once housed Murdock’s grocery store.

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“We’ve always loved the area,” Kim said. “We like a place where you can park and walk around.”

They keep the Murdock name because he’s been in the building for eight decades. Stevie Whittaker, owner of the former Murdock’s, which closed in June, said she knew the name remained in the building when she signed her lease 20 years ago.

The Barlowes said they wished Whittaker the best with his new business, Tin Whiskey, which opened in the north end of Cocoa Village in January.

“We hope everyone in this area is doing well,” Mike said.

While awaiting the final inspections, the Barlowes are busy preparing the menu for their restaurant.

Kim said breakfast will include traditional morning fare, such as bacon, eggs and cookies, but with a twist, such as steak wedges, eggs Benedict, crab cakes Benedict and pancakes.

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The lunch and dinner menu will include barbecue, smoked meats, smoked salmon and a prime rib specialty, as well as burgers and wraps.

“We have so many good things, we have to cut them down,” Mike said.

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The building has been given a makeover, with new black-and-white hexagonal tile floors, a glossy black bar, and fresh paint.

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The architectural elements of the former Hôtel Brevard still occupy a place of honor in the dining room: the large arched windows, a coat and doors turned on their sides to form the bar.

Aleck Greenwood, owner of the building, also took brass lanterns out of the hotel and hung them behind the bar along with a few French horns.

“Aleck put in a lot of work here,” Mike said.

There’s a stage at the north end of the venue, with trumpets, trombones, guitars, banjos and saxophones hanging above, a nod to the bands soon to perform there.

Most of the work has been completed on the interior, along with a refresh of exterior seating at the front and back of the building. The Barlowes are ready to go as soon as they get licenses and permits.

The restaurant will seat about 150 people and they plan to hire 20-30 people.

“Hiring is definitely tough,” Mike said, but the new location will use the same POS system as the Old Florida Fish Grill, so they’ve started training Murdock employees at the Port St. John restaurant to that they can be ready to leave for Cocoa when the time comes.

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“We are very excited and looking forward to being in this area,” Kim said. “We hope the community loves us as much as we love being here.”

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