So when he decided to come out of retirement, he knew he had to come up with a creative concept in order for his new place to be successful with the economy wreaking havoc on the industry.
Suffice to say his new place, Safety Harbor's Woodstock on 5th, is one of the most original concepts seen around this area in a long time.
“The concept of this place is very simple: quality food, phenomenal service and entertainment the way it used to be,” said Cherniack,
“It will be a Woodstock style environment with casual-fine dining, and everyone — waiters, waitresses, cooks, managers and patrons – will participate in some way.”
By participate Cherniack means doing something entertaining, like singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument or acting out a role in a play or scene.
He knows the concept is unique, and he also knows it can work; he started a similar establishment in Arizona and sold it to a man who wanted to purchase it on the spot as soon as he saw it.
“This is a miniature version of the place I had in Phoenix," the 65-year-old said. "People can get up and dance, play a guitar, play a flute, act out a scene. I was at Woodstock, and it’s exactly like Woodstock."
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According to Cherniack, the food will be as unique as the atmosphere.
Asian fusion, new cuts of steak and different takes on familiar favorites will populate the menu, which includes breakfast lunch and dinner.
He is also planning on offering a weekend brunch at the restaurant, which is currently configured to sit 60 people combined indoors and outside.
“We’re going to be a fusion of a lot of different things, some organic and gluten-free stuff, California style items. Stuff that nobody else has.”
“But we’re also going to have linen table clothes and napkins, a tea & crumpet hour and a banquet room that will use fine china for private parties. It's casual meets fine dining.”
Authentic '60s and '70s memorabilia line the walls, and vendors are encouraged to come and sell their wares at any time, free of charge. A Vietnam veteran, Cherniak also plans to cater to area vets with special discounts and tributes.
"We want to get as many different people involved as we can. We want everybody to be part of this."
Cherniack, who has lived in Clearwater for nearly 40 years, said he specifically chose Safety Harbor following months of searching because he was familiar with the area and knew the city was a perfect fit for what he was trying to do.
“This city is primed for this,” he said. “Dunedin is played out; Safety Harbor is where it’s at.”
He said he hope to open by 3rd Friday in March, and he is excited to see how his concept fares in the Harbor.
“There’s not another place in the county doing what we’re doing,” he added. “It’s going to be a fun place to go.”
Woodstock on 5th
Address: 155 5th Ave. N., Safety Harbor
*Hours: Tue - Sun, 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
*Will open sometime in March 2013