Mike Pachota, President of Venice Pier Group, was born and raised in a small suburb outside Detroit, Michigan. After several successful business ventures in Michigan, Mike and his family – wife Donna and two sons, Justin & Nick – headed south to Venice, Florida and opened of “Patches”, their first restaurant. In 1986, he won the bid to convert the site of an old, dilapidated beach concession into a restaurant, located at the base of the Venice Fishing Pier. Sharky’s on the Pier opened on February 10th, 1987 with only 78 seats. Today Sharky’s has evolved into what is now a Venice landmark, with a wide range of dining options. As the popularity of Sharky’s grew, Mike & son Justin opened Fins at Sharky’s, a polished casual steak/seafood/sushi restaurant located adjacent to Sharky’s in December of 2013. Completing the waterfront dining trifecta, Mike added historic Snook Haven smokehouse, located Smack Dab on the Myakka River, in February of 2013. When not working, Mike loves to golf and is a huge Michigan State fan – go Spartans!
Justin Pachota is the Vice President of Venice Pier Group, which runs Sharky’s on the Pier, Fins and Snook Haven. Growing up in the restaurant industry, it was a natural fit for Justin to earn a degree in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida. When he’s not working, Justin enjoys spending time with his family – wife, Cheri, 12-year-old son Jeremiah and 7-year-old daughter, Ryela. Justin also coaches his son’s baseball team.
Marc Alton, Executive Chef of Fins at Sharky’s, started his career in the food service industry at the early age of 14, working for his dad in the family bakery, where he learned everything from making bread to frying donuts. After graduating from Sarasota High School, Alton completed a two year apprenticeship at La Chambre, a French restaurant where he learned the ropes around the kitchen and became well educated in French cuisine. Alton continued his journey through the food service industry over the next 10 years, working his way up from Sous Chef to Executive Chef at three different restaurants in Sarasota, all which offered new experiences and challenges, allowing Alton to grow and develop into the critically acclaimed chef he is today.
Alton started working at Sharky’s on the Pier over 23 years ago as the Kitchen Manager and quickly elevated to become Executive Chef. At Sharky’s, Alton helped secure the 2010 and 2012 local Iron Chef Award winners, a huge accomplishment. Alton helped Sharky’s grow from a restaurant that originally accommodated 78 seats to an establishment with a wide range of dining options. As the popularity of Sharky’s grew, the owners decided to expand, with the final phase and restaurant opening Fall 2013 – Fins at Sharky’s, where Alton became the Executive Chef.
Located right next door to Sharky’s, Fins at Sharky’s opened their doors December 13th, 2013, adding 182 seats for dining and bringing a fresh new take to a renowned brand – still boasting the most incredible Gulf views on the Florida west coast. Fins at Sharky’s menu goes well beyond what customers expect from a beach bar. “We are dedicated to presenting menu items that embrace our proximity to the Gulf, while speaking to a more serious food and wine customer. We are integrating the best of Sharky’s, enhanced with inspiration from other sources, to create a unique dining experience,” Alton states.
In Alton’s spare time, he enjoys traveling, where he says he “eats his way through” countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy and France just to name a few. Alton is also the founder of Sharky’s Ride the Beaches LIVESTRONG fundraising event, which has raised over $175,000 for charity in the last 13 years.