September 27, 2021

Lazy Turtle in Palm Bay features cocktails, music

Support local journalism: Find offers for new subscribers at

Though Brevard County has miles and miles of waterfront, sometimes it feels like we don’t take advantage of it. Such was the case with a non-descript restaurant perched on a bluff overlooking the Indian River in Palm Bay.

Not anymore. Sal Tawilco and his team at Lazy Turtle Riverfront Tiki Sky Bar & Grill have transformed the space into a tropical escape.  

“We want you to feel like you’re in the islands, but in Palm Bay,” Tawilco said. 

It does, with a steel drum version of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” playing in the background, a frozen drink served in a pineapple and dolphins playing offshore.

In its previous life, the building had windows overlooking the river, but didn’t take advantage of the outdoor spaces surrounding it. Tawilco, who also owns Harbor City Diner in West Melbourne, added a spacious patio on the north side of the building and a tiki bar on the south side. A staircase crawls down the steep embankment leading to a colorful, weathered dock.

Sal Tawilco opened Lazy Turtle Riverfront Tiki Sky Bar & Grill in Palm Bay because he wanted to create a place where he'd like to hang out.

Guests who prefer to eat in climate-controlled comfort may do so in the more formal Captain’s Room, where reservations are accepted, or in the lounge, which offers first-come, first-served seating.

This time of year, unless an afternoon thunderstorm rolls in, the outside areas are difficult to resist.

“It’s a feel-good kind of place,” Tawilco said. “We always have a beautiful breeze.”