New Owner of The Well Shares Plans for Restaurant

John Ribson. Photo via Facebook.

Local community spirit meets international flavor. That’s the goal of the owner of The Well, the new restaurant/bar taking over the space that was, until Jan. 18, Hamburger Mary’s.

John Ribson bought the space and Jason Basilico has left Scandals Saloon to be the general manager. Ribson has four The Well bars in Ontario and has 45 Wendy’s franchises. The day after closing on the deal, Ribson sat down with OutSFL to talk about the new motif, menu, and keeping a local vibe.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have international branding?”

He started in the bar business because he wanted to create LGBTQ safe spaces in smaller towns. His vision grew, and is opening two more Canadian locations this year.

Ribson didn’t just stumble across the location. He’s been a snowbird for six years and plans to retire here.

“I’ve been here for six years. Three years ago, I upgraded from a condo to a house. I will be here.”

He’s very familiar with the local entertainment scene and plans to continue with theme nights, local drag entertainers, and DJs. Exactly how the schedule will look is still being determined. Ribson is also keeping the staff. But, that wasn’t the original plan.

“We were gonna close the place down and do some [cosmetic] work. Then reopen after a week or two.”

But Ribson and Basilico seized on the opportunity to prove their commitment to community from, literally, day one.

“The day before closing, we were told there were big events planned for [after the closing]. They would have to cancel. Also, this way we can keep all the staff and give them an opportunity to see if they fit in with our branding."

As for the food, Mary is out, Canadian Cuisine is in.

“We’ll revamp the menu. It will be The Well menu, and we’re extending it right now.”

The Well serves upscale bar fare that generally has good reviews online.

Ribson is importing the Canadian classic: poutine. This north of the border delicacy is fries, topped with cheese curds and slathered in gravy.

The changes will be fairly quick. A new sign will be installed any day, and revamping the inside will be done quickly. Eventually, they plan to expand their hours to include mid-afternoon and happy hour.


New Owner Buys Hamburger Mary’s; Transforms it into The Well


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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