Cap’s On the Water announces new ownership


Cap’s on the Water, an award-winning waterfront restaurant known for its coastal cuisine and sunset views, recently announced Stephen Joost as majority owner. Bernard De Raad, who purchased the establishment in 1999, will remain as an owner to manage daily operations. Joost and De Raad also plan to develop several full-service, coastal restaurants together.

Joost is a founding partner of the Jacksonville-based chain Firehouse Subs. After he and his partners sold the company in 2021, he became an investor in Yoga Den, the largest privately-owned yoga brand in Northeast Florida. He says his goal has always been to return to restaurants, having spent the last 30 years in the business.

“I’ve been blessed to be a part of the restaurant industry in Jacksonville for the last 30 years, but I’m not finished yet,” Joost said. “I wanted to build another restaurant company, but never imagined this opportunity or that I would find such a perfect fit with Bernard. It is an honor to own an iconic restaurant like Cap’s on the Water and continue the legacy that Bernard and his team have built.”

Joost’s new company, Southside Rita LLC, is named in honor of his mother Rita Joost, a Jacksonville philanthropist who died in 2019.

De Raad and his wife, Vivian, purchased Cap’s on the Water 25 years ago and are the visionaries behind its reputation for upscale dining and chef-driven recipes in an “Old Florida” setting on the Intracoastal Waterway.

The restaurant is known for its unique service culture, long-tenured employees and devoted guests. Much of the menu is made from scratch, including the cocktails, which are hand-crafted by a house mixologist. Some of the “Cap’s Classics” include the top-selling Sesame Seared Tuna, Calamari Vilano and Pear Ravioli, as well as real, Southern-style fried seafood.  

De Raad said the key to the new partnership is Joost wanting Cap’s on the Water to stay the same. It also allows the partners to focus on bringing new restaurants to St. Augustine.

“Stephen believes in the culture and philosophy we have built at Cap’s and will ensure that it remains intact and that is very important to us,” said De Raad. “My fingers are always itching, and I have been dreaming up ideas for future concepts for years. We share a vision of opening new, iconic restaurants that use the same proven model as Cap’s on the Water.”

The duo expects to announce its first concept later this year.