Lose Some, Win More on Dining in the Keys


Longboat Key, Florida | January 9th, 2018 – It looks like that islanders need not fret much on losing two landmark restaurants in Longboat Key in 2017. For one thing, the award-winning Amore restaurant which left its site at 555 Bay Isles Parkway last May reopened in December on 446 South Pineapple Avenue at downtown Sarasota. (The move of this Italian fusion restaurant was incidentally well in time for the city’s traditional downtown New Year celebration and pineapple drop at the nearby Main Street and Lemon Avenue).


An Italian restaurant like Amore, the smaller but equally charming Café Don Giovanni on 5610 Gulf of Mexico Drive, also closed its shop for good last year. The condo residents of the Avignon Villas across the street along with the rest of the islanders though will soon have a new major local dining destination—The Shore—located on 800 Broadway Street near Longbeach Village in the northern part of town.


Construction of this planned 7,000-square-foot, 85-seat restaurant was momentarily stalled, but it resumed in the second half of last year. Its completion is expected this 2018, an inauguration which should contribute some to the market appeal of some residential properties not only in Longbeach Village but also in the nearby neighborhoods of White Beach and Sleepy Lagoon.


After the Shore, a Buccaneer

Lose Some, Win More on Dining in the Keys - Judy Kepecz-Hays Selling Luxury Real EstateAbout year from now, local folks and Longboat Key visitors could expect a new dining destination at the former site of Pattigeorge’s restaurant which was closed in 2016. The Tampa-based Columbia Group, a 113-year-old family-owned company, announced in December that it is building a new restaurant in this location at 4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive just across the luxury condominium La Firenza.


Columbia Group president Richard Gonzmart said they are naming this new restaurant “The Buccaneer” as a homage to the circa 1957 Buccaneer Inn which shut its doors in 2001 and was razed in 2005 to give way to the Grand Mariner condominium. This name choice waxes nostalgic, as Gonzmart noted that the restaurant at the lost inn was his father’s favorite in Longboat Key (next of course to the Columbia’s own line).


The Columbia Group, touted as the oldest restaurant company in Florida, has a namesake Spanish restaurant at St. Armands, which has been operating since 1959. The company operates 12 other restaurants in the Sunshine State and expects to open its Buccaneer in 2019 under the tagline “Local • Coastal • Social.” Indoor and outdoor seating are planned for this restaurant, and it will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.


New Draw at Anna Maria

Lose Some, Win More on Dining in the Keys - Judy Kepecz-Hays Selling Luxury Real EstateA short distance north of Longboat Key, meanwhile, Holmes Beach in Anna Maria Island has a new restaurant offering at the Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club. This boutique waterfront hotel, which is Anna Maria’s lone full-service hotel, opened in December. Located on the eastern shore of Holmes Beach, its signature restaurant is called Eliza Ann’s Coastal Kitchen.


The menu of this restaurant is said to be an inspiration of coastal locales interlinking the culinary heritage of the land and sea. Its executive chef, James Baselici, is notably the former chef de cuisine at Sands Pointe Restaurant at The Resort at Longboat Key Club, thereby making Eliza Ann’s a likely choice of Longboat residents looking for nearby dining destinations. Now limited to serving dinner from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., this restaurant is set to expand its dining hours and serve breakfast and lunch as well starting February 2018.


The scene in and around Longboat Key feels vibrant just looking at our dining options moving onwards this year. Surely, there are more to expect, especially in real estate, as 2018 progresses. Contact us for any opportunity you wish to explore in the property market, whether in Longboat Key or elsewhere in Sarasota and Manatee.


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