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SARASOTA RESTAURANTS CLOSING AT A FAST PACE!

I do not know, about other areas, except for the Brickell post, but Sarasota has been hit with a number of restaurant closings.
In the last 2 months the following have closed. Zak's Steakhouse
Urban Reef
Main Street Oyster Bar
Longevity
Cork/Bottle Shop, St Armands Circle
Buddha Belly
Pino's
Buon Gente
516 Burns Court

These are not little sandwich/convenience shops; but they represent some of the town's better venues

I guess this is not "The Summer of Recovery" as we hear about from the pols!

Any other areas hit as hard as Sarasota?

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Main Street Bar
335 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830

Pino's Cafe'
4629 N Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 33614

Buddha Belly
25 NW 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601

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  1. So sorry to hear about the closures in Sarasota. Here on Amelia Island in far NE FLA we have had 3 new restaurants open since January. Considering that we only have 90 restaurants on our Urbanspoon page we feel quite lucky. The Ritz Carlton is packed and the B & Bs are doing well. There have been some closures in Jax but also many new opennings. All in all the restaurant scene in NE FLA is strong.

    Is there still an Osteria just off of St. Armands Circle? I have fond memories of an excellent meal there.

    7 Replies
    1. re: marelyisdead

      Could you please pass along some info on those new restaurants on Amelia? We have a family reunion there every Thanksgiving and are always looking for good restaurants (frankly we've been a bit disappointed in the past).........

      1. re: bcodom

        Just posted an update on Amelia Island on this board.

      2. re: marelyisdead

        Mare,

        The Osteria is long gone. The remodeled space took about 2 years to rebuild and then opened with great fanfare as "The Cork and Bottle Shop" a rather $$$$ tablecloth operation upstairs and a bistro and wine shop street level w/sidewalk dining etc. Now as you can see it is on my list o thef recently closed restuarants.

        1. re: ospreycove

          Have you tries Owen's Fish Camp?? It opened in the spot where 516 Burns used to be. I am new to the area and had never been to 516, but Owens was a good meal at a cute "fish shack" vibe. I know a lot of places are closing...but maybe some good may come to follow...

          1. re: christinet.

            Christi,

            Owens Fish Camp is a good addition to the D.T. Sarasota dining scene. The bar is always packed, and if you like legitimate fried fish, oysters etc. it is not bad. For a really fresh and laid back seafood place have you tried "Starfish" in the Cortez fishing village. It is behind the retail fish store on the dock. Outdoor dining only, lunch and dinner (to about 8:00PM) Cortez is on the bay just before you cross the bridge to Anna Maria Island. Grouper sandwich, fried Gulf Shrimp, Smoked Mullet, cold beer, etc. http://starfishcompany.com/starfishco...
            I like it early evenings this time of year.

            1. re: ospreycove

              Owen’s Fish Camp is owned by the Caragiulos people – Caraguilos is a pedestrian red sauce Italian on Palm Avenue. Having tasted Owen’s, I’ll never return. To be fair, the service was fine and friendly. To me, though, the food was reminiscent of a chain restaurant, which it’s not. I had some sort of shrimp on a skewer as an appetizer that was chewy and pretty much inedible. My fish, the main course, was over-done (dry) and came with all kinds of choices of side dishes and sauces (you pick two of these and one of those) -- very institutional. The wine is inexpensive, the choices limited and, as far as I could tell, not drinkable – and I tasted several different glasses that my wife and friends had ordered. The only way they could be drunk was with a lot of ice. Of all the wines on the menu, I had heard the name of only one of them. The waitress was kind and when she saw that I was ordering a beer and leaving my wine alone, she didn’t charge me for the wine. Owen’s is definitely popular but I attribute that to the attractive price point of the menu, a sign of the times. Owen’s doesn’t take reservations and on a Tuesday night out of season we grabbed the last outside table; inside there was a 30 minute wait at 7:00 PM. I’ve never been to chains like the Bonefish Grill but I have to believe they are way better.

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              Caragiulo's
              69 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

              1. re: ospreycove

                Osprey,
                Starfish is on my list of places to try, thanks. I never thought I would have such a hard time finding good fish places when I moved to FL!!
                Longboat,
                Bonefish is vile. Not at all better than Owens... Next time have a beer, their smoked fish dip appetizer, and order the blackened catch of the day. No sauces, no extra junk, and I think you'll have a better time.

        2. Like you said, Ospreycove, these are not just little sandwich shops. Additionally, they're not chains (except for Cork/Bottle Shop, I think). Anytime I see an independent restaurant close, it saddens me. There are so few of them relative to the number of chain restaurants and, with their closing, their unique take on dining is lost forever.

          Happily, I have read in several other places that Longevity is not closing, but rather, moving to a new location.

          And I agree with you that this is hardly the "Summer of Recovery." It looks to me like the restaurant industry, as well as the rest of us, may be in for a double dip recession.

          6 Replies
          1. re: gfr1111

            GFR,

            I've also heard that Longevity is moving, but the the old loc. is shuttered and no news so far. The Cork and Bottle Shop is/was local; a real estate guy turned restaurateur developed and themed it. Too bad it is out it is great space.

            1. re: ospreycove

              Longboater,

              Wow, I think you might have missed the point of Owens. Next time you go take a look at the average age of the clientele. It is at least half the age of any LBK resto customer.. To burn the wine list at a fried fish joint is very interesting. Go, enjoy, have a cold draught and a few oysters on the halfshell; maybe strike up a conversation with some non-pensioners. If that doesn't work see Sean at The Beach Bistro, a good place with an above average wine list.

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              Beach Bistro
              6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

              1. re: ospreycove

                Mediocre food is mediocre food, age notwithstanding. You observe that Owen's is a "fried fish joint” and that’s a good description. (I would offer that if people want to live to the age of Longboaters they shouldn’t be eating fried food anyway. ;-) Owen’s cuisine is no different from the string of restaurants along the Gulf in Bradenton Beach, except at Owen’s it’s served under a banyon tree.
                I don't understand why the wine list of a fish restaurant should be different, somehow, than other restaurants. A restaurant should be proud of what it puts on its list and there are real wine bargains today. I applaud low wine prices – who wouldn't? – but what is on the Owen's list is plonk, pure and simple. It's essentially non-drinkable and actually pretty insulting when you get down to it because they could have done so much better for the same prices. At Owen’s, you have to drink beer (and they do have a good selection).
                I dine out every night and see Sean several times a month, but I also eat at restaurants with Owen’s pricing, when they’re good. In that regard, try the Lazy Lobster in Sarasota or Longboat. Same price point, a million times better. No banyon tree, though.

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                Lazy Lobster
                7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

                1. re: Longboat

                  Ah the Lazy Lobster a nice place; You had better drum up some of your buds to frequent the LBK location on a accelerated cycle. As Michael stated, this expansion might not have in our best intertest. The non-snowbird season has collapsed, as it always does on LBK.

                  Oh, another good place; for authentic Piemontese "cibo and vino"......Andrea's, honest food with good service/and folks. One last tidbit. Claudio and Barbara at Bologna Cafe will be closed from 1 Aug to 1 Sept. last chance for Feudonerno Mirabella; Claudio's exclusive import from his friend film director Lina Wurtmuller's vineyard. It is my favorite red for the food at Bologna Cafe.

                  Ciao!

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                  Lazy Lobster
                  7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    Interesting about the Lazy Lobster, I haven’t been there since April. It is hugely crowded in season, if you call on the same day they offer you the high tops in the bar at 9:15 PM. Maybe they shoulda saved some of their profits to carry through the summer!
                    Longboat is pretty dead right now for sure. There are upwards of 20,000 people in season and in summer maybe 3,000. I don’t eat at Moore’s or MarVista at all, or Dry Dock (for dinner), so I don’t know how they do in the summer, but Pattigeorge’s and Euphemia Haye do at least a survivable amount of business. On some nights I’m actually surprised how busy they are. Pattigeorge’s has a significant bar crowd for dinner with Sam the bartender while Euphemia can get busy in their upstairs lounge. We recently couldn’t get seating there at 10 PM. The Longboat Key Club closes its Harbourside Grill for part of the summer. Last year, Harry’s closed from the late summer into October (if I remember correctly) but they’re currently open.
                    I’ve heard Andrea’s is good, it was started by several Sarasota restaurant veterans. The Bologna Café is excellent, agreed, and last year they also closed for a month in the summer. I’ll see about getting a bottle of that special wine you’ve described before they go. Thanks for the heads-up.
                    I’m not a snowbird and am on LBK for part of every month, year round, even now....

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                    Pattigeorge's Restaurant
                    4120 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228

                    Lazy Lobster
                    7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

                    Euphemia Haye
                    5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

                    1. re: Longboat

                      Drydock is actually pleasant this time of year; especially if you are in the mood for an "honest", (AKA real local Grouper) Grouper Sandwich; and you do not want to go up to Starfish in Cortez. The outside addition is great most times of the year; heaters or fan misters actually work when the temps. do not cooperate.

                      I might have been slightly hazy in my early description of the denizens of LBK; I am one too. We spend several months in Italy,(Abruzzo); and the balance here, especially when the off shore fishing is good! We Can, and do, walk to the Harborside Grill, good Hamburger, I do not like the Moorings reataurant," Portofino". On another can of worms; I still do not feel that we received full disclosure on the now approved, as modified, LBK Club expansion; let's hope for the best!

          2. Is there a newer thread for restaurant closings? Sadly a few more have closed this year. Gator Tails and Bogey's, both on 41. Grampy's Italian Grill, Ooh La La French Bakery, both in Gulf Gate. Urban Flats on University too.