North end revamps its dining experiences

Mar Vista renovates, Shore opens as two new classy waterfront spots

Shore Restaurant, Longboat Key
Shore Restaurant Opens - After a couple years of construction the old Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant opens with new owners on the waterfront

When the Shore held its soft opening, it marked the beginning of a new era for the restaurant chain. It also established the north end of Longboat Key as another center of great restaurants on the island. When Mar Vista completed its three-year renovation, the seafood restaurant now offers a stark difference between the old charm of Florida and the modernistic look of its neighbor the Shore. And yet a third new restaurant with a more casual deli look is taking shape at the Gulf of Mexico Drive and Broadway Street corner. Whitney’s Restaurant will transform an old gas station into a casual atmosphere where beachgoers can relax.

Shore restaurant seats about 185 guests. With multiple bars, outdoor patio seating, an upper level and indoor dining your mood can set the tone for your seating expectancies. Almost every seat has a spectacular view of Jewfish Key and the intracoastal boat traffic. There are 14 slips for large boats on a 300-foot dock and a valet car parking service.

Shore Restaurant - March 2019
Construction progressed quickly on the Shore Restaurant since this photo was taken in March 2019

It is on the previous site of Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, which closed in 2015 after 40 years of serving seafood on Longboat Key. Tom Leonard and Mark Caragiulo purchased the property for 3.2 million dollars and have put in a couple more million into its construction. If you are familiar with the Shore restaurant on St. Armands Circle, most of the menu items will carry over to the Longboat Key restaurant that the co-owners had a vision to create a special place on this island paradise. There will be local favorites that have been served in St. Armands Circle combined with creative recipes for variety.

The restaurant is operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy until it completes some final tasks required by building inspectors. Those should be complete by the end of the month. The owners have endured other setbacks. They wanted to have more parking so they requested this summer that Longboat Key vacate a portion of the sidewalk so they could have 14 additional spaces. That request was denied by the Planning and Zoning Board. Opening was also delayed when a fire destroyed the interior of the building during construction last fall.

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, Longboat Key
Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub - Opening its doors, literally after renovation completed this year

The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub opened its doors, literally, earlier this year after a three-year renovation process that added side doors for an open-air dining area. It kept its unique outdoor seating under buttonwood trees, with views of plentiful dock space, the water beyond and a new outdoor fireplace. On the interior there is state-of-the art kitchen, a renewed dining area and an extra capacity bar for its patrons. As with the Shore, Mar Vista has 14 dock slips and a beach to pull up your kayak or paddleboard.

The two-million dollar renovation that reopened earlier this year was the former home, rental, bar and bait shop until the 1980s when it was purchased by the Chiles Restaurant Group. The son of former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, Ed Chiles is the founding member of the chain that includes the BeachHouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach and the Sandbar Seafood & Spirits on the north end of Anna Maria Island. Chiles Restaurant Group also owns the Gamble Creek Farm, a supplier of fresh produce for the restaurants in the chain.

Serving portions of seafood are generous at Mar Vista. Whether you start with the smoked Florida fish board or calamari and continue with an entrée of scallops, shrimp and grits or even try one of the favorite mullet dishes, you can be assured the preparation is exquisite. There is a special Land Line menu with dishes that are served with fries. Leave some room for dessert. It received the 2019 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Also on the short road of Broadway Street, James Bearley is transforming an old gas station that had sit vacant for years at the Gulf of Mexico Drive intersection. The lighter deli menu at Whitney’s Roadside is expected to attract a beach crowd under its 2,128-square-foot building. Architects have worked in the old gas station design but removed the overhead canopy. The name is an honoring remembrance to Gordon and Lora Whitney who moved to Longboat Key in 1935 and ultimately built 13 cottages for the Whitney Beach village. Nearby Whitney Plaza is also named for the famous development. Two of the remaining cottages have been moved across Broadway Street from the old station awaiting funding to become a welcoming and historical center.

Contemporary style
I discuss the contemporary style of this home near Harry's Continental Kitchen in REALTALK™ #213

Your choices have expanded with the renovations and additions of these restaurants. For many years Longboat Key residents have had great choices on the northern end of the island. You can opt for the Longbeach Café and there is still fine dining at Harry’s Continental Kitchen, currently closed for vacation until October 2nd. These two dining locations have been local favorites for years. Harry’s Continental Kitchen started as a catering service with take-out and opened as a full-time restaurant in 1985. Longbeach Café has been serving breakfast and lunch for many years.

I have some excellent properties for sale on the northern end of the island. Fall in love with newer contemporary home living in a quiet, waterfront locale at 705 Jungle Queen Way near Harry’s Continental Kitchen. I may have something exactly what you are looking for, even if they are currently resting off the market. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing