Bradenton sitdown restaurants kick off new year with openings

mjohnson@bradenton.comDecember 30, 2013 

Two much-anticipated sitdown restaurants, catering to different palates, are set to open early next year.

The first will be the Bradenton retread of former Sarasota eatery Derek's Culinary Casual. The 100-seat Derek's Rustic Coastal Cuisine, which is scheduled to open in the first week of January, is on the site of a former Arby's at 5516 Manatee Ave. W.

Owner Derek Barnes said he decided to move to Bradenton when he found the commercial climate at the restaurant's former location in the Rosemary District in Sarasota did not develop as he had anticipated.

His new, roughly 3,000-square-foot location will feature a "rustic coastal" menu with an emphasis on seafood.

The restaurant's size has been scaled back from Barnes' original plan for a 169-seat dining room. Carlson Contracting of Bradenton built the $400,000 restaurant inside the shell of the former Arby's building.

Barnes said the restaurant is planned to appeal to diners who want to visit often. Prices will range between $4 for some appetizers to the mid-$20 range for some entrees.

"The food is meant to be fun, new, and exciting," Barnes said. "It will appeal to a lot of people without being pedestrian."

A few weeks after Derek's opens, national chain LongHorn Steakhouse will open at 4502 14th St. W. Erica Ettori, a spokesperson for LongHorn parent company Darden Restaurants, said the 240-seat, 6,400-square-foot restaurant will open in the second or third week of February.

The Orlando-based, publicly traded company has 445 LongHorn locations in 40 states. The new, Western-inspired Bradenton restaurant is expected to employ 80 to 100 people.

Ettori said LongHorn's goal is "to be the neighborhood's favorite steakhouse."

Darden owns both the land and the building next door to its Olive Garden restaurant. Ettori said the total cost for the restaurant is about $3 million. Chicago-based Belisle Construction, Inc. is the general contractor for the project.

Darden operates 14 LongHorn locations between Winter Haven and Sarasota.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.

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