BRADENTON -- Work is progressing on transforming a former Arby's into Derek's Culinary Casual Café, but the restaurant needs to submit new plans before it can open.
Derek Barnes, owner and northwest Bradenton resident, is planning for a 100-seat restaurant at 5516 Manatee Ave. W., pending final site plan approval by Manatee County. He hopes to open for diners in mid-fall.
"Everything's a go, we just had to scale back on the size a bit," Barnes said.
The former fine dining restaurant in Sarasota's Rosemary District filed plans in May to open a 169-seat restaurant at the site, according to county documents. But new plans have to be filed and approved because too much of the parking was off site, said Rob Wenzel of the Manatee County Building and Development Services Department.
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Barnes is a an award-winning chef whose accolades include being a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Best ChefSouth award in 2009, and alsoworked with Emeril Lagasse at Emeril's in New Orleans.
Barnes opened his Sarasota restaurant in 2006 and closed it in April with plans to relocate to Bradenton.
The existing restaurant site contains 50 parking spaces and plans filed with the county show that 107 spaces would come from the neighboring Goodwill, Boiler Room Bar & Grill and Shannon Funeral Home. However, no more than 10 percent of parking can be off site, Wenzel said.
"They can't get 169 seats be-cause they don't have the parking for it," Wenzel said. So a newplan would have to feature fewer seats for that amount of parking, he said.
The preliminary plans also call for remodeling and adding 917 square feet to the building.
Despite the lack of final site plan approval, progress is being made on the building. Manatee County issued permits for electrical, plumbing and building work, according to the Manatee County Building Department.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter@ImYourChuck.