Food & Drink

Changes coming to downtown Bradenton’s restaurant and bar scene. Here are the details

Meet the new owners of Bradenton’s The Connection Cafe

Meet the new owners of Bradenton's The Connection Cafe at 1207 Third Ave. W. They have some changes planned.
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Meet the new owners of Bradenton's The Connection Cafe at 1207 Third Ave. W. They have some changes planned.

Lee and Shelly Anderson bought The Connection Cafe in downtown Bradenton in March, attracted by its location off Old Main Street and the compact size of the restaurant.

With 32 seats — 34 if you count the two outside — it was the right fit for the couple, with Lee in the kitchen cooking and Shelly up front greeting and serving customers.

The ownership change at The Connection Cafe, which is located at 1207 Third Ave. W., is just one of a number of changes downtown, which seems to be an ever-evolving dining and entertainment destination.

Among other changes coming to Bradenton’s Old Main Street area are a Paddy Wagon Irish Pub, and the Oak & Stone at the recently opened SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

The Andersons are tweaking the menu at the daytime restaurant, which features a variety of crepes, egg and omelet dishes, biscuits and gravy, French toast and sandwiches for breakfast. Breakfast prices start at $4.99.

The lunch menu includes sandwiches such as Italian, roast beef, turkey club and tuna, all served with pickle and choice of potato salad, cole slaw or chips. Hot sandwich favorites include a Philly cheesesteak, reubens, tuna melts gyros and French dip.

Rounding out the menu are pressed paninis (Cuban, turkey mozzarella, pollo verde and Italian). Cuban sandwich purists will be happy to know there is no salami between the slices of bread. A selection of wraps and crepes also are offered. Sandwich prices start at $6.49.

Once a week, the Andersons plan to offer international specials, which will be advertised on the standing A-frame sign outside.

“Maybe Italian one week, maybe something from Germany or from China,” Lee said.

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Lee and Shelly Anderson recently became owner-operators of The Connection Cafe, 1207 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. They are in the process of updating the menu for the daytime restaurant. James A. Jones Jr.

“We use the freshest ingredients and go to the store every day. We are really concentrating on the quality,” he said.

The couple hope to have their new menu finalized within the next several weeks.

Dr. Christina Mehriary was having sausage gravy with biscuits and eggs at the restaurant this week.

The Connection Cafe also offers catering and delivery.

Business hours through the summer are expected to remain from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and possibly expand once the fall-winter season arrives. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

A website is under construction, so for now, the best way to get more information is to call 941-251-4954.

In other changes coming downtown:

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A Paddy Wagon Irish Pub is planned for this location at 320 Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton. James A. Jones Jr.

Franchise owner Ed Smith confirmed that he plans to open a Paddy Wagon Irish Pub on Old Main Street.

“We have signed a lease for 320 Old Main St. in downtown Bradenton recently and are currently working with an architect on plans to submit to the city. We do not have a solid timeline for opening as of yet. As soon as our plans are finalized and submitted to the city for review, the timeline for opening is more clear. Usually takes four to six months to open after plans are approved,” Smith said in an email.

Smith has three Paddy Wagon locations in Manatee County. The others are at 5320 Lockwood Ridge Road, 6690 Cortez Road W., and 4402 State Road 64 E.

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Signage recently went up for the Oak & Stone at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Hotel in downtown Bradenton. It is anticipated that the eatery, which features craft beer and artisan pizza, will open later this year. James A. Jones Jr.

Although an opening date has not been announced for The Oak & Stone tavern and rooftop bar at the eight-story SpringHill Suites by Marriott, located at 102 12th St. W., the restaurant operator recently added signage to the hotel exterior.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott, a $23 million project facing the Manatee River, opened in May. At the time, it was anticipated that Oak & Stone, known for its craft beer and artisan pizza, might open this summer, but more recent word is that October is a more likely date.

Take a look at the view of the Manatee River from the eighth floor of Bradenton's new SpringHill Suites hotel. The hotel opened Friday, May 17, 2019.