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Seeking fine dining in a comfortable setting? This new restaurant hungers to please

Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar, which recently opened at 535 13th St. W., elegantly brings some of the best western European cuisine to the heart of Bradenton.

The menu reflects French, Spanish, Italian and Belgian influences, but with a Bradenton twist, general manager Jenn Sayko said.

The first thing you notice when entering Château 13 is its appearance, from the stone and wood surfaces to the tastefully lit reds, grays, blacks and whites that are featured throughout the restaurant.

Cheese and Charcuterie (slices of meat) are a focus at the restaurant, as are curated wines from around the world.

Guests are welcome to dress up and come in for an entree, or come as they are and enjoy a couple of bites and a glass of wine at the bar, Sayko said.

Entrees range in price from $19 to $34.

Among the selections are filet mignon, Fisherman’s Stew, Pan Seared Snapper, Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, and Carbonnade a la Flamande, the classic Belgian beef stew slowed braised in dark ale with carmelized onions, heirloom baby carrots, plums and house frites.

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Jenn Sayko, general manager of Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar, is committed to offering a comfortable, upscale dining experience in the Bradenton area. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

The menu also includes a selection of mussels and frites, European desserts such as waffles, sundaes, tortes and a variety of coffees.

The planning process for Château 13 started in late 2017 when the restaurant team located the prospective space, a former landscape architect office, and began working with the City of Bradenton, Sayko said.

“Château is a French word that literally means ‘castle.’ But when we were thinking of the various châteaux throughout Western Europe (also called “castellos” in Italy or “castillos” in Spain), two words came to our minds — “home” and “wine.” We couldn’t imagine two better or more applicable words for the name of our restaurant and wine bar,” it says on the restaurant’s website, chateau-13.com.

Restaurant owners Wim and Mieke Lippens and their two daughters moved here from Belgium in 2009. Wim had been an exchange student at Southeast High School in the early 1990s and dreamed of returning to the Bradenton area to live.

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Dinner for four at Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar, 535 13th St. W., Bradenton. provided photo

“The Lippens family purchased what is now the Palmetto Riverside Bed & Breakfast, a historic 1913 Sears & Robuck home on the Manatee River. Making its debut as a bed & breakfast in 2010, Wim and Mieke expanded the historic home to host weddings and events and then, in winter 2017, began Dining at Palmetto Riverside — a European style multi-course dining experience showcasing flavors and styles of their home, Belgium, and surrounding France, Italy and Spain,” the company website says.

At that time, Sayko and Chef Steve Cottet became part of the B&B family team and soon after the idea for an upscale, comfortable restaurant that became Château 13 was born.

Sayko grew up on Anna Maria Island, graduated from Manatee High School and fell in love with travel and fine cuisine.

She quotes Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”

Add good food to travel, and you have the essential elements of a civil society.

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Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar offers a comfortable, upscale dining experience in the Bradenton area at 535 13th St. W. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

“Gathering around the table unites the world,” Sayko said.

Maybe a final ingredient would be plenty of love for the culinary arts.

“If you are going to be a European restaurant, do it right or don’t do it at all,” Sayko said. “It’s not easy operating a restaurant. But I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Chateau 13 seats 50 and is open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Seating is walk-in only, no reservations.

For more information, visit chateau-13.com.

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