Cravings Blog

Council’s possibly reopening under new ownership

A downtown Bradenton landmark, Council’s quietly closed in November.
A downtown Bradenton landmark, Council’s quietly closed in November.

Although nothing is official yet, the owners of Toasted Mango Cafe are looking to purchase downtown Bradenton’s favorite burger bar, Council’s.

Toasted Mango partners Kimberly Duffy and Sandi Wagner were seeking a downtown Bradenton location to open a third Toasted Mango, but when their broker came across the Council’s property, they decided not to fix what isn’t broken.

“We want to get in and get our feet wet and understand the clientele and the way Lawton (Smith) has done business, which has been so successful,” Duffy said. “As far as we are concerned, we will keep it the way it is.”

And by keeping it the same, that means no French fries on the side of your burger-on-a-napkin, Duffy confirmed.

Duffy and Wagner hope to open earlier and stay open later to serve the downtown Bradenton breakfast and evening crowds. They’ll add a few things to the Council’s menu, including coffee and breakfast sandwiches. They also hope to turn the building’s side window into a “grab-and-go” option for the hurried and hungry.

The Toasted Mango duo don’t plan to do much in the way of redecoration, either. The 2,000-square-foot building has several billiards tables and the two hope to “breathe a little life into the place at night.”

If all goes as planned, Council’s will reopen on Feb. 8 or 9, Duffy said.

Named Council’s Burgers in 1936, Council Smith operated the burger joint about a block or two away from its current location at 536 12th St. W. He moved it in 1954, and it served what many residents call the best burger in town ever since. Lawton Smith, Council’s son, took over operations in the 1970s.

In November, Lawton Smith quietly closed the establishment after 80 years of history in his family. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Janelle O’Dea: 941-745-7095, @jayohday