Lily Cafe restaurant opens for breakfast and lunch in Sarasota



A new breakfast and lunch cafe is coming to southern Sarasota from the same Naples-based group that plans to open a restaurant and bar in the downtown University district.

The restaurant, called The Lily Cafe, will open in Sarasota’s The Landings at US 41 and on Proctor Road next to Publix. The 2,900-square-foot restaurant, slated to open in June, will seat about 150 people, owner George Wood said.

The Wood family is the driving force behind the award-winning Naples restaurant Jane’s Cafe on 3, and Georgie’s Garden Cafe and Bar George, two new concepts being developed for the West District at University Town Center. The West District and The Landings are both owned by Benderson Development Co. of Manatee County.

Georgie’s, which has been in the works since 2019, will focus heavily on quality food, as well as design cues like succulents, eye-catching lighting, and minimalist chandeliers. At night, Bar George, a small cocktail bar that will enhance the area’s nightlife offerings, will open in the space next to Georgie’s.

The Lily Cafe will have a floral aesthetic and a slightly more casual atmosphere than its sister restaurant in town, Wood said.

“They will both be high-end breakfast concepts, and the Lily Cafe will be a bit more casual in terms of overall design and decor,” he said. “It will always be top of the line, with the same level of service and quality that we seek to provide at Georgie’s.”

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COVID-19 has delayed Georgie’s opening, Wood said, as the company decided to take a more conservative approach to business early in the outbreak. As it stands, he said, Georgie’s construction is pretty much complete – they’re just waiting for a few decor pieces and hope to open by August.

At Lily Cafe, customers can expect to find a menu filled with items such as Egg Benedict and stuffed French toast. Wood has said he expects to get a full liquor license so he can offer creative cocktails for breakfast as well. The restaurant will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is just the start of Wood’s plan for what he calls market domination. He said he hopes to open a second Lily store before the end of the year. Over the next 10 years, he said, he wants to have 15 restaurants in the Sarasota area.

“We see (Sarasota) as a growing market and an accessible market in a lot of ways. There’s going to be a lot of growth here, and we’re seeing growth all year round, while in Naples it’s a lot of growth. seasonal, “he said.” It’s good for us to focus here for now. ”

He said he wanted to bring something to the Sarasota area that he said is currently lacking in the market.

“In Naples you can go almost anywhere in the city center and get pretty solid quality. That goes for the food, the service, the design and the decor,” said Wood. “We think that in Sarasota there are a few operators who do a very good job, but the majority do not stand on the same level. We want to bring a different aspect to Sarasota and elevate the community to the side, which will elevate everyone.”

The Landings was purchased by Benderson in 2017 as a run down mall. Since the developer took over, he has turned the tide. Renters include national chains like Starbucks as well as local favorites like Poppo’s Taqueria.

Over the next few months, the center will welcome new tenants EOS Fitness, Rain Noodle House and the Vampire Penguin dessert shop. Tripletail Seafood & Spirits and Big Olaf Creamery recently opened their doors there.

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