A new restaurant will be opening across from Sarasota Memorial Hospital next month, but, to be successful, the owner believes he needs more parking.
“There’s not enough parking for what we’re anticipating,” Ray Leich said. “Without enough parking, it’ll hurt you.”
Leich is putting in an upscale burger restaurant and bar at 1737 S. Tamiami Trail, which is where the shuttered Lonjevity Café sits.
“Square One Burgers and Bar will be a full-service restaurant that plays into the burger craze,” he said.
The existing restaurant building currently has 49 parking spaces. Leich and his landlords, Ted and Georgia Nicholoudis, wanted to create 35 more parking spaces.
The Nicholoudises also own the home at 2043 Arlington St., which is directly behind the restaurant property. They want to remove the home and place the additional parking there, but to do so, they would need a zoning change.
They requested, and received, that change from the City Commission Sept. 7 — the property went from the RMF-3 residential zone to a commercial neighborhood district.
Peter Dailey, the property owners’ consultant, told commissioners the home on the Arlington Street property was built in 1919, and his clients are trying to find somewhere to move it, instead of demolishing it.
“We are trying to relocate the house to the east and are actively searching for someone to help us,” Dailey said.
Vandals have broken some of the vacant home’s windows, and homeless have entered the empty house. As a result, the owners have placed a security fence around the home and restaurant.
The extended parking lot will feature a pervious surface on the spaces furthest to the east and a tree buffer with its residential neighbor.
Leich plans to open Square One Burgers and Bar Oct. 19 and feature burgers made of ground beef, buffalo, ostrich, ahi tuna and more.
Leich opened the first Square One Burgers and Bar in February 2007 in Tampa. The South Tamiami Trail location will be his second.
A third restaurant is set to open Dec. 10 on University Parkway.
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The Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations held its annual holiday party Monday, at the Sarasota Botanical Garden.