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East County Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 5 months ago

Lakewood Ranch lands big Fish Camp

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Sarasota's popular Owen's Fish Camp is opening a second location in the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

When the announcement came last week that a second Owen’s Fish Camp would be located in Lakewood Ranch, fans of the restaurant wondered if the owners would try to recapture the same quaint, intimate atmosphere of the Sarasota location.

“It’s going to be a place people want to go, that’s for sure,” said Paul Caragiulo, a co-owner of Owen’s Fish Camp. “There is a lot of thought and a lot of care going into this place.”

Caragiulo said the outdoor area of the restaurant is a big part of the environment he and his brothers, Rob and Mark, are trying to accomplish with the new restaurant. They are integrating space into the stormwater infrastructure to have a waterfront aspect with activities for guests. They are also working with developers to relocate some oak trees onto the property to add to the restaurant’s atmosphere.

The original Owen’s Fish Camp first opened in 2010 at 516 Burns Court in Sarasota and has since become a popular seafood restaurant known for its “Florida Cracker decor” and backyard bluegrass music.

The Caragiulos looked at several locations in Lakewood Ranch before landing on Casto’s Center Point development off University Parkway and just east of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

“I think Lakewood Ranch has become such an important place,” Paul Caragiulo said. “I’ve come to know a lot of people who live in Lakewood Ranch. It seems like a community that would be receptive to the kind of thing we would want to do. We believe in what’s going on out there.”

Finding and settling on the perfect location took five years, Caragiulo said, because they wanted to find a developer who would work with the brothers on making their vision for the second restaurant a reality.

“There were lots of constraints in certain areas and a lot of things that just didn’t work out,” he said. “We were committed to having this vision that we would execute the way we wanted to do it and not try to finagle it.”

Aaron Ruben, vice president of development for Casto Southeast, said Casto looks forward to bringing downtown Sarasota concepts, like Owen’s Fish Camp, to Lakewood Ranch.

“We think it’s going to have a great impact,” Ruben said. “We are very excited for the partnership. We think it’ll bring a high-level feel for our development.”

Reeling in Owen’s Fish Camp will draw other restaurants to the Casto development, Ruben said. The developers are in discussions with a few other concepts that will provide other types of cuisines besides seafood.

Lakewood Ranch’s Owen’s Fish Camp is aiming to open in spring 2021.

The restaurant will have plenty of competition. It is the first restaurant announced for the Center Point development, which will have three to four more “sit-down” restaurants.

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch also is expected to open the Waterside Place entertainment hub in 2021 and that will include several more restaurants as well.

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