Columbia Restaurant Group President Richard Gonzmart looks forward to paying homage to the legendary Longboat eatery.
The Buccaneer, named after a former Longboat Key restaurant staple, expects to break ground in early 2020.
Columbia Restaurant Group Chief Marketing Officer Michael Kilgore said there have been no delays in the building process and that the plan was always to open the restaurant when it’s ready, not according to an artificial schedule or deadline. At one time, 2019 was mentioned as the year construction would launch. Kilgore emphasized there was no delay, just that the company is working on several avenues preceding construction.
Kilgore said there will soon be a pre-meeting with the town of Longboat. The town will give the ownership group a matrix of milestones to meet. The group will then have a site plan submitted within six weeks.
“We think in the next four or six months we will have fulfilled, we hope, all the requirements of the city, and then we plan to break ground in the first quarter of 2020,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore also said that Columbia Restaurant Group President Richard Gonzmart is excited about the restaurant concept.
“He’s already purchased 150 cases of French wine being kept in a climate-controlled environment,” Kilgore said. “He’s already purchased furnishing and artwork, some of it from the 1500s and the 1600s; we’ve got some 60-year old stained glass; he’s commissioned a statue; he refurbished his mom’s 1926 Steinway piano; that’ll be in the restaurant. We realize people aren’t seeing that, but trust me, there are lots of things happening in preparation.”
The new restaurant will be steeped in Longboat Key history. Gonzmart has said that his parents' favorite restaurant, excepting the Columbia, was The Buccaneer Inn, owned by Sarasota developer and Longboat Key luminary Herb Field.
“My goal and my dream is to make this new restaurant an architectural gem and to pay homage to some of that restaurant’s beloved menu items, such as oysters and prime rib, as well as to add distinctive touches," Gonzmart said in a 2017 statement.
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