The Shore is one of four restaurant projects planned or underway on the Key. Here are a few details on the new dining landscape.
Located off Sarasota Bay near the eastern tip of Longbeach Village, the $4 million The Shore restaurant on Longboat Key is starting to take shape.
Construction has been complicated by a foundation that had to be laid 4 feet below the water level of Sarasota Bay. Workers could only dig small sections at a time and backfill. Then, dig and repeat.
“It was a little slow coming out of the ground,” co-owner Tom Leonard said. “Now that we’re out of the ground, it should go faster.”
Co-owners Leonard, Mark Caragiulo and partner John Mays are shooting for a June opening for the successor to the iconic Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, which they bought in June 2015.
The Shore will have 185 seats in the 7,000-square-foot facility with arena seating. The 800 Broadway St. restaurant will employ about 60 people.
It’s the same size as the former restaurant, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Leonard said patrons can look forward to a contemporary atmosphere with cuisine that focuses on fresh ingredients sourced locally, when possible.
“We’re going to put something on the water that will be attractive and a very fresh concept,” he said. “Everything is made in house, from sauces to grinding our own hamburger. We’re baking our own breads and making our own pastas. We’re trying to arrange for fresh fish deliveries from charter captains.”
The executive chef in charge of captaining this vision will be Dylan Elhajoui, the former chef of MoZaic Restaurant in Sarasota. Elhajoui, 55, a native of Morocco who came to the U.S. in 1991, said he left MoZaic after a rift.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people,” Elhajoui said. “Tom Leonard and Mark Caragiulo know what they are doing and take it seriously. That intrigued me.”
Caragiulo touts the eatery’s proximity to the water as another plus of the project.
“There will be easier access for boats. It’s a handsome, sexy building in a beautiful spot — 220 degrees of unadulterated Florida. No power lines or condos in sight,” Caragiulo said.
A retail store will offer branded goods from its flagship Shore Diner on St. Armands as well as the new Longboat Key site.
The cost of the project, originally set at $3 million, has increased since it broke ground, Leonard said.
“I can’t really say yet what it will cost because final numbers aren’t locked in yet,” Leonard said. “It will probably be closer to $4 million than $5 million.”