When Richard Gonzmart learned Longboat Key's iconic Pattigeorge's restaurant was for sale, he was reminded of his father's advice: “Never turn down the opportunity to build on the water in Sarasota.”
Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, heeded that wisdom as his company closed on the property Tuesday. It purchased it, for an undisclosed price, from Tommy and Jaymie Klauber, who have operated the restaurant since September 1997.
Gonzmart declines to share specific details of his plans for the location, but he says it will not follow his company's existing concepts. Gonzmart oversees a restaurant empire that includes four of the historic Columbia Restaurants; two Columbia cafes; Cha Cha Coconuts next to the St. Armands Circle Columbia; and two recent additions — Ulele in downtown Tampa and Goody Goody, the restoration of a Tampa restaurant landmark expected to open in August.
Gonzmart says with whatever restaurant he develops on that mid-Key bayfront site, you can count on this: “It will be one of a kind. It won't be anything we do now.”
The closing of Pattigeorge's ends its four decades of operations on Longboat. The founding owners were also a couple, Patti and George Neofotis.