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South Sarasota County community announces lakefront restaurant

The restaurant will have seating for 320 guests.

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  • | 1:00 p.m. April 18, 2022
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A rendering of the Banyan House, which is expected to open in November. (Courtesy photo)
A rendering of the Banyan House, which is expected to open in November. (Courtesy photo)
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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An exclusive event caterer has been added to the mix at Downtown Wellen, a district within master-planned community Wellen Park along U.S. 41 in south Sarasota County. Most of the community is within the city limits of North Port. 

The Banyan House, a locally owned restaurant by brothers David and Dennis Valentino and partner Mark Costanzo, was announced as both the exclusive caterer as well as the premier lakefront restaurant. Guests can expect a menu of orangewood-fired grilled seafood and steak spread across brunch, lunch and dinner, according to a statement. 

“We are pleased to introduce this exciting concept to our outstanding lineup of offerings in the downtown,” says Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park, in a release. “The Banyan House complements our vision and the joyful, vibrant spirit of Wellen Park for everyone to enjoy. We anticipate the restaurant and bar will become a local favorite for both residents and the regional community to connect over a shared experience, gather with family and friends, and celebrate milestones and everyday moments.”

The restaurant, designed by Tampa-based ArchitecturePlus International, will seat 320 guests alongside a bar and lounge area all under 6,100 square feet. The design pays homage to the restaurant’s name with 20-foot banyan tree sculptures. 

“We’re capturing today’s food-forward approach to restaurants and how people dine,” David Valentino says. “Exciting trends in the last decade focus on making the dining experience more youthful, vibrant and accessible while emphasizing more creative fare. Bars and lounges are larger with comfortable seating dedicated to guests having a cocktail, appetizers and small plates with friends. We are giving our guests more options.”

The restaurant concept and menu is a new adventure for the brother-duo and Costanzo, as the trio has operated Prime Serious Steak, Donato’s Italian Restaurant and Bocca Lupo Coal Fired Pizza throughout Venice and Port Charlotte for 25 years. A recent Bocca Lupo location opened 18 months ago within Wellen Park’s Marketplace. 

The Banyan House is expected to open this November. As the exclusive caterer, the restaurant will be responsible for special events at Solis Hall, the community’s event venue that accommodates various gatherings like weddings and anniversaries. 

The restaurant joins an already growing list of retail, restaurants and professional services coming to Downtown Wellen, including Mirabella’s Italian Coastal Cuisine, Oak & Stone, Villani & Co., Bright Ice, Capstan Financial Consulting Group and Kind Vibes Outfitters for bicycle, kayak and paddleboard rentals.


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