The former Roy’s Restaurant location in Sarasota, a once-popular Hawaiian fusion eatery from noted chef Roy Yamaguchi, is getting a new life — this time under a French banner.
The new brand at the spot, 2001 Siesta Dr., across the street from the Crossings at Siesta Key mall and in the same building as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, is called The Chateau Sarasota. It’s the third Chateau, a brand from Manatee County restaurateur Buddy and Jennifer Foy. The couple opened The Chateau Anna Maria, in the Waterline Marina Resort on Anna Maria Island, in late 2020. That move came soon after the Foys made a much-publicized departure from New York to Florida, six months into the pandemic, putting the move squarely on which state they believed to be more business-friendly. Their original restaurant, The Chateau by the Lake, in upstate New York’s Lake George, remains open, on a seasonal basis.
The Chateau Sarasota is a long time coming. Original plans called for it to open in late 2021. That got pushed to February 2022. Then fall 2022. The official opening date turned out to be Feb. 4, 2023. “What a two-year road it has been,” says Buddy Foy, noting supply chain issues, inflation, labor, permitting and other obstacles. “I feel like it took forever. I can’t believe it’s finally here.”
The end result, Foy believes, will be a strong contender for a new go-to spot in Sarasota’s eclectic foodie scene. The menu has some standard sandwiches, salads and soups — French onion, of course — paired with some higher end French dishes, such as escargot. Wine bottles will run from $45 to $4,000 a bottle. “We’re going to have something for everyone,” Foy says, “but with an approachable French theme.”
The Foys significantly upgraded the former Roy’s space, which closed in 2016. At an investment of at least $750,000, the project includes a new and expanded kitchen and new decor for the 150-seat restaurant. The Foys can even bump that 150 seats to 180 if necessary. “We have creative ADD,” Foy says. “We are always updating the floor plan.”
The Sarasota location offers Foy some other opportunities, in addition to more seats and customers. For one, it’s less seasonal than the Anna Maria location. Even more pressing, Foy looks at the Sarasota spot as a test case for taking the Chateau brand statewide. “This will be a template of our scalability,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing how good our brand is.”
Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.