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Demolition of Sarasota restaurant makes way for new development

Demolition is underway at the former Sweet Tomatoes site on Tamiami Trail.
Demolition is underway at the former Sweet Tomatoes site on Tamiami Trail.
Photo by Elizabeth King
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Years after it closed, a restaurant specializing in salad with an-all-you-can-eat component off U.S. 41 near The Landings in Sarasota is being demolished.

Sweet Tomatoes was torn apart this week by heavy machinery at the site where it has stood for decades on Tamiami Trail. 

Nearby, signage promotes “outpartcel space coming soon” from east Manatee County-based Benderson Development, which owns the shopping center that includes a recently-opened rebuilt Publix. 

A spokesperson for Benderson Development did not respond to a request for more information about plans for the space. 

Signage promotes new space coming soon.
Photo by Elizabeth King

During the pandemic, parent company Garden Fresh closed all Sweet Tomatoes locations permanently. There were 97 Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation (the name in California) eateries across the country at the time. Given the climate, there was no appetite for all-you-can-eat salad restaurants with things like tongs at buffets that multiple people would be touching.

Sweet Tomatoes in Sarasota was located near other restaurants that survived the pandemic, such as the Olive Garden and DaRuMa. Another Sweet Tomatoes location in the area that closed was in the UTC area in east Manatee County.



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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