Welcome back to the Bradenton waterfront, Paul Mattison. The chef and founder of the Mattison's restaurant group recently took over the YachtSea Grille, located just steps from the Manatee River, overhauled the space and rebranded it as Mattison's City Grille.
It's the third restaurant in the Mattison's universe and marks a return to downtown Bradenton for the brand. Mattison's Riverside, located a bit west, closed five years ago. The riverfront has changed dramatically in the interim, largely thanks to the completion of the Riverwalk and the associated parks and hangouts built alongside it. From Mattison's sprawling new patio dining space, you can hear the scrape of skateboard wheels from the riverfront skatepark just across the way.
Per Mattison, the food largely hews to the one at the downtown Sarasota Mattison's; roughly 70 percent of the Bradenton menu matches the one in Sarasota. One big addition: sushi, overseen by the restaurant's Neal Carter, whom Mattison worked with previously. Overseeing the restaurant as a whole is chef Christian Bell, better known by his nickname "Lucke." Bell worked at YachtSea before Mattison took over the space late last year. "He's a great talent," Mattison says. "Everything I throw at him, he's executing really, really well." Bell wasn't alone in sticking around. Mattison kept many previous YachtSea employees. "I inherited a wonderful crew," he says.
Anyone who's eaten at a Mattison's restaurant knows to expect some globe-hopping, and that happens here, too. A sushi course might be followed by ceviche, with poutine, chicken sliders, bruschetta, steaks, cioppino and a whole lot else on offer. The restaurant books live music every night of the week, and the tall square bar makes for a pretty chill spot to sip and savor. In addition to your typical bar pours, Mattison's is serving a variety of wines on tap. Mattison has a theory about keeping his restaurants lively and relaxed. "It's more fun to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant," he says.
The Bradenton Riverwalk Mattison's City Grille is located at 101 Riverfront Blvd., #120, Bradenton, and is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Call (941) 896-9660 or click here for more info.