Der Dutchman

The restaurant's name has changed on more than a couple occasions, but Der Dutchman has been a hub of the Pinecraft Amish community dining scene for decades. This Saturday, it will commemorate its history as part of a broader 50th anniversary celebration organized by the restaurant's parent company, Ohio's Dutchman Hospitality.

The first Der Dutchman opened in Walnut Creek, Ohio, on May 1, 1969, with seating for 75 and 15-20 employees. In the half-century since, the company has added five other restaurants, four inns, five retail shops, a theater and a wholesale food business, with 1,300 employees in Amish and Mennonite communities around Ohio and in Sarasota.

The Wagon Wheel Restaurant in 1985

The company purchased Sarasota's Wagon Wheel Restaurant in 1985 and changed the name to Der Dutchman. In 1999, the original building was razed and rebuilt and in 2001 the name changed to Troyer's Dutch Heritage Restaurant, before changing back to Der Dutchman in 2012.

That's a lot of history—and Der Dutchman is celebrating all of it from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 27, with a series of deals. Coffee and cupcakes are on the house all day and the restaurant is even offering free buggy and carriage rides between noon and 5 p.m., plus a number of other special discounts.

If you do go, might I recommend the "broasted" (i.e. breaded and roasted) chicken? It's tasty. Let's hope it stays on the menu for another 50 years.

Der Dutchman is located at 3713 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. For more info, call (941) 955-8007 or check out the Dutchman Hospitality website.