Whitney's, a new restaurant and bodega, opened earlier this week on Longboat Key's north end, at the corner of Gulf of Mexico Drive and Broadway Street. It sits right across the street from a public beach access point, perfect for attracting beachgoers who are hungry after a day in the sun.
Partners James Brearley, David Benstock, Jose Chichande and Joseph Chillura saw the island's need for a place to grab a quick bite to eat. The vacant gas station was an eyesore, but Brearley saw its potential. "We wanted something that fit into the fabric of the north end, a community gathering for the village that feels like their own," says Brearley.
Locals and tourists alike can stop in for a comfortable dining experience and a wide variety of classic beach fare. Whitney's serves tacos and burritos alongside grouper sandwiches, burgers, salads and its signature dish, octopus on a bed of lettuce. Breakfast is offered, as well, with fresh coffee from Tampa's Buddy Brew Coffee.
Brearley found that people have an emotional connection with repurposed buildings and hopes Whitney's inspires the same. While overhauled, the building still resembles a 1950s service station, with nostalgic Americana details. Brearley and his partners also collaborated with Sarasota artists, like textile designer Charlotte Osterman, to create a laid-back look. While the business just opened days ago, Brearley hopes Whitney's food and atmosphere speaks for itself.
Whitney's is located at 6990 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, and is open from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. For more info, call (941) 383-4606, find the restaurant on Instagram (@whitneylbk) or visit its website.