The exterior of the Bijou Garden Cafe.

Last year, the team behind the restaurant Sage purchased the nearby Bijou Café, the landmark downtown Sarasota restaurant that first opened in 1986. Since the changeover, the new owner, Sharon Carole of The Realm Restaurant Group, has overseen a renovation of the Bijou property, which led to its closure for three months.

Guests will finally get a look at the new Bijou when it reopens on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The restaurant, now called the Bijou Garden Cafe, will still feature many of the Bijou's best-loved dishes, but will also include a number of new vegetable dishes and vegeterian and vegan options.

The interior of the Bijou Garden Cafe.

“The menu has a French and Californian influence that will very much match the setting of the building,” executive chef Christopher Covelli said in a press release. “We used many of [former owner and chef] J.P. Knaggs’ original recipes, and while they’ve changed over the years as different chefs have evolved them, we believe people will really enjoy the authenticity and comfort they bring.”

The physical changes to the restaurant include the removal of several walls, the relocation and restoration of the bar, the addition of garden views from every table and a new piano.

“This building has so much charm and character,” says Carole. “As we’ve renovated the space, it’s been important to me that we respect its iconic local history. I’m looking forward to seeing the restaurant really come alive with its changes, while still remaining a cherished part of the community.”

Bijou Garden Cafe is located at 1287 First St., Sarasota, and will be open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more info, call (941) 366-8111 or visit the restaurant's website.

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