Growth spurt

A New Lakefront Restaurant Is Headed to Downtown Wellen

The Banyan House will have a bar, a lounge and outdoor dining.

By Kim Doleatto April 13, 2022

Rendering of The Banyan Tree restaurant in Downtown Wellen

The Banyan House is scheduled to open this November with the completion of the first phase of Downtown Wellen at the end of this year.

Serving upscale new American cuisine, The Banyan House is slated for Downtown Wellen’s lakefront. Formerly known as West Villages and recently ranked as the No. 4 top-selling master-planned community in the U.S. for two years in a row, Wellen broke ground on its downtown in August of last year and is quickly gaining momentum with new tenants.

Nestled along the 80-acre Grand Lake, the locally owned restaurant and bar will offer orangewood-fired grilled seafood, steak and eclectic fare across casual lunch selections, fusion-inspired New American cuisine for dinner and a formal brunch with carving stations and a champagne bar.

Created by long-time restaurateurs, brothers David and Dennis Valentino and partner Mark Costanzo, The Banyan House will be the only lakefront restaurant in the downtown master-planned community. It will seat up to 320 guests and include 2,000 square feet of alfresco dining overlooking water and sunset views.

The restaurant’s open, light-filled interiors, designed by Tampa-based ArchitecturePlus International, are centered around a large wood-fired grill and will pay tribute to the restaurant’s namesake with 20-foot-tall lifelike banyan tree sculptures. 

The bar and lounge areas will have plenty of space with comfortable seating dedicated to guests having a cocktail, appetizers and small plates. “They may go out on a Tuesday and not want a full dinner. We're giving our guests more options,” Valentino says.

The Banyan House concept and menu are a new endeavor for the Valentinos and Costanzo, who, for 25 years, operated Prime Serious Steak, Donato’s Italian Restaurant and Bocca Lupo Coal Fired Pizza in Venice and Port Charlotte. Their Bocca Lupo at Wellen Park’s Marketplace opened 18 months ago.

Valentino anticipates the restaurant opening this November with the completion of the first phase of Downtown Wellen in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The Banyan House will also be the exclusive caterer for special events at neighboring Solis Hall.

A rendering of The Banyan Tree catering event at Solis Hall in Downtown Wellen.

A rendering of The Banyan House catering event at Solis Hall in Downtown Wellen.

With their Claw and Co. lobster roll concept, the team also plans to be part of The Yard, a collection of repurposed shipping container permanent food trucks that mark Downtown Wellen’s hub for casual, outdoor eats. More tenants for The Yard will be announced soon.

The Banyan House joins a growing list of retail, restaurants and services slated for Downtown Wellen, including Mirabella’s Italian Coastal Cuisine, Oak & Stone, Villani & Co., Bright Ice, Capstan Financial Consulting Group, Kind Vibes Outfitters for bicycle, kayak and paddleboard rentals and more to be announced soon. Check out the restaurants already settled in here

Still under construction, Downtown Wellen features an 80-acre lake, shops, waterfront dining, pedestrian-friendly streets and public community spaces. It will also have a children’s playground and a hammock grove with a lounge area. A 2.8-mile trail circles the lake, for biking, walking and running.

Wellen Park has approximately 9,000 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 50,000 residents and 22,500 homes within its three districts in South Sarasota: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore.

For more information about Wellen Park, click here or call 941-960-7805.

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