The New Owen's Fish Camp in Lakewood Ranch Is Open

If you like the downtown Sarasota Owen's, you'll find plenty to enjoy here, too.

By Cooper Levey-Baker May 26, 2023

The exterior of the new Owen's Fish Camp in Lakewood Ranch.

When restaurateur Paul Caragiulo describes the process of designing and opening the new Owen's Fish Camp in Lakewood Ranch, he compares it to making a movie. You're not just preparing food and serving it; you're staging an experience.

"You're presenting a whole culture, a whole world," Caragiulo says.

If a restaurant did indeed have credits like a film, Caragiulo says, his brother Mark Caragiulo would be the director. Mark's cinematic touch is evident in all the restaurants Caragiulo and his siblings own (Caragiulos, the original Owen's and Veronica Fish & Oyster), but you can really see it at work in the new restaurant. Significantly larger than the downtown Sarasota Owen's, the new space features multiple dining areas decked out with details like a chandelier draped with fishing lures, upside-down canoes dangling from the ceiling and old-timey portraits and photographs on the walls.

The bar area inside the new Owen's.

In the back, you'll find a covered and screened patio area for dining and a still-in-the-works backyard area that will eventually hold a small stage for musicians and a food prep station to serve people while they wait for a table. Like the downtown location, the new Owen's will not take reservations—a strategy that encourages those backyard hangouts. Caragiulo says that while customers may have to wait, the restaurant is designed to make that time pass as pleasantly as possible—hence the outdoor space, which is populated by mature trees that were transplanted from elsewhere to help improve the vibe. "We don't expect you to stand in line like it's a Disney ride," Caragiulo says.

He says the menu at the new location is 80 percent to 85 percent the same as the Owen's downtown, but there are some new touches, mostly with meat. You'll find a grilled hanger steak, for example, as well as ribs cooked in root beer, a brisket sandwich and chicken and dumplings.

Still, the emphasis is on seafood, and the menu boasts the same "naked fish" options that have been a hit downtown, plus fried oysters, shrimp and crab, and entrées like shrimp and grits and roasted lobster. If you've been to the downtown location and liked it, you'll find plenty to enjoy out in Lakewood Ranch.

According to Caragiulo, his family has a rule when creating restaurants. "We don't want to do any places that we don't want to hang out in," he says.

The new Owen's Fish Camp is located at 6516 University Parkway, Lakewood Ranch. Capacity is limited until the backyard space is fully open.

Show Comments