New Kid on the Point

A Swanky New American Bistro With a Major Whiskey Collection Is Headed to Five Points

Warren will open its third location in the 11,500-square-foot space above Fit2Run and Sunburn Cannabis in the heart of downtown Sarasota.

By Kim Doleatto February 16, 2024

Warren in Delray Beach, Florida.

A lot of new residents are filling all those new condo units going up in downtown Sarasota. And what they all have in common is they gotta eat—and they probably have the cash to do it in high style.

Well, lucky for them, going in above Fit2Run and Sunburn Cannabis at Five Points in downtown Sarasota, will be Warren, an American bistro making a splash with its whiskey collection. Warren's got more than 1,000 bottles—the largest in southwest Florida—including Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill, to name a few. In fact, that rare bottle of Buffalo Trace Gold represents the only barrel allocated to the state of Florida.

Suffice it to say, if you like the browns, you’ll feel right at home. 

Warren's Sarasota will occupy the second level of 1400 and 1410 Main St.

But don't worry—if you're not a whiskey fan, all the good liquids will be flowing.  "Even the well will be outfitted with premium liquors," says Jeff John, CEO of Warren's parent company, Damn Good Hospitality. "We're using high-end ingredients and serving high-end dishes, and we’re going to have the booze to match.” 

Warren's first location was in Delray Beach. A second opened recently in Naples. The third here in Sarasota will span 11,500 square feet. The restaurant is named for John's uncle.

The menu is mostly American fare, with a tip of the hat to Mediterranean influences, and covers many flavor bases, with dishes like a shareable Korean fried chicken starter for ($15)

Among the mains, there’s a seafood bolognese ($51), a "Damn Good Lobster Roll" ($49) or "Damn Good Burger" ($23) and a ms9+ wagyu New York strip for $135—ms9+ being the rarest and most difficult-to-find marble score for wagyu beef, which is already one of the most expensive types of beef in the world.

Amidst the specialty steaks and seafood dishes like Chilean sea bass ($49), there are some vegan options, too, like a farro risotto ($33). Cocktails range from $12 to $25 and include time-honored classics like Boulevardiers but also unique drinks like a Japanese clear old fashioned. The restaurant will also serve brunch. 

The Delray Beach location houses more than 1,000 whiskeys.

However, some of the offerings will depend on local demand.

“In Naples, there are probably more like 700 whiskeys and more focus on the wine list," John says, highlighting that market's tastes. 

John says his team combed through other locations to lease for Warren, including Lakewood Ranch, but felt the brand required a more urban vibe. “We love the walkability and the development that's happening downtown. Warren is a city brand, so it fits more,” he says. He says the goal is to be ready to open by the next high season. 

While the Warren's menu is discerning, so too is its building's owner Chris Brown, who recently purchased the Boatyard on Stickney Point Road. In addition to being a local real estate mogul, Brown is a local hospitality man, too. He co-owns and operates multiple high-traffic, long-running bars and restaurants, including the perennially busy Joe's (formerly Smokin' Joes'), just down the street from the future Warren location. Brown bought the historic 1928 Five Points building in 2013. 

Even though the two addresses there, 1400 and 1410, have separate parcel IDs with the county appraiser, they're physically connected. Now vacant for roughly seven years, Brown says the second floor of Fit2Run was office space for a while. The athletic store intended to move its corporate office there ,"but that never happened," Brown says. The entry to Warren Sarasota's ground level will be through a large foyer area off of Pineapple Avenue. A grandfathered-in balcony above Sunburn Cannabis may ultimately allow diners to eat outside upstairs. 

Brown saw previous interest in the space from gym owners, an architect and others with ideas for private clubs by membership. Many wanted to split the space into 2,000 to 2,500-square-foot spreads, but Brown held out for another kind of tenant. “I wanted someone to occupy the whole thing, who had the vision and the resources to build it out and make it vibrant," he says. "Someone had to see the value in that location to do that and spend that kind of money. They had to have that enthusiasm.”

Although Warren's representatives didn’t share the costs of the buildout, Brown, who has done this more than a few times for his own hospitality endeavors, estimates it would "break a million, since they'll build out a new kitchen," he says.

“Seeing larger hospitality groups leasing 10,000-plus-square-foot spaces used to be something we were more used to seeing on St. Armands.  It speaks to the demand from residents and visitors for this type of business," says Kevin Robbins, who, along with Lloyd Robbins, both of Harry E. Robbins Associates, handled both sides of the transaction.

For those who remember, Fit2Run used to be Patrick's Restaurant & Tavern. "There's still a grease trap on site that makes it a little bit easier," Robbins says. Patrick's moved out of the space in 2011, two years before Brown bought the building. Before that, it was part of the Kress International Plaza, consisting of more than two dozen small businesses. Built in 1928, according to county records, it was also home to the Bank of Sarasota, said to have been John Ringling's bank, on the bottom floor, with offices for doctors and lawyers on the second floor. 

Fit2Run store at Five Points in downtown Sarasota.

Image: Google Maps

Today its painted in bright yellow and orange. (A new color scheme is on the way, too.)

Ultimately, says Robbins, "the Damn Good Hospitality group saw Sarasota as comparable to its Delray Beach and Naples markets, and have other expansion plans past this location. Sarasota showed the right demographics to support a restaurant like this, and [the company] appreciated the 'big town' feeling Sarasota has compared to cities like Tampa and Orlando."  

For more information and updates, click here.

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