Neighborhood guide

Where the Locals Eat in Wellen Park

The food scene hasn't quite caught up to the population explosion happening in Wellen Park. But locals have a few good options for a satisfying meal.

By Cooper Levey-Baker

Snook Haven

Snook Haven

Image: Courtesy Photo 

Bocca Lupo Coal Fired Pizza

12150 Mercado Drive, Venice, (941) 676-9653,
With a handful of locations in Sarasota and Charlotte counties, Bocca Lupo is part of the same restaurant group as Donato's and Prime Serious Steak in Port Charlotte. Bocca Lupo is focused on pizza, and has earned a following for its pies, which include a "New Jersey Tomato Pie" that is made by placing the mozzarella on the dough and then topping it with tomato sauce instead of the other way around; the "Arthur Avenue Deli Pie," a charcuterie lover's dream; and more traditional options like a white pizza or a Margherita.


12205 Mercado Drive, Venice, (941) 492-6677,
When you're craving sushi, this is your spot. The restaurant offers a huge mix of specialty rolls like the "Autumn of Connecticut" roll, which is made with king crab, salmon, avocado, wasabi and roe, plus more traditional maki options like a spider roll. Fuji also offers hibachi meals, Thai noodle dishes and plenty of fried snacks.


4115 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, (941) 786-9825,
Part of a small Southwest Florida chain that started in Naples in 1995, this is where neighbors go for a big, satisfying breakfast. Choose among the skillets, which include layers of eggs, potatoes and a variety of toppings, or the pancakes, crispy potato pancakes, waffles, omelets and more.

Snook Haven

5000 E. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 485-7221,
A lovely slice of Old Florida, Snook Haven is a charming hangout known for its barbecue and basic seafood items, plus more unusual dishes like gator sliders and shrimp and chips. On "Banjo Thursdays," which happen weekly from October through May, members of the Gulf Coast Banjo Society show up to jam. It's a beloved Sarasota tradition.

Tomahawk Tiki Bar

18800 S. West Villages Parkway, Venice, (941) 413-5000
Located inside the Atlanta Braves' spring training facility, this bar and restaurant remains open even after the ballplayers have departed. Stop by for cocktails, beer and grub like nachos, burgers and chili dogs. When a game is happening, the bar provides excellent views of the action on the field, plus a good angle on the park’s massive video screen, so you won’t miss a crack of the bat.

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