Restaurants Share Design Elements, Future

Expansion

BY SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY DEC 28, 2015

The opening of sister restaurants Fresh Kitchen and Daily Eats represents the first major entry into the Sarasota market for the Ciccio Restaurant Group, but it also demonstrates the strong relationship between the Tampa company and Ybor City-based Sol Design Studio, which did the architecture and design work for both new eateries in University Park.

The Sarasota location for Fresh Kitchen opened on Black Friday, with Daily Eats following shortly after on Dec. 7. The restaurants, which share a structure on Cooper Creek Boulevard, have similar but distinct aesthetics, the former with raw cypress lining the walls and clear windows offering guests a glimpse at the fresh food collected daily, the latter with finished cypress hand-burned to surround diners with a homey feel as they chow on comfort food.

Steve Lanza, the member of the Ciccio group running the Sarasota locations, said the two restaurants have different concepts. Fresh Kitchen, a fast casual restaurant, serves patrons at a countertop, where they point to freshly cooked ingredients to be served in a custom bowl. “We have bowls in most of our concepts; we really love them,” Lanza notes. “For us it’s a great meal. Salads get boring. A bowl is a salad on steroids.” At Daily Eats, guests are waited on at tables and served up more traditional diner fare, including the Ciccio take on macaroni ’n’ cheese or fried chicken. But in both places, a signature emphasis on healthy food with flavor drives decisions.

Carlos Molnar and Michael Renaud, both principals at Sol Design, designed the restaurants in a way that brings the concepts to life. Working in a shell built by Benderson Development, the restaurants mirror each other in footprint but share no inside facilities. In addition to the use of cypress, the restaurants share the look of a floating ceiling and clean lines that seemingly expand the spaces for guests. “The layouts were pushed into a similar organization,” Molnar said. “We had to make the feel different but work within the same sort of constraints.”

Now the pair of restaurants is serving almost as a model for future growth. “What made this crazy was taking two restaurants and putting them into one building,” Renaud said. “Now we’re doing another the same way.” When a third Fresh Kitchen opens in St. Petersburg on Feb. 15, it will open a week apart from the next Daily Eats, and again, the two restaurants will open side-by-side. 

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