Commercial tenants have already announced they will open their doors in the Waterside as soon as possible. From law firms to new restaurant concepts, there’s promise for a vibrant, culturally rich area. New tenants in the storefronts and restaurant spaces see a younger demographic of consumers frequenting this new corner of Lakewood Ranch, an inland community that in its earliest iterations attracted snowbirds and retirees. As more mixed-use development and office space came online in Lakewood Ranch, it has drawn a broader age range and more families out east.

Waterside Place marks a significant step forward in creating a thriving destination for all ages of consumers.

“There’s something here for everybody,” said Joe Guli, CEO of the Tableseide Restaurant Group. “It works perfectly for us.” Tableseide, the company behind other celebrated local establishments like Libby’s and Oak & Stone has plans before the end of October to open the doors for Good Liquid Brewing Company, a waterfront restaurant and drinking establishment. With a covered patio open lakeside, near the kayaking launch and volleyball courts, the new establishment intends to woo beer lovers and foodies alike. The brewery will seat nearly 300, roughly half of that available through outdoor seating. The restaurant company partnered with the existing Good Liquid Brewery in Bradenton, which plans to produce craft beers, spirits and all kinds of imbibes, while the Tableseide team provides a more elevated menu than typically found at a bar. Proprietary beef, high-end steaks and range-fed chicken will come from the kitchen while bartenders serve a series of specialty cocktails in addition to what’s on tap.

Guli expects an audience that's young and hungry, but financially comfortable. An overlapping demographic is drawing Ibrahim Saad, president and CEO of Mancave for Men, to open a location in the new area. With a location already open at University Town Center, Mancave has an audience of customers who appreciate master barbers shaping their hair. “We are not just a barbershop,“ Saad said. “We have tailored our shops to be more for male wellness and style. We offer advice on thinning hair, color, vitamins, Injections and vitamin therapy to strengthen the hair and give our clients a young and styled look.”

So why Waterside? A native of the community, Saad said there’s an audience looking for high-end service in Lakewood Ranch that no longer wants to drive to Sarasota, Bradenton or even Tampa to find it. This pedestrian-focused shopping should attract that very clientele. “Although Waterside is new, it provides a new concept to the area,” he said. “Unfortunately Lakewood Ranch Main has lost its appeal throughout the years, and Waterside will be the new spot; it has the Lakewood Ranch ‘mojo.’ Out with the old, in with the new.”It’s not just attracting storefront businesses. Smith Law managing partner Chris Smith plans to move his from a corporate park on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to the posh new center. He expects that will attract more clients to his office doors. Lakewood Ranch Medical Group will also bring a professional class of workers and services into the area. 

Smith said his firm, which specializes in real estate and estate planning, can still pull in his loyal customers but also give a reason for a growing number of other professionals to come there for meetings and transactions.

“Waterside has upscale mixed-use, restaurants and shops,” he said. “It offers those nice options for employees and clients, who order take-out and grab a bite to eat. You can have coffee and do business at the same time.”


Kilwins, a chocolate shop with more than 150 locations in the eastern U.S., will open a new location in a suite on Grand Shores Drive. Crop Juice, a vegan eatery with locations already open at Stickney Point and University Park, will open its third location at Waterside for lovers of smoothies and spinach juice.

Duck Donuts will frost pastries at its sixth Florida location. George Widunas, Duck Donuts Sarasota owner, sees promise in the location and a great place to sell the signature gourmet donuts. “By bringing Duck Donuts to Waterside Place, we’re hoping to deliver smiles and sprinkle happiness to those in the Sarasota community with our warm, delicious and made-to-order donut experience,” he said. “Waterside Place is set to be an exceptional family-friendly, regional destination, which allows Duck Donuts the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of Lakewood Ranch.”

O&A Coffee Supply, a small shop with an original location In Downtown Sarasota, will start pouring brew in Waterside soon.

 And the owners of JPAN Sushi & Grill, which already have one restaurant at University Town Center, will launch a whole new concept with Kore, offering up Korean barbecue in a community still cultivating dining options.

As far as simple lifestyle choices, 3 Form Fitness has started taking membership applications for when it opens before year’s end, and already offers one-on-one consultations. 

There are cultural amenities already in place, most notably the relocated Players Centre for Performing Arts. When the center started taking tenants, well before the pandemic threw the world into disarray, a concerted effort went into curating a tenant mix different from offerings in the Ranch thus far. At the same time, the promise of the center seems clear to many of the business owners who know the Sarasota market well already and know the appetite that already exists in the marketplace.

Mark Schlossberg, founder of Paint Nail Bar, started his national salon franchise in Sarasota and boasts locations in 14 states. In consulting with his most loyal fans, many for years begged for a Paint to open in Lakewood Ranch. “It’s pretty obvious it’s a wonderful place to us,” he said.

Lakewood Ranch serves as home to many who value self care and want to develop a personal relationship with a service provider. That’s practically the Paint business model for success. As for Waterside itself, the population density with mixed-use apartments and condo units means the location can draw from a large number of potential clients in a relatively small geographic area. At the same time, a proximity to I-75 means customers can get to Waterside quickly from a large area that can extend as far as Tampa Bay. “Its analytics are stronger— stronger than in Sarasota in many ways,” he said. “There are fewer snowbirds than in some areas. But we also did research and Schroeder-Manatee Ranch are just wonderful landlords.”

“I should add that we live here. This is not all about cold hard numbers. We’re so deeply invested in our clientele. Our staff knows their birthdays and if their granddad just had surgery. ”