Buccaneer Restaurant coming to LBK in 2019 says owner of Columbia on St. Armands Circle


The Gonzmart Family of Restaurants will open The Buccaneer in 2019 on the site of the former PattiGeorge’s on Longboat Key.

It’s a new concept for the 113-year-old restaurant group that owns and operates 13 Florida restaurants, including the Columbia Restaurant, Ulele, Goody Goody Burgers, Cha Cha Coconuts and Café Con Leche Ybor City. The original Columbia in Ybor City is Florida’s oldest restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.

The Buccaneer name is a nod to Longboat Key’s culinary past.

“My parents’ favorite restaurant, besides the Columbia, was Herb Field’s The Buccaneer Inn on Longboat Key,” said Richard Gonzmart, fourth generation “caretaker” of the family restaurant group. “My goal and my dream is to make this new restaurant an architectural gem and to pay homage to some of that restaurant’s beloved menu items, such as oysters and prime rib, as well as to add distinctive touches.”

Field opened The Buccaneer Inn on March 17, 1957, and sold it in 1992. It closed in 2001 and was razed in 2005 to make room for the Grand Mariner condominium. In its prime, this fine dining restaurant was a fixture on Holiday Magazine’s national list of the best U.S. and international restaurants, a list that also included the Columbia, Brennan’s, Maxim’s de Paris and Joe’s Stone Crab as well as New York’s famed Four Seasons and the 21 Club.

Representatives of the magazine and more than 60 of those award-winning restaurants celebrated at the Columbia in Tampa on Oct. 25, 1968, with their hosts Cesar and Adela Gonzmart as well as Mayor Dick Greco and U.S. Congressman Sam Gibbons.

“It’s sad, but less than five of those 60-plus restaurants from 1968 are still open today,” Gonzmart said. “They were the best of the best. Thankfully, the Columbia is one of those still operating and thriving.”

The former Holiday Magazine awards are now presented by DiRoNA – the Distinguished Restaurants of North America – and the Columbia is still on the annual list.

The new Buccaneer Restaurant site at 4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive has its own history as PattiGeorge’s, the 40-year-old landmark that Gonzmart purchased in June 2016. In poor condition, the building will be torn down. For more than a year, Gonzmart has been working with architects on exterior and interior design ideas for the restaurant, which will still have boat slips. On travels around the world, he acquired antiques and artifacts from the “golden age” of the buccaneers for use in the new restaurant.

The Gonzmarts have their own history in Sarasota and Longboat Key.

“My dad opened a second Columbia Restaurant on St. Armands Circle in 1959,” Gonzmart said. “He loved Sarasota and Longboat Key and always told me if any opportunity came for a waterfront location that I should go for it. I already had many projects in the works when the PattiGeorge’s location was offered for sale. But I didn’t hesitate and we closed on the purchase very quickly.”

Gonzmart also announced Executive Chef Mark Boor, who was hired specifically for The Buccaneer, and is developing the menu with Gonzmart and his team. Boor worked at the Trio Bistro in Cincinnati when it was named a Top 20 restaurant, and at Fulton’s Crab House in Disney Springs. He was selected as one of the “Top 20 Chefs of Central Florida” by Restaurant Forum magazine.

Gonzmart said he is very excited about his plans for The Buccaneer.

“The Buccaneer is based on not just any pirate,” Gonzmart said. “In my mind – and I know this is a romantic view – he was well off, possibly a noble, who rebelled and went to sea. He’s more a privateer, someone commissioned by countries like France and England to wreak havoc on Spanish shipping and trade. Some of them eventually were knighted for their services. Even the word ‘buccaneer’ comes from the French ‘boucan,’ a wooden frame that was used to smoke meat over a fire.”

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