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Top 20 reasons to visit Lakewood Ranch Main Street

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el lago ranchero

El Lago Ranchero is one of our Top 20 spots to eat, drink, shop and play along Lakewood Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. (STAFF PHOTO / Thomas Bender)

Southwest Florida’s most famous stretch of master-planned suburbia, Lakewood Ranch covers the southeastern corner of Manatee County and there are pockets of action throughout. But like most communities, The Ranch does have a downtown entertainment district, which in this case lines and surrounds the aptly named Lakewood Main Street. It’s where you will find these 20 businesses, our favorites in the neighborhood, offering everything from food and drink to surfboards and Hollywood films.

1. American Shore Trading Company
Source for famed names in surf, skate and skim boards plus scooters, American Shore also carries the necessary apparel, accessories and footwear to make you look even more awesome while pulling off that spectacular stunt. 8131 Lakewood Main St., Suite 106; 907-1122; americanshore.net

2. Ana Molinari
Eating, drinking, shopping, movie watching and mini-golfing are all fine ways to spend your time on Main Street but does anything really compare with pampering yourself at a luxury salon-spa-boutique? Molinari is The Ranch’s leading location for maximum relaxation and rejuvenation. 8120 Lakewood Main St., Suite 102; 373-3900; anamolinari.com

3. Arts A Blaze Studio
Looking for something different in the family fun or date night department? Create a piece of beauty with a little help from the folks at Arts A Blaze. 8111 Lakewood Main St., Suite 107; 306-5840; artsablazestudio.com

4. Big Olaf Creamery
Hungry for homemade ice cream? Big Olaf is your man. Italian ices, soft serve frozen yogurt and sugar-free flavors are also on the menu. 8151 Lakewood Main St.; 907-0151; bigolaflwr.com

Ed's Tavern / FILE PHOTO

Ed's Tavern / HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE

5. Ed's Tavern
The spot where Ranch locals go for good times, Ed’s is a vibrant, unpretentious neighborhood pub with reasonably priced food and full-bar beverages, ample TVs and plenty of friendly servers. 10719 Rodeo Drive; 907-0400; edstavernlwr.com

Photo gallery: Lakewood Ranch's Music on Main

6. EL Lago Ranchero
Solid Tex-Mex cooking complemented with the mandatory choice of margaritas, a commendable Mexican beer list and a cozy dining room. 8126 Lakewood Main St.; 907-9449

7. Fannie May
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a decadent collection of chocolates ranging from mint and dark to cherry and cream. 8130 Lakewood Main St., Suite 103; 907-0282; fanniemaysarasota.com

8. Fast N Fresh
Fast food for us foodies, Fast N Fresh offers a panoply of sandwiches, salads and soups made mostly from scratch with vegetarian options. 8138 Lakewood Main St.; 462.2650; eatfastnfresh.com

The Fish Hole (STAFF PHOTO / Thomas Bender)

The Fish Hole / STAFF PHOTO / Thomas Bender

9. The Fish Hole
This gorgeous, 18-hole miniature golf course features an impressive display of plant life, a 3,000-gallon koi pond, a towering watermill and misters that make putting around in the sun a fun activity even in the summer heat. 8111 Lakewood Main St.; 306-5891; thefishhole.com

10. Hana Sushi Lounge
Featuring sashimi slices and rolls from the sushi menu as well as noodle and chicken entrees from the kitchen menu, Hana offers an artistically-executed array of Asian cuisine. Plus, they serve handcrafted cocktails. 8126 Lakewood Main St.; Suite 107; 907-1290; hanasushilounge.com

11. Lakewood Ranch Cinemas
This locally owned and operated movie house featuring six full-auditorium screens showing the hottest Hollywood releases plus a deft mix of indie and art films is a beloved lynchpin of the Main Street business community. 10715 Rodeo Drive; 955-3456; filmsociety.org

Bar Tab: MacAllisters Grill and Tavern 

12. MacAllisters Grill and Tavern
The killer Scotch selection, salmon dishes and a distinctive yet totally comfy setting are just a few of the many reasons MacAllisters provides patrons with casual dining (and drinking) at its finest. 8110 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch; 359-2424; macallisters.com

13. Main Street Bazaar
Part of the family owned and operated Bazaar shops launched in the 1980s on Anna Maria Island that also includes The Fish Hole locations, this where you go for brand-name beach essentials such as sunglasses, sandals and swimwear plus a smile-inducing assortment of novelty items. 8111 Lakewood Main St.; 907-3456; bazaarshops.com

Fresh mozzarella tomato & basil flat bread pizza with antipasto salad from the Main Street Trattoria. (FILE PHOTO)

Fresh mozzarella tomato & basil flat bread pizza with antipasto salad from the Main Street Trattoria. HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE

14. Main Street Trattoria
Having recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, this trattoria maintains a large, loyal following of locals thanks to its evolving menu of authentic Italian cooking and a rocking happy hour that runs daily from 3 to 7 p.m. 8131 Lakewood Main St.; 907-1518; mstrattoria.com

15. Paris Bistrot
Sister restaurant of the Island Creperie, Paris Bistrot serves all kinds of tasty crepes for breakfast and lunch with dinner reserved for more sophisticated entrees such as beef bourguignon and chicken provencal but with dessert crepes also on the menu. 8131 Lakewood Main St.; Suite 103; 388-0564; bistrotfl.com

16. Pastries By Design
A bakery that makes wedding cakes, sculpted cakes and all sorts of other amazing, specialty desserts can also be a big help when you need that cake ASAP. Storefront cakes like Boston cream, white chocolate raspberry, white with vanilla buttercream and fruit tarts are often available first come, first serve. 10667 Boardwalk Loop; 907-8222; pastriesbydesign.com

17. Pinchers Crab Shack
One of several Pincher’s Crab Shacks that started with a Bonita Springs location in the late 1990s, the restaurant offers basically crab everything (cakes, dips, claws, sandwiches, soup, salad) as well other seafood dishes and a full bar in a funky, nautical setting. 10710 Rodeo Drive; 922-1515; pincherscrabshack.com

Polo Grill & Bar / HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE

Polo Grill & Bar / HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE

18. Polo Grill and Bar
From superbly prepared seafood to inspired lamb and lasagna creations, Polo Grill is one of the great gastronomical destinations in the area. In addition, there’s the handsome Polo Lounge with its striking wine list and happy hour featuring standout drink and small plate specials 4:30-7 p.m. daily. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; 782-0899; pologrillandbar.com

19. Station 400
Open for breakfast and lunch and serving the same delicious items as the original Station 400 in downtown Sarasota, personal faves include the Truffle Eggs Benedict and Station Burger featuring smoked cheddar, bacon, fried egg and onion marmalade. 8215 Lakewood Main St., 907-0648; station400.com

20. Vanessa Fine Jewelry
Dinner and a movie or round of mini-golf will make your loved one happy, sure, but probably not as happy as if you take that special someone to Vanessa. The jewelry shop specializes in custom-designed pieces that are handcrafted right on site. 8131 Lakewood Main St.; 373-6311; vanessafinejewelry.com

What did we miss? 



Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013
WADE TATANGELOis the editor of TICKET + and a contributor at TicketSarasota.com. He has been an entertainment editor, reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013 and writes the weekly Bar Tab column. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: August 27, 2014
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