Mexican restaurant arrives at Longboat Key | Rowboat key

A Mexican restaurant arrives at Longboat Key.

It will take a few months for Mexican restaurant La Villa to open at 5610 Gulf of Mexico Drive Suite # 5, but final approvals were granted this week by the city’s Planning and Zoning Council to authorize an application for special exception.

“I could cry,” owner Estela Villegas said. “It took us forever to get approval and I’m really happy for it.”

The special exemption allows the use of a restaurant in an existing multi-tenant place, which also includes the Solorzano Pizzeria, The Thirsty Snail and the Backyard Bike Shop. The North Key Plaza has six suites in total and 48 parking spaces in total.

The new restaurant will offer authentic regional Mexican cuisine. Urban planner Tate Taylor said La Villa will be entirely indoors.

Villa Mexican Restaurant is a family-owned business located at 4377 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico, which has been open for about eight years, Villegas said.

Carole Valdespino, Cécile Coutret, Estela Villegas and Alan Bumberg attended the Town Planning and Zoning Council meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re from Mexico City and most of our family is from central Mexico, but we have a little something from every region of the country,” Villegas said.

Villegas worked for 10 years at the now defunct Estella’s Mexican restaurant in Tampa. She said she had driven an 18 wheeler for a while before returning to her restaurant job.

Cécile Coutret and Carole Valdespino attended Tuesday’s meeting in support of the location of the Mexican restaurant La Villa de Longboat.

“I live full time in Key and just wanted to express that the community is extremely excited for a Mexican restaurant to come to Key,” Coutret said. “The buzz is very strong.

Valdespino said the food is delicious.

“I ate everything off the menu,” said Valdespino.

The Mexican restaurant La Villa will take over the space formerly occupied by Café Don Giovanni, which left its occupation on October 3, 2017, according to the city’s tax receipt system.

Even if a restaurant used the space before, it needed the special Tuesday exception approval because it had not been used for years.

Villegas plans to open the 2,693 square foot restaurant from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. She also plans to apply for a full liquor license.

“We can’t wait to get started,” Villegas said.

The zoning code requires one parking space for every 150 square feet of restaurant area. This means that the restaurant will have to provide 18 parking spaces.

Alan Bumberg of Zimple Development said the restaurant will undergo months of interior renovations to open as quickly as possible.

“These building plans, I hope next week will come out,” Bumberg said. “We are ready to go. We have our contractor’s offers in hand and it would start essentially immediately. “

P&Z President David Green congratulated the group representing Mexican restaurant La Villa.

“We look forward to having you as neighbors and successful businesses here,” said Green.

Soon another restaurant

Early next year, P&Z’s board of directors is to consider a site development plan and a special exception for Courtney’s Lo ‘Key restaurant at 5620, Unit 1, Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The preliminary application shows that the development proposes to remodel the existing building and add a separate tiki-hut style building. The proposal could change before P&Z board reviews it in 2022.

Courtney’s Lo ‘Key restaurant should serve American bar fare, according to city staff.

The location is the site of Tina’s beauty salon, which closed at the end of August.

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