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Snook Haven Lease Extension Approved

Snook Haven Lease Extension Approved

Venice Pier Group will operate Snook Haven through April 2025.

The Sarasota County Commission approved a lease extension with Venice Pier Group at its Tuesday, March 19th meeting, allowing the group to continue operating the iconic Ole’ Florida Venice Landmark – Snook Haven Restaurant – until April 30th, 2025.

Snook Haven, located at 5000 East Venice Ave in Venice, Fla. and directly on the banks of the Myakka River, opened as a fish camp in 1948. After the Myakka River was designated as one Florida’s two “wild and scenic” rivers in 1987, Sarasota County purchased the property in 2006 and inducted it into its Parks system to further protect Snook Haven’s rustic beauty. Venice Pier Group, the family-owned restaurant business that operates Sharky’s on the Pier, Fins at Sharky’s, Snook Haven, Siesta Beach Eats and The Nest at the Bay, has been running the Snook Haven establishment since 2013.

“Our family has loved Snook Haven and has enjoyed visiting the park and restaurant since moving to Venice in 1987. We appreciate such a unique and historic place that both locals and tourists can enjoy and will continue to partner with Sarasota County until they start renovations on the restaurant,” President of Venice Pier Group Justin Pachota said.

Sarasota County expects to start construction on the new Snook Haven facility on May 1st, 2025. The current restaurant building will be replaced with a new 1,500 square foot restaurant building and an open-air pavilion. The new restaurant and facilities will preserve the Ole’ Florida historic beauty of the original structure but will be pulled back from the river to eliminate flood threats. The open air-pavilion will provide breathtaking views of the wild and scenic Myakka River.

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Director Nicole Rissler said that the plan is still under design and permitting. “The project has not been postponed; it is just running further behind in scheduling than we had originally anticipated,” she said. “This extension allows the community to continue to enjoy the services and amenities they are accustomed to at Snook Haven while design and permitting is completed."

Snook Haven endured extreme flooding due to Hurricane Ian and closed on September 27th, 2022.  Sarasota County and Venice Pier Group negotiated a lease extension at that time to allow business to reopen and repairs to be made. After months of hard work and renovations by Venice Pier Group employees, Snook Haven reopened on December 20th, 2022.

“With the lease extension approved, we are excited to be able to host our annual Myakka River Blues Festival again this year on Memorial Day,” Pachota said. “It will be the 13th year hosting the festival and we are happy the event will take place one more year at the original, iconic and historic Old Florida Snook Haven before construction begins.”

Venice Pier Group has operated Snook Haven for the past decade and hopes to continue to run the restaurant once the remodel is complete in 2025.

Here's a deeper dive into Snook Haven and Venice Pier Group:

Snook Haven, “Smack Dab on the River," offers all the history and natural beauty for anyone seeking authentic riverside dining. Off the beaten path on the banks of Myakka River in a natural cove, Snook Haven provides a true Old Florida dining experience with indoor and outdoor seating. Snook Haven’s Backwoods Smokehouse menu features barbecue meats smoked daily in-house, including chicken, pulled pork, shrimp, fresh and smoked fish, and even vegetarian options. Guests can choose from over 30 different beers, including some of Florida’s local craft beers and other international favorites. Snook Haven's outdoor stage is also home to a rich history of local live music entertainment. Snook Haven is located at 5000 East Venice Ave. in Venice, Fla., and can be reached at 941-485-7221. Visit the restaurant’s website at www.snookhaven.com for more information.

Winners of the 2020 Venice Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in the Hospitality and Tourism category and recipients of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Seal of Commitment, Venice Pier Group’s waterfront dining destinations are celebrated for their unique waterfront atmospheres, high-quality food, creative beverages and unforgettable experiences. Sharky’s on the Pier, Fins at Sharky’s and Snook Haven are widely recognized by the community and have been awarded numerous accolades. These awards reiterate Venice Pier Group’s commitment to quality food and beverage, service and dining experiences.

Authors

Emma Kate Silvestri