Tucked away on Longboat Key, Mar Vista is a hidden gem with a magical atmosphere. Guests can arrive by boat, at Intracoastal mile marker 39, or by car to enjoy fresh seafood inside the quaint dining room or on our outdoor covered deck overlooking picturesque Sarasota Bay. Surrounded by ancient buttonwood trees strung with lights, it’s got a totally different feel from day to night. Originally built in 1920, Mar Vista was a local fishing shack which was eventually added onto and refurbished into the beautiful, copper-filled restaurant you see today.
Working with local vendors to source the best, specialty ingredients is at the heart of what we do. We’re proud to support small businesses while offering the most unique dishes and cocktails in the area, all inspired by our location and the seasonal products we’re able to procure. Sustainability is also a pillar of our operation and composting, oyster shell recycling, promoting local and sustainable products, and pledging 1% of our annual revenue to environmental causes through the 1% for the Planet organization are all initiatives our staff is exceedingly passionate about.
Brandi Craig, a longtime Chiles Hospitality team member, was promoted to Mar Vista’s general manager in 2022. Prior to that she was Assistant GM of the Beach House Waterfront Restaurant, where Brandi started her career as a server in July 2007. She spent time in management both at the Beach House and at Sandbar Seafood & Spirits. In all her assignments she displays great interpersonal and management skills.
Mar Vista’s newest Executive Chef is Aaron Kulzer, originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He grew up there and initially wanted to go to nursing school. While in college, he worked as a dishwasher and actually dropped-out of school to focus on the restaurant business.
He rose through the ranks, learning different styles of cooking from various restaurants before moving to Portland, Oregon. That is where he found his passion and started his knowledge of sustainable seafood. After spending a few years in Portland, followed by a few more in Texas, he went back home to Mississippi to be the Executive Chef of Cora’s at The White House Hotel, bringing scale-to-fin to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here, he found his style of cuisine — high-end southern food with a Cajun twist. It is the cuisine he really looks forward to bringing to the guests of Mar Vista to enjoy!