Wellen Park announces landmark lakefront restaurant in Downtown Wellen

The Banyan House will feature new American cuisine and sunset and water views

VENICE, Fla. (April 12, 2022) – The Banyan House, featuring upscale new American cuisine in a scenic setting, has been announced as Downtown Wellen’s premier lakefront restaurant and exclusive event caterer. Nestled along the 80-acre Grand Lake, the locally owned restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and brunch and offer a menu of orangewood-fired grilled seafood, steak and eclectic fare.

“We are pleased to introduce this exciting concept to our outstanding line-up of offerings in the Downtown,” said Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park, the master-planned community. “The Banyan House complements our vision and the joyful, vibrant spirit of Wellen Park for everyone to enjoy. We anticipate the restaurant and bar will become a local favorite for both residents and the regional community to connect over a shared experience, gather with family and friends, and celebrate milestones and everyday moments.”

Created by long-time restaurateurs, brothers David and Dennis Valentino and partner Mark Costanzo, The Banyan House is the only lakefront restaurant in Downtown Wellen, the central hub and gathering place for Wellen Park. The restaurant will offer seating for 320, a large bar and lounge under 6,100 square feet, including 2,000 square feet of alfresco dining – all showcasing picturesque water and sunset views.

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring a first-class dining experience to Wellen Park,” said David Valentino. “Downtown Wellen is one of the most amazing planned downtowns I’ve come across in Florida. The Banyan House will offer upscale dining but, in a fun, high-energy space. We really want to lean into the waterfront setting and being part of downtown.”

The restaurant’s open, light-filled interiors, designed by Tampa-based api(+), ArchitecturePlus International, are centered around a large wood-fired grill and will pay tribute to the restaurant’s namesake with 20-foot-tall lifelike banyan tree sculptures. The Banyan House concept will also reflect modern-day dining trends.

“We’re capturing today’s food-forward approach to restaurants and how people dine,” said Valentino. “Exciting trends in the last decade focus on making the dining experience more youthful, vibrant and accessible while emphasizing more creative fare. Bars and lounges are larger with comfortable seating dedicated to guests having a cocktail, appetizers and small plates with friends. They may go out on a Tuesday and not want a full dinner. We are giving our guests more options.”

The chef-driven menu will offer casual lunchtime selections, fusion-inspired new American cuisine during dinner hours, and a formal brunch with carving stations and a champagne bar.

“From a culinary perspective, it’s incredibly exciting to build an entirely new menu,” said Valentino. “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

Valentino hopes The Banyan House will become the hometown restaurant local residents can’t wait to show their out-of-town guests.

“Restaurants give a community a sense of identity,” he said. “They’re what makes a town. When someone visits your hometown, there’s always a place you’ve got to take them to, and so often it’s a local restaurant.”

The Banyan House concept and menu are a new endeavor for the Valentinos and Costanzo, who have operated the popular Venice and Port Charlotte restaurants for 25 years: Prime Serious Steak, Donato’s Italian Restaurant and Bocca Lupo Coal Fired Pizza. Their Bocca Lupo at Wellen Park’s Marketplace opened 18 months ago and quickly became the number one location.

Valentino anticipates the restaurant opening this November with the completion of the first phase of Downtown Wellen in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The Banyan House will also be the exclusive caterer for special events taking place at neighboring Solis Hall, Wellen Park’s event venues that can accommodate a wide variety of celebrations including weddings, anniversaries and other special gatherings.

With their Claw and Co. lobster roll concept, the team also plans to be part of The Yard, Downtown Wellen’s hub for food and fun. Designed to inspire joy and merriment, The Yard is a collection of repurposed shipping containers featuring counter-served cuisine with al fresco seating and outdoor activity centers. Additional operators for The Yard will be announced soon.

The Banyan House joins a growing list of retail, restaurants and professional services coming to Downtown Wellen, including Mirabella’s Italian Coastal Cuisine, Oak & Stone, Villani & Co., Bright Ice, Capstan Financial Consulting Group, and Kind Vibes Outfitters for bicycle, kayak and paddleboard rentals. Additional merchants will also be announced soon.

Currently under construction, Downtown Wellen features the 80-acre lake, retail shops, waterfront dining, pedestrian-friendly streets and public community spaces. Nature-inspired features like a children’s playground blending into its surroundings and a hammock grove with a lounge area connect visitors with the outdoors and provide spots for rest and relaxation. A 2.8-mile trail circles the lake, creating opportunities for biking, walking and running.

Consistently ranked among the U.S.’s top fastest-selling master planned communities annually by prominent real estate consulting firm RCLCO, Wellen Park offers a mix of residential, commercial and recreational options. The community currently has approximately 9,000 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 50,000 residents and 22,500 homes within its three distinct districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore.

For more information about living at Wellen Park, call 941-960-7805, go to or visit the Welcome Center at 12275 Mercado Drive in Venice, Fla. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.


Jennifer Hamilton, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, [email protected]

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