Oysters Rock Hospitality announces iconic Sarasota restaurant Café L’Europe’s year-long golden anniversary campaign 


Eleni Sokos | Director of Brand Strategy
Oysters Rock Hospitality
(941) 725-0100 | eleni@oystersrock.net

February 1, 2023 (Sarasota, Fla.) – This season marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Café L’Europe opening its doors to serve Sarasota diners.

To commemorate this milestone, the restaurant is launching a year-long celebration with a variety of special events, including a Legacy Chef Wine Dinner series, where acclaimed local chefs who got their start at Café return for a night of storytelling over fabulous wine and exquisite cuisine. A “Born in 1973” campaign beginning February 15, 2023, invites all guests celebrating their 50th birthday this year for a complimentary glass of Champagne*.

In the restaurant, as the second of three planned renovation phases continues, construction partitions will be wrapped with a special memorabilia gallery. This collection of Sarasota history is comprised of snapshots and news clippings that have been lovingly compiled from guest contributions. Online, guests and fans of the restaurant will delight to see these memorabilia shared on the restaurant’s social media pages.  A new commemorative logo has also been unveiled on the website and dinner menus.

On January 21, 1973, founders and acclaimed restaurateurs Titus Letschert and Norbert Goldner welcomed 77 guests to dine for the first time. Café L’Europe’s name and concept were inspired by the classic ambiance of the popular De L’Europe Hotel in Amsterdam. The founders were also influenced by the Sign of the Dove’s interior design, the beloved Manhattan restaurant where they met that was known for lush architectural elements like red brick arches and mirrored glass.

Before the building became Café L’Europe, it was the Cocoanut Palms restaurant in the 1950s before becoming Colombi’s Italian Restaurant, which lasted into the 1960s. The building was originally built circa 1926 to be the real estate office of one of Sarasota’s most famous former residents – John Ringling.

Over the following 50 years, the kitchen of Café L’Europe would become a breeding ground for Sarasota’s successful chefs and restaurateurs, with menus and dishes that have stood the test of time. Plans for the 50th anniversary include a Café staff reunion event where former team members from over the years are invited to a private reception hosted by Oysters Rock Hospitality and former General Manager Michael Garey, with more details to come.   
Oysters Rock Hospitality, led by award-winning restaurateurs and philanthropists Amanda and John Horne, purchased Café L’Europe on February 1, 2022.  In the summer of 2022, the duo announced plans to completely renovate the interior of the historic building.  Phase I, a total overhaul of the private and semi-private dining spaces, has now been completed and is receiving initial acclaim for its unique design that blends contemporary fixtures with the Café’s signature interior. 
Reservations are available now for the first of four Legacy Chef Wine Dinners.

For two nights on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1, Chef Ray Arpke, retired former owner of Euphemia Haye, will return to the restaurant where he once worked. The destination is Italy for five courses of masterful Italian cuisine with paired with exquisite Italian wines. Bookings are exclusively offered via OpenTable for $250 per person inclusive of tax and gratuity; visit CafeLEurope.net/LegacyChef to reserve.  


Interview opportunities are available with: 

  • Amanda Horne or John Horne, co-proprietors of Café L’Europe about their experiences over the first year of ownership and the significance of the 50th anniversary to Sarasota history. 
  • Kevin Conway, General Manager, about plans for the anniversary celebration campaign and the leadership team’s vision for the future of Café L’Europe 

About Café L’Europe:  Celebrating 50 Years of Café: A Legacy of L’Europe in 2023.  Inspired by Europe’s finest bistros, Cafe L’Europe delivers a five-star fun experience through outstanding hospitality, delicious European fare, an expertly-curated wine list and seasonal cocktails in a historic, Old World-meets-New setting. Café L’Europe is owned by Oysters Rock Hospitality, whose vision of hospitality means ensuring that everyone at their table feels more welcome than ever before. Oysters Rock Hospitality also includes the nationally-awarded and locally-beloved Anna Maria Oyster Bars. Click here for media gallery. CafeLEurope.net | 941-388-4415

*Offer only valid with purchase of a Main course. One annual redemption per guest. Valid ID required.