Residents are beginning to take advantage of the new phase of businesses opening in Sawgrass Grove. Sawgrass Grove Market opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, with several new businesses ready to offer their services, including Darlin’s Sweet Shoppe, Willy’s Original, Frenchy’s Wood Fired, Golden Hills Coffee Roasters, The Villages Grown, Southern Oaks Golf Shop and Sawgrass. Bar. Little Fin Seafood Shack, The Local Butcher & Market and The Market’s Teaching Kitchen will be opening soon. The Market and McGrady’s Pub join the Ezell Regional Recreation Complex, Clifton Cove Putting Course and Southern Oaks Golf Club at Sawgrass Grove, which is designed to bring dining, entertainment, recreation and golf together in one location. The entertainment area including the Box Car stage and outdoor bar will open at a later date. Shade structures designed to look like orange trees are being completed to cover the dance area.
The market was packed Wednesday with area residents eager to check out the new conveniences and try new foods, drinks and treats.
Cindy Winslow kept up to date on The Market’s construction. She can walk to the area from her home in the village of Sainte-Catherine and was eager to check it out on Wednesday.
“I’m thrilled it’s open,” Winslow said. “I can’t wait to try some of these companies.”
Her first stop was Darlin’s Sweet Shoppe, a store that sells cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, ice cream and candy. Winslow bought an assortment of cookies for his mah-jongg group.
The Sawgrass Grove Market location is the first Darlin’s Sweet Shoppe to open.
Owner Estelle Krasinski said opening a candy store has been her lifelong dream and has been working towards it for about a year and a half.
Krasinski was looking for a place to open her business, so she jumped at the chance to open at Sawgrass Grove Market. She noticed that there weren’t many dessert businesses and wanted to be the one to fill that need.
“It’s just a fantastic place and, honestly, it’s also a new concept for The Villages,” Krasinski said. “I’m so happy to be part of it. It’s great and people seem to really like it. I just want it to be a place where people can come and eat sweet stuff, have a good time, relax, and maybe get a sugar overload.
Winslow’s friend Elaine Boyer attended the opening with her and was impressed with the space. She liked it indoors, especially because of how hot it had been lately.
“I can stay for hours and enjoy everything they have to offer,” said Boyer, from the village of Pinellas.
Winslow and Boyer also liked that there are also a few grocery options at the market, including The Villages Grown and The Local Butcher & Market, which will be opening soon.
“I think it’s wonderful that you have all the choice and variety,” Winslow said.
The Market for The Villages Grown space has three times more offerings than the Brownwood location. The goal has always been to extend The Villages Grown to the whole community.
“The vision comes to life,” said Jennifer Waxman, executive director of The Villages Grown. “I am very excited.”
With a larger space, new The Villages Grown offerings are craft items, including herbs and seasonings, bar condiments, and on-the-go items≤ such as salads, rice bowls, pasta bowls, wraps and sandwiches.
“We try to be a one-stop-shop with a unique dining experience that you can’t get in other places with a taste of Florida,” Waxman said.
Many visitors also headed to Willy’s Original on Wednesday to try its burgers and other pocket foods. The command line has reached the opposite end of the market.
Paul and Melody Plust of the Village of St. Catherine ordered the All-American burger, which they described as “delicious” and “juicy.”
They also love the concept of the space and look forward to more businesses opening at The Market.
“It’s perfect,” said Paul. “That’s what we’re looking for.”
Senior Writer Summer Jarro can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5404, or [email protected]