All of that traffic around University Town Center does have a positive side, of sorts: It attracts businesses. Since the opening of The Mall at UTC, restaurants - both chain and locally owned - have blossomed in the area, trying to take advantage of all those hungry people driving to and by all the development lining University Parkway.
That means outlets of classic Sarasota favorites like Anna's Deli and C'Est La Vie, Tampa stalwarts like Fresh Kitchen and Daily Eats, and chains ranging from Blaze Pizza to Rusty Bucket, all clustered in a few square blocks of paved parking lots and plenty of retail stores. That might not be enough to salve the honking hands of Lakewood Ranch residents who have to brave the gauntlet every day, but at least they don't have to drive to Main Street for fresh croissants, right?
And the growth doesn't seem to be slowing down. Fully a half-dozen new spots are slated to open before the end of the year, with more likely to come, especially if Sarasota's second Whole Foods moves in as proposed.
It may seem small consolation as you try to get on, or off, I-75, but at least you'll have something tasty to look forward to.
RUSTY BUCKET: A chain restaurant and tavern that focuses on all the comfort food you'd expect as well as a selection beer and specialty cocktails from the full bar. 257 N. Cattlemen Road; 941-355-6666; myrustybucket.com