Englewood is an unincorporated community that is partly in Sarasota County and partly in Charlotte County, Florida.
About 16,000 people lived in the Englewood area in the year 2000.
Englewood is south of Venice on State Road 776. If you are heading south out of Venice on US-41, take SR-776 due south near the bend where US-41 turns to the east.
William and Mary Goff were the first settlers in the area in 1878. They bought 60 acres of land fronting on Lemon Bay. The Nichols brothers were early developers who first platted the town in 1896, naming it after their hometown of Englewood, Illinois.
The town slowly grew over the years with its main enterprises being fishing, farming, and lumber. Until the late 1960's and early 1970's, Englewood was almost as quiet and out of the way as its southern neighbor, Boca Grande.
Now old Englewood is surrounded by many developments, including two great big ones.
The first thing that happened to change Englewood's isolation was General Development's expansion of their Port Charlotte community northward from Charlotte County into Sarasota County.
This expansion was initially called North Port Charlotte, and it was incorporated that way in 1959.
Residents changed the name to North Port in 1974 so people wouldn't confuse it with Port Charlotte. Over 55,000 people now live in North Port. Port Charlotte has about the same population.
The next big thing that happened was Rotonda, called Rotonda West by the Cavanagh Communities Corporation to differentiate it from Rotonda East they intended to develop on the east coast in southern Martin County and northern Palm Beach County.
Rotonda East never happened, but Rotonda West now has nearly 8,000 people scattered around its uniquely circular layout. Cavanagh Communities went broke some time ago, but there are many thousands of lots still available for homes.
Once you get past these sprawling communities with thousands of scattered homes of standard Florida design dating from the 1960's to modern times, you get into Englewood Florida proper.
It is a typical old Florida town nestled along the shores of Lemon Bay, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico.
The old part of town is centered along West Dearborn Street west of SR-776, also known as Indiana Avenue in this area.
The downtown area is nicely painted with plenty of pastel colors and a nice mural here and there. It is not a fancy gentrified area, but a real working village.
There are many nice shops and several neat little restaurants with plenty of outside dining.
The town has a dry storage marina with a few boat slips among many older and modern neighborhoods with canals and boat slips.
Manasota Key is located across Lemon Bay from Englewood, and is an easy drive for a day at the beach. Englewood is a pleasant place to while away a day or a week.
70 North Indiana Avenue
Howard's Restaurant has been a favorite in Englewood since 1955. It is a family owned enterprise on Indiana Avenue, also known as County Road 776.
The menu features local cuisine, seafood, and more. Service is prompt and friendly.
Appetizers are enticing, and include fried calamari, pork shank wings, mussels or clams, mozzarella risotto bites, and their special loaded Buffalo Chicken Potato Kegs.
Entrees run the range from seafood, steaks and chops, and chicken specialities.
Samples from the sea are grouper filet, haddock, halibut, scallops, ahi tuna, salmon, and lobster tails. Their seafood speciality is the Captain's Platter which contains haddock, shrimp, and scallops along with vegetables.
Meat entrees are filet mignon, New York strip, ribeye, sirloin, baby back ribs, pork chops, and even liver and onions. Their chicken dishes are parmesan, piccata, marsala, and Francaise.
Howard's has a state of the art contemporary bar that features an unusual feature: a frost rail to keep you drinks perfectly chilled. They had an extensive selection of beer, wine, and liquor.
The bar has a sporty feel with eight large television monitors that let you watch sports or your favorite programs.
Howards is open daily except Monday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.