The Pinecraft Community: Expanding to new heights

Pinecraft has a lot to offer in great food and hand-made goods. A cultural hub of Amish and Mennonite activity, Pinecraft has now expanded with a full-service hotel in the Carlisle Inn Sarasota Hotel & Conference Center.

Neatly tucked between Bahia Vista Street and north Tuttle Avenue the Pinecraft community flourishes as a year-round destination for tourists from around the globe. Historical references indicate the early settlements of the present day Pinecraft community began in the early 1920s. According to a 2014 article published in the Orlando Sentinel, from December through April, the prospect of Sarasota’s snow-free sun attracts roughly 5,000 Amish and Mennonite visitors to a part of town that began as a tourist camp in the 1920s. Pinecraft has always been a highly sought-after area for winter farming by those migrating from Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and other northern spots.

Pinecraft’s increasing popularity is primarily derived from the Amish inspired cuisine prepared by Yoder’s Restaurant and the Der Dutchman Restaurant. Established in 1975 by Levi and Amanda Yoder, Yoder’s Restaurant is widely known for its homemade pies and pressure cooked fried chicken. “You won’t find a better buffet in Sarasota. The fried chicken is excellent and all the vegetables are cooked/seasoned very well,” said Clint H. on Yoder’s has been featured on an episode of The Food Network’s “Man Vs. Food” and named the “Best Amish Restaurant” and “Best Homemade Dessert.” Lastly, an average of 7,000 pies are prepared and sold during the Thanksgiving Holiday season annually.

An additional staple of the Pinecraft community is the Dutchman Hospitality Group’s Der Dutchman Restaurant. Located on the eastern side of Bahia Vista Street, the Der Dutchman Restaurant’s fare is synonymous with that of Yoder’s Restaurant. Single plate and buffet meal options are available, which include vegan selections, and the second floor is home to a dedicated gift shop. It’s ranked as #46 out of the 695 restaurants in Sarasota listed on In addition, Sarasota Magazine’s 2014 article ranking Sarasota’s best doughnuts recognized Der Dutchman for having the best dough. “Everybody exclaimed over Der Dutchman’s thick-yet-airy dough.”

Adjacent to the Der Dutchmen Restaurant is the Dutchman Hospitality Group’s latest gem the Carlisle Inn Sarasota Hotel & Conference Center. Constructed within 14 months for a budget of $15 million, the Inn boasts 82,000 square feet complete with 99 sleeping rooms and over 4,800 square feet of flexible functional meeting space. Sales Manager Lynnette Haskins confirmed the Inn was sold out nearly every weekend during its grand opening month of March. Guests may request accommodations for up to 90 days for a single reservation. Discounts are applied to reservations where guests are staying for an extended period.

The price range for standard room accommodations range between $149 and $199 per night. King Suites average $249 per night and feature a kitchenette with a dishwasher, dishes and cooking utensils, and a clothes washer and dryer. 95% of the furnishings and finishes were handcrafted by the members of Amish country located in Holmes County, Ohio. Each room has two dressing areas and a flat screen television with cable access, and most have walk-in showers. The Inn does not impose resort or parking fees and all guests may dine on a complimentary hot breakfast each morning of their stay. The complimentary hot breakfast is prepared with natural food products in a kitchen located on the property. Guests may also request packaged meals from the Der Dutchman Restaurant, the Inn’s exclusive caterer, that will be delivered to their rooms.

Lastly, the Inn's meeting space can host up to 425 guests for special occasions and between 24 and 31 booths for conventions and tradeshows. Groups are given access to complimentary high-speed internet and may choose customized set-up options. Group managers are available to coordinate all of the details, including the unique food and beverage options.

"The Inn's environment is more relaxing and offers guests an explanation and better appreciation of the Amish lifestyle of peace and comfort," says Jeff Miller, General Manager, the Dutchman Hospitality Group. Miller also hopes guests will be pleasantly surprised with the accommodations and find relaxing time for themselves during their stay. When asked about future opportunities for the Dutchman Hospitality Group, Miller confirmed in the next three to five years theatre productions depicting real life stories of the Amish community may become available.