This week’s restaurant news roundup includes a popular Sarasota restaurant and bar opening its first Bradenton location, as well as a new destination for authentic Thai cuisine. We also have an Italian bakery and breakfast/lunch spot opening, a popular sandwich franchise shop opening, and an enticing new cocktail menu at a local favorite with Sarasota and Bradenton locations. Let’s begin with a major opening for Manatee County.
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Food + Beer opens first Bradenton location
A restaurant and bar concept with two existing Sarasota locations has now made its Manatee County debut.
Food + Beer is now open at the former Mahana Fresh space in Bradenton’s Fountains plaza, which also includes brewery Good Liquid Brewing Co. It’s the third location overall for Food + Beer, along with Gulf Gate and Fruitville Road in Sarasota.
Co-owner Mike Whalen said they will use the larger, 4,200-square-foot Bradenton location to house a barcade area, as well as a stage for live music.
“We’re going to try some new things out, and we’re excited just to be in kind of a different area and see how the brand does somewhere else,” Whalen said.
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Food + Beer’s menu features a variety of inventive takes on comfort foods such as tin can nachos, peanut butter-and-jelly chicken wings and the You Jel? burger with chipotle cream cheese, jalapeño pepper jelly and bacon. Whalen said the Bradenton location will also offer some new menu items that will eventually be added to the other locations, such as a hand-battered corn dog, a fontina cheese-stuffed burger and multiple bowls.
The Bradenton location will offer 19 beers on draft, including local craft options, along with a variety of cocktails. Its happy hour runs 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily and includes $3 Narragansett Lagers and wells, $3.50 mimosas and $4 house wines.
Barcade offerings will include pinball, Skee-Ball and multiple arcade games, with plans to host trivia as well as live music. The Bradenton Food + Beer seats 150 altogether, Whalen said, 120 inside and 30 in an outdoor patio.
The original Food + Beer opened in Gulf Gate in 2018, recently celebrating its three-year anniversary. The Fruitville Road location opened in 2019 while the sister restaurant Seabar, inspired by the collective cultures of the Pacific Ocean, opened next to the Gulf Gate Food + Beer last year.
Food + Beer’s Bradenton location is at 4808 14th St. W. and will be open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday. For more information, call 941-751-2675 or visit eatfooddrinkbeer.com.
Paya Thai Curry now open in Nokomis
A new destination for authentic Thai cuisine has opened in South County. Paya Thai Curry, in Nokomis, is offering authentic, freshly prepared dishes for dine-in or takeout, with online ordering available. A native of Thailand, Suthiwat Wongsriwor purchased the former Thracian Mediterranean Grill and decorated the interior with Thailand artifacts. He enlisted his father, Natthasit Wongsriwor, as chef, and his mother, Jeerapha to create the enticing appetizers.
Paya Thai Curry, which has seating for 48 diners, provides a wide array of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees. Appetizer selections include chicken satay, fresh rolls, crispy chicken spring rolls, steamed or fried dumplings, and the sampler containing coconut shrimp, fried dumpling, spring roll and imitation crab Rangoon.
There are nine salad options, 10 soups and several noodle soups. Guests may enjoy entrees like chicken, pork, tofu or veggie curry, seven noodle selections, stir-fry dishes and specials such as basil fried rice, fresh boneless crispy duck and snapper filet.
There are desserts like mango sticky rice and fried bananas with coconut ice cream. Beverages include assorted teas, lemonade, sodas and coffees.
Paya Thai Curry, at 920 S. Tamiami Trail in Nokomis, is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; until 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 3 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 941-480-0772 or visit payathaicurry.com.
Breakfast at Victoria’s opening in Sarasota
A new breakfast spot is coming to Sarasota. Breakfast at Victoria’s plans to open next month in the former Siam Orchid (briefly Honeycomb Café) in the Chili’s plaza on South Tamiami Trail.
Proprietors Luigi and Eleanora Raso, natives of Italy whose family members have vacationed in Sarasota for 30 years, decided to open the Italian bakery and stylish breakfast/lunch spot, combining American and Italian cuisine. The two are graduates of the Hospitality and Culinary School of Italy and have years of experience in the restaurant industry.
“We are all about the two countries we love so much and our families,” said Eleanora Raso, “so we decided to offer food fusing Italian and American cuisine, and we named the restaurant after our four-year-old daughter, Victoria.” They also have a nine-month-old baby daughter, Sophia.
The Rasos have revitalized the interior of the restaurant with fresh paint and family photos. There is seating for 100 guests inside and on a covered patio. Luigi Raso will be at the helm in the kitchen, while his wife will handle the front of the restaurant.
Breakfast at Victoria’s will serve traditional American breakfasts like bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes and waffles, as well as a breakfast sandwich on sourdough bread with roasted mushrooms, pancakes with orange zest and chocolate ganache, and croissant French toast with vanilla custard and fresh fruit.
For lunch, there will be salads such as pear with gorgonzola and walnuts; seared tuna, olives and tomatoes; or roast beef with blue cheese and spring mix, plus six other versions. There are also platters and eight Panini variations.
Among Sunday brunch options will be pork belly with sautéed black figs and a vinegar/honey glaze, and a Benedict on grilled sourdough bread with melted brie, crispy prosciutto and Hollandaise sauce. Other brunch dishes include avocado toast with smoked salmon and prosciutto, and Sophia’s porchetta with mixed mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and truffle cream on focaccia.
Among bakery treats, there will be a wide array of Italian favorites including cornetti, sfogliatelle, tiramisu, cheesecake, chocolate mousse and profiteroles.
Victoria’s will offer beer, wine and specialty brunch drinks such as bellinis, prosecco with strawberries, lavender or blueberry mimosas. There is a kids’ menu, too, and the owners will offer takeout and delivery services.
Breakfast at Victoria’s, at 4141 South Tamiami Trail, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. For more information, call 941-923-6441 or visit facebook.com/BreakfastatVictorias.
Rogers Market opens in Pinecraft
The new Rogers Market in Sarasota’s Pinecraft community at the Marathon gas station that opened recently is not your typical “C store.” Though it is certainly convenient, it also features restaurant-style food for dine-in or grab-and-go, plus gourmet condiments and high-end bottles of wine.
Gigi Rogers, whose father Burt Rogers founded petroleum provider ATCO Inc. in the 1970s, now owns 25 Shell and Marathon gas stations on Florida’s west coast. An interior designer who lived in Europe for a number of years, Rogers oversees the new markets that also include Bradenton, Tallevast and Fort Myers with another scheduled to open soon at Fruitville and Paleo Drive with 11,000 square feet that will include a wine room and cigar humidor.
“As a working single mom, I found it difficult to find a convenient place to grab quality items and go,” she said. “For instance, if I was having unexpected company, I wanted to be able to stop one place, pick up some fresh flowers, a bottle of wine, perhaps pate and even a full meal. I also wanted a clean restroom. This is the concept we have incorporated in our Rogers Markets.”
Rogers has won awards for her landscaping designs and has implemented inviting concepts at the new markets such as a living exterior wall lined with lush greenery. Inside the new 2,300-square-foot market, there is custom seating for 20 guests, a floating ceiling, marble wall and black, white and yellow color scheme creating a clean, contemporary setting. Outside there are marble bistro tables accommodating 22 more customers.
The chic new market offers typical convenience items, plus gourmet treats (Spanish oils and herbs) and fresh food to go or eat-in prepared by a restaurant or pastry chef. There is also a barista overseeing the coffee bar as well as milkshakes and smoothies. Soon, beer and wine will be provided for consumption on the premises. Currently, it may be purchased to-go.
The market menu of elevated comfort food includes hand-tossed pizzas, sandwiches, barbecue selections smoked on site, salads, fried chicken dinners, tacos and build-your-own burgers. For breakfast, there are custom omelets, bagels with smoked salmon, waffles with fried chicken, and charred avocado toast with ricotta. Desserts include Key lime pie, pumpkin roll, and chocolate volcano cake.
“The response to the new location has been great,” Rogers said. “Many neighbors have dropped by and welcomed us and expressed their excitement over the new concept.”
Rogers Market’s newest location is at 1135 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota, and open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call 941-953-3551 or visit rogers.market.
Fudge Factory now open on Anna Maria Island
A popular Sarasota destination for sweets has expanded to Anna Maria Island. Fudge Factory owner Benjamin Kaminecki, who opened his first area candy and ice cream shop on St. Armands then moved it to Siesta Key, has expanded his thriving business to a former gift shop on Bradenton Beach’s bustling Bridge Street, doubling the Siesta Key space with 3,000 square feet.
“Opening the new store has been phenomenal,” said Kaminecki, who has been in the candy business for over 20 years with other Fudge Factory locations on the Jersey Shore. “We have been slammed since the doors opened here. We are very blessed.”
The new Fudge Factory creates small batches with everything made from scratch. Kaminecki says fudge and house-made cookies are the most popular items. There are 30 fudge variations (brownie, peanut butter, caramel, sea salt, turtle, Oreo), but customers also can order from the 100 choices of candy (chocolates, truffles, brittle, bulk candy), and 40 flavors of ice cream.
There also are many other sweets as well, like chocolate-covered strawberries, coconut turtles, milk chocolate pretzels and chocolate-covered bacon and milkshakes. Customers may dine in, takeout or have purchases delivered or shipped.
The Fudge Factory, at 117 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight. For more information, call 941-281-2501 or visit facebook.com/FudgeFactoryAnnaMariaIsland
Jersey Mike’s Subs now open in West Bradenton
A fast-casual sub sandwich franchise that debuted in the Northeast in 1956 and now has numerous locations nationwide has added another in West Bradenton.
Jersey Mike’s Subs has opened in a former commercial space on Manatee Avenue in West Bradenton. “There was a real need for a sub shop on this side of town,” said Operating Partner Tori Hellis. “The response has been overwhelming. Though Jersey Mike’s is in 2000 locations, this new one has the feel of a small beachy sub shop and people like that.”
The franchise owner, Jason Amarosa, completely renovated the space, creating a beach-like theme with light blue tiles and seafoam green colors reminiscent of the Jersey Shore. The new eatery seats 24 customers inside and offers delivery, curbside takeout and catering services.
Jersey Mike’s is known for the bread baked daily on the premises and fresh ingredients. The new shop offers a wide array of subs with the Italian and Mike’s Famous Philly among the favorites.
There also are subs with choice of ham, turkey, roast beef, portabella, tuna, a club version, BLT and more that may be topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, spices, oil and vinegar. There is a kids’ menu and for dessert, house-made cookies, brownies and Tastykake, which originated in Pennsylvania.
Jersey Mike’s Subs in West Bradenton is at 6737 Manatee Avenue W. and open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 941-253-0253 or visit jerseymikes.com.
Mattison’s debuts specialty cocktails
Two of Chef Paul Mattison’s three namesake restaurants are now offering new menus of specialty cocktails. Offered at his City Grille restaurant on downtown Sarasota’s Main Street and the Riverwalk location in downtown Bradenton, there are about 20 selections, priced from 8 to 15 dollars.
There are various margaritas, punches and teas, cold brew coffee cocktails, specialty martinis such as the Main Street Mango Breeze and Watermelon Cooler, as well as a trio of “Paul’s Knob Creek Rye” creations including the famed New Orleans cocktail the Sazerac.
“Chef Paul wanted to showcase the flavors of summer like watermelon, oranges, grapefruits and mangos,” said Caryn Hodge, marketing director for Mattison’s Restaurants and Catering, in an email. “It was a hot summer so there’s nothing better than a refreshing, light cocktail.”
For more information, visit mattisons.com.
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