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SRQ DAILY Dec 24, 2019

Freshly Squeezed Content Every Morning

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Freshly Squeezed Content Every Morning

"I'm not sure how we ended up in Sarasota, but we fell in love with the beauty of the city and the kindness of the people."

- Mila Aguiar, General Manager of Avli Mess Hall

[GoodBite]  Avli Mess Hall Brings Farm-to-Table Mediterranean to Main Street
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Restaurateur Edward Zaki has been in the restaurant industry for over 25 years, owning multiple places in Montreal, Canada including the most current, Chez Victoire, with partner Chef Alexandre Gosselin. After becoming fast friends (now going on 16 years), the Canadian duo found themselves looking for another new restaurant venture, but somewhere further south with a drastically different terrain. “I’m not sure how we ended up in Sarasota,” quips Zaki’s wife Mila Aguiar, “but we fell in love with the beauty of the city and the kindness of the people.” 

Upon stumbling on the Main Street cornerstone many locals knew and loved as El Greco—one of downtown’s oldest restaurants, having opened in 1989—Zaki, Aguiar and Gosselin decided to take over ownership, keep its Grecian identity but elevate its aesthetic and change its name. With ‘avli’ meaning 'open courtyard' in ancient Greek, and ‘mess hall’ meaning a space where groups of people meet or gather to eat, drink, laugh and socialize, Avli Mess Hall intended to do just that. 

“We love to entertain, so adding a bar was important to us,” shares Aguiar, general manager of Avli. After acquiring a liquor license and renovating the outdated furniture and decor, the space transformed to include a vibrant central bar and sociable seating. Inside now evokes a more casual tavern-like atmosphere, with the coastal warmth often associated with Hellenic culture. The building's revamp also included an exterior paint job of bright oceanic blue—remniscent of the archetypal dome-shaped rooftops found along the Grecian Isle coastlines. 

In the kitchen, the owners showcased their contemporary flare through Avli's rebranded Mediterranean menu of farm-to-table cuisine. “We wanted to bring to Sarasota what we do in Montreal,” says Aguiar. Chef Alexandre Gosselin updated the European cafe concept, but with a modern and more playful take—experimenting with different flavors of traditional ingredients and executing unexpected combinations that are a little risky, a lot of fun and certainly fresh.

All meats and fish are cooked over a burning wood fire, and will often feature a special catch of the day, or a grilled salmon with red pepper gazpacho

With its chef-driven kitchen of locally sourced produce, a boutique wine list, craft beers and even craftier cocktails, Avli Mess Hall aims to create a new namesake and hangout for downtown. After officially opening earlier this month, Zaki hopes to begin bringing the community together—as he did in Montreal for so many yearsto enjoy heartfelt and healthy food in a gathered space with familiar company. “We hope to bring to Main a breath of fresh air and a new experience,” says Aguiar. And maybe get a little messy too.  

Photo of Executive Chef Alexandre and renovated interior shot, courtesy of Avli.

Avli Mess Hall, 1592 Main St., Sarasota, 941-365-2234, @avli_mess_hall.

[Volunteers]  Circus Arts Conservatory Calling for Volunteers

Hundreds of jobs are done by volunteers at The Circus Arts Conservatory. Shows are built and operated. Patrons are seated and parked. Mouths are fed, novelties sold, envelopes stuffed, papers filed, important memories are kept. Parents are actively involved in the growth and futures of their children. Volunteers keep the organization running and allows them to put smiles on tens of thousands of faces every year. For every three Circus Sarasota 2020 shows you volunteer at, you will receive two free tickets! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact volunteer@circusarts.org or go online. 

Click here for info on volunteering.

[Open House]  Local Wedding Venue Plans Open House, Bridal Showcase

Wandering Oaks, a local wedding and event venue, invites the public to attend an open house and venue showcase event held on Saturday, January 11th, 2020, at 12pm. The venue, located at 11325 MJ Road, is a family owned and operated venue on 20 acres in Myakka City, Florida. “We are honored to host our first open house event at our beautiful Wandering Oaks venue in Myakka City and we are excited to welcome brides and their friends,” said LeahAnn Parker, Wandering Oaks owner. “We welcome the public to come visit our venue and enjoy a fun event under our gorgeous wandering oaks.” The event, free to attendees and guests, aims to showcase features and recent upgrades and improvements to the venue, along with showcasing a variety of vendors and companies providing wedding and event services. Attendees will be invited to participate in a raffle with prizes available, including a discounted rate for booking the venue and a “date night” package. 

Wandering Oaks is a family owned and operated wedding and event venue located on a quiet and secluded 20 acres in Myakka City, Florida. Featuring a long, paved entrance, the venue was named for the canopy of oak trees that stretch across the property. The venue, which includes a rustic style pole barn, bridal and groom suites, wooden ceremony benches and Edison lighting, is available for rent for weddings and events. 

[Spring Break]  Sarasota Ski Club Plans Spring Break Trip to Colorado

 Ski Club of Sarasota has announced its annual Spring Break ski trip, this year taking place at Snowmass Ski Resort in Colorado. Scheduled from March 14-21, the trip is open to adults of all ages, as well as families, and was specially designed to coordinate with spring break for Sarasota and Manatee County Schools. Priced at $1,775 per person, double occupancy, the trip includes round trip airfare, ground transportation to and from the resort, seven nights of lodging, a complimentary wine and cheese reception for adults and a special pizza party for kids. Discount lift tickets are also available. Guaranteed reservations for the trip are being offered now through January 10, with space available reservations thereafter.  

Photo courtesy of Ski Club of Sarasota. More trip info here.

[Opening]  Crews Bank & Trust Branch Office Opens in Sarasota

Crew Bank & Trust President Kevin Hagan announced that the bank’s Sarasota office is now open. Located in the heart of the city’s business district at 15 S. Palm Ave., the 2,500- square-foot facility has been completely renovated as a full service branch. The various financial services offered include personal and business banking, complete lending services and Trust and Investment Management. Designed with a modern, open concept, the office features engagement areas to best serve client’s needs. A conference room, safe deposit box room, comfortable waiting areas and a hospitality bar featuring treats for clients and their four-legged friends, provides a pleasant environment. Christine Davis, Vice President and Relationship Manager, a familiar figure in financial and community circles in Sarasota, is leading the team at the new office. With more than 25 years’ experience in retail banking, treasury management and residential lending, Christine has lived in Sarasota for over 20 years and has immersed herself in both the business and nonprofit communities. 

“We’re so excited to be open in this section of downtown Sarasota,” Christine said. “This area of downtown offers the obvious growing business opportunities, as well as great residential and cultural elements. When you think about it, this area of Sarasota has one of the most diverse downtown corridors in the entire state.” Crews Bank & Trust, has been in operation since 1973. It is one of four Florida banks owned by Crews Banking Corporation, a community bank holding company which has been serving Florida communities for over 90 years.  

More info.

[Global Trade]  Florida Chamber of Commerce Applauds Passage of USMCA Trade Agreement

Selling more Florida goods and services around the world is vital to creating jobs, and helping local businesses grow Florida’s economy from the 17th largest in the world to the 10thlargest. Today’s passage of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) will help preserve and strengthen U.S. trade ties to Canada and Mexico –two of Florida's top six countries for Florida-origin exports. “With more than 2.5 million high-wage Florida jobs depending on international trade, the Florida Chamber of Commerce commends the Trump Administration and Congress for reaching a path forward for USMCA. This bipartisan effort will benefit Florida’s agriculture industry, manufacturers and local businesses, and will help grow Florida’s $57 billion exports of goods and $43 billion in exports of services,” said Bob Grammig, Chair, Florida Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Division, and Partner, Holland & Knight. “The Florida Chamber’s International Trade Division will continue fighting to strengthen Florida’s position as a global trade leader and will continue working to ensure Florida’s exports in goods double and exports in services triple by 2030.”  In uniting Florida’s business community for good, the Florida Chamber stood up for local businesses in supporting USMCA in the halls of Congress. 


[SOON]  MUSEUM: Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables , December 8 – March 1

Born and raised in Mexico City, where he spent most of his career, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) was one of the most important figures in 20th century Latin American photography. Although he took art classes at the Academy of San Carlos, his photography was mostly self-taught, but he was savvy to the emerging international artistic avant-garde. Considered to be one of the founders of modern photography, his work extends from the late 1920s to the 1900s. He was a key figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance—in which arts and literature flourished. This “Renaissance” owed to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an authentic national identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role. Support for this exhibition has been provided, in part, by the Ringling Endowment at the Florida State University Foundation. Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues. 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Lights In Bloom , December 14 – January 4, 6pm-9pm

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens lights up the holiday season with Lights In Bloom. Over two million lights will illuminate the gardens and walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through magical gardens filled with beautifully lit flowers, radiant rainforest butterflies, dragonflies and more. The tropical holiday paradise includes nightly visits from Santa (before Christmas Eve), children’s arts and crafts activities and games and special entertainment. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill including a cash bar. The Selby House Cafe will also be open with its full menu. In its 16th year, Lights In Bloom has become a tradition for residents and visitors to celebrate the holiday season in Sarasota.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed , December 15 – April 26

Concealed and Revealed offers a unique selection of paintings by the artist, along with numerous objects from the Solomon Archive on view for the first time. Syd Solomon (American, 1917-2004) described himself as an “Abstract Impressionist” alluding to the fact that his work infused impressionism into the processes, scale and concepts of Abstract Expressionism. Solomon moved to Sarasota in 1946 with his wife Annie. His was the first work of contemporary art to be collected by The Ringling in 1962. His paintings were greatly influenced by climatic factors and reveal a fascination and concern for Florida’s aquatic environment. Solomon incorporated his experience as a camouflage designer during World War II into his painting. It is not well-known that he was also an accomplished graphic artist, who in his early years designed commercial signage for prominent hotels and businesses in Sarasota. Like his work in camouflage, Solomon’s calligraphic skill was essential to the development of his later gestural abstraction.

Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed is presented in partnership with the Estate of Syd Solomon and is accompanied by a 96-page publication with essays by former curator at The Ringling Michael Auping, George S. Bolge, Dr. Gail Levin, and Mike Solomon. The exhibition will include artworks from private collections and The Ringling’s permanent collection.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Peter Max Retrospective: Celebrating the Pop Art Movement, Music and Artistic Vision , December 16 – December 26

A Retrospective collection, with a significant nod to music, the arts and the legacy of the Pop Art genre from the studio of artist legend, Peter Max, will be on exhibition and available for acquisition in a limited engagement presentation at Chasen Galleries, Sarasota’s premier pop art gallery. The exhibition opens with an evening preview event on Thursday, January 16, 2020 from 5-8 pm. The Exhibition extends through Sunday, January 26. Two limited engagement, not-to-be-missed Gallery receptions for the public will take place on Saturday, January 25 from 6 to 8 pm and Sunday, January 26 from 1 to 3 pm. All receptions complimentary and open to the public with RSVPs suggested; 866-900-6699.

Chasen Galleries, 1830 S Osprey Ave suite 102, Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency and Celebration Concert , December 21 – January 4, 5pm

Each season, The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast hosts The Perlman Music Program (PMP) Sarasota Winter Residency. Founded by Toby Perlman, and with a world-renowned faculty led by her husband, internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, PMP augments its seven-week summer school program in Shelter Island each December with a 17-day winter residency, December 21, 2019 - January 4, 2020, in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The residency provides valuable mentoring and performance opportunities for approximately 35 young international string musicians, ages 12-20+, and offers 20+ free and low-cost musical events on the campus of USF Sarasota-Manatee. Each year, the winter residency culminates with the Celebration Concert, January 4, 2020, with Itzhak Perlman conducting the PMP String Orchestra and Patrick Romano leading the PMP Chorus at the Sarasota Opera House.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 34243

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings , December 28, 7pm

The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings is presented as part of a public orchestra rehearsal during the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency. Super Strings promotes the interaction of local young musicians with international students of The Perlman Music Program and world-class faculty. Forty-five string players from across the state of Florida join the PMP String Orchestra on stage, for a special one-time PMP Sarasota Winter Residency event, to perform the 1st Movement of Felix Mendelssohn's String Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major, under the baton of Itzhak Perlman. Tickets $10 at Perlmanmusicprogramsuncoast.org

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 9th Annual New Year's Eve Bayfront Fireworks , December 31 – January 1, 12am

Ring in the New Year at the Sarasota Bayfront Midnight Fireworks Spectacular! See one of the best fireworks displays Southwest Florida has to offer. Make your reservations now by calling Marina Jack at (941) 365-4232. Proceeds benefit Suncoast Charities for Children.

Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALA: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens New Year's Eve Gala , December 31 – January 1, 8pm-1am

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is proud to present Sarasota’s most sophisticated and diversely entertaining New Years Eve experience; a black-tie event featuring a private journey through tropical holiday light displays, passed hors d’oeuvres, a seated four course dinner, special performances by The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company and Trainees from the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory and dancing at Michael’s on the Bay. The countdown to the New Year culminates with a champagne toast and a perfect view of fireworks overlooking Sarasota Bay.  Celebrate the New Year in style.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Starlight & Fire New Year's Eve , December 31, 7-10pm

Holidays at The Point brings fresh new life to our past events, Holly Days and Mangrove Lights. Each day/night will bring you and your family new memories, experiences, and a wonderful new holiday tradition. Ring in the new year at Historic Spanish Point. Fun for the whole family – enjoy lawn games, hula hoop and dance competitions for the kids, s’ mores roasting, holiday treats, cash bar and music. Tickets for each event are $15 for adults, $7 for kids (aged 12 and younger). Tickets for Historic Spanish Point Members are $12 for adults, $5 for kids (aged 12 and younger).

Historic Spanish Point, White Cottage Lawn, 337 N. Tamiami Tr., Osprey, FL 34229

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) , January 7 – March 26, 10:30 am

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is preparing for its 49th year of extremely popular global issues lectures and musical conversations. In 2020, these programs will begin in January and continue through the end of March. Speakers of global issues lectures are well-known, highly experienced experts, and guests on musical conversations are internationally renowned musicians, singers, and performers. SILL is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. In its 49th season, its programs will include 96 lectures and musical conversations presented in Sarasota, Venice, and Lakewood Ranch. SILL audiences mostly consist of highly educated and intellectually curious seniors living on the Suncoast year-round or during winter months. SILL also simulcasts some of its lectures to selected senior communities. Last year, attendance at SILL events exceeded 40,000. Single tickets to SILL events are only $10 at the door when available, and a season ticket for 12 same-day lectures cost just $85, which represents substantial savings. For program schedules, venues, speaker bios, and ordering season tickets visit sillsarasota.org

First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave.

[SOON]  GALA: The Hospital Gala , January 11, 6pm-11pm

The Hospital Gala has raised more than $2.2 million to benefit Sarasota Memorial Hospital ER/Trauma Services and Cardiac Services. This year, proceeds will support Cancer Services to help the SMH cancer care team deliver the best life-saving care for you, your loved ones and those in our community.

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SWAC Lecture: Jamal Abdi , January 14, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for the next program in its 2019-20 Lecture Series, “The Politics of Hate Have Driven the U.S. and Iran to the Brink,” featuring Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council. Mr. Abdi will describe the background and mission of the Iranian-American Council, as well as provide an update on the current Iranian-American relationship and international efforts to establish prospects for peace in the region. Each SWAC lecture is followed by a members-only reception with the speaker in a historic building on Sarasota Bay. The lecture is free, but reservations are suggested.

Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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