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SRQ DAILY Aug 16, 2022

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"Boards are evolving and often need support to fully understand and embrace both their legal responsibilities and the importance of creating a board that is representative of the community the nonprofit serves."

- Tracy Vanderneck, President, Phil-Com.

[The Dish]  In Local Late-Night Dining, Kojo is King
Kevin Allen, kevin.allen@srqme.com

It’s no secret that Sarasota’s late-night dining choices have been traditionally … sparse. That’s started to change in recent years, and we owe Kojo, along with a few others, thanks for that.

I love Kojo for many reasons: its friendly, knowledgeable staff; its wood-accented, calming interior; its clever cocktail menu, to name a few. But what I truly look forward to with every visit to Kojo is its menu versatility.

There’s menu versatility like the Cheesecake Factory offers — a mind blowing volume of choices that requires a kitchen roughly the size of an airplane hangar. And then there’s the versatility that Kojo offers: no matter how hungry you are or the inspiration that brought you to try it’s Pam-Asian delicacies and standards, Kojo has the perfect menu combination for you.

Such was the case on a recent Saturday following a show that my friends and I had just performed at Florida Studio Theatre. I was admittedly sheepish as we walked up around 11 p.m. (Kojo lists its Friday and Saturday hours from 4 - 12 p.m.) As a former bartender and server, I’m sensitive to the feeling of being ready to call it a night only to have a group roll up just as I’m looking to cash out. That wasn’t the case here. We were warmly welcomed, and our server was more than happy to offer helpful suggestions to a couple of the first-timers in our group.

So versatile is Kojo’s menu that I often find myself suffering FOMO for the dishes I won’t be ordering.

I know that I can’t go wrong with any of the bao buns that Kojo offers, but the pork belly is always a standout. The generous portions of chashu-braised pork belly are topped with roasted peanuts, fresh jalapeño slices, and sprigs of cilantro. It’s the rock sugar, though, that pulls the flavors together for something truly special. And the bao buns themselves? Pillowy, yet firm — the perfect complement to hold it together until the last bite.

No trip to Kojo for me is complete without the miso soup. So often at Japanese restaurants, the miso soup is a bland facsimile — watery and disappointing. At Kojo, the broth is rich and smoky, the chunks of shiitake are big and earthy, the green onions are always brightly flavorful and the strips of wakame lend a pleasing texture and flavor kick. It makes for a spectacular, balanced soup that is unlike that of any Kojo competitor. If they put this much effort into a $5 starter, you can imagine the care they put into their sushi dishes and entrees.

In my younger years as a food writer, I would judge a city’s dining scene by its late-night sushi options. It was naive, as I’ve grown to learn that a city’s dining scene does not need a spectacular late-night sushi option to be great … but it sure helps.

Kojo, 1289 N Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236, 941-536-9717. 

Pictured: The chashu braised pork belly bao buns at Kojo offer an elevated late-night snacking experience that is flavorful without being overly filling. Photo by: Kevin Allen

For full menu click here

[Animal Welfare]  Cats Seeking Employment

As an animal welfare organization that prides itself on increasing our lifesaving capabilities, we recently launched our Working Cat Program. We are redefining what is considered a "home" for cats in our community. The state of Florida has been tracking shelter intake and outcome data for years, and we know from that data that the majority of cats that end up in animal shelters are coming from outdoor-only situations. They were either outdoor-only cats, or they came from a feral cat colony. Adoption opportunities are limited for a cat that has spent its entire life outdoors and has not been socialized. We've learned that there are other ways to give these types of cats a chance. Rather than try to force cats to live in an environment that is stressful to them, we are giving them a chance to be productive in an outdoor setting while still being cared for. This is a crucial step to increase the save rate for outdoor cats that end up in shelters across the country. For some cats, a good home is a safe outdoor property where they have a caregiver who provides for their daily food and water but doesn't expect them to be their best friends in a traditional home environment. This past week we had our first successful Working Cat adoptions! Bridget and Max were both long-termers at the shelter who had handling sensitivities that would've severely limited their adoption options. They were given the chance to have a home where they are cared for while giving them the freedom they have always been accustomed to. We are proud to offer this progressive adoption program for cats in our community! If you would like to learn more about our working cat program, please visit our Working Cat adoption page. 

[Support]  MarineMax Service Team Builds Bikes for Children

The MarineMax service team while attending their National Service Managers meeting collaborated and worked as a team to build bikes for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Seven deserving families in the community received the finished bikes. The National Service Managers meeting is an annual meeting for service managers to come together as a team to discuss company initiatives, collaborate, and work together for a good cause. This year there were about 70 managers in attendance. This year they worked together on coming up with goals for the upcoming year on their new initiative Labor Growth Plan tool that will be implemented at each store. They choose to build bikes for DCF this year thanks to the Innisbrook Resort, which helped accommodate the event. The entire group was split into seven teams to see who could build their bike the fastest. Each team had to answer certain service questions correctly before they were given the proper tools to build their bikes. Once finishing a speaker from DCF spoke to the group about the program and described the local families that will receive the bikes. DCF is a department in the local community that helps to protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advance personal and family recovery. MarineMax is proud to support the community in any way they can to help the team remember to stand true to their core values every day.


To learn more, visit

[New opening]  Shining Massage & Facial Clinic Reopening with Renovations and New Staff

Shining Massage & Facial Clinic reopening after completing a 1-week store renovation and hiring new staff aimed at elevating the customer experience. The difference customers might notice first is the overall bright, inviting feel of the reception area. New desk, new flooring and new plant decorations designed to welcome guests with its fresh look. Additionally, the walls of each room are now extended to the ceilings, which makes each room more private and quieter. Each room is also equipped with a towel and hot stone warmer, which helps the therapists deliver even more smooth and exceptional services. New massage beds and super soft and cozy blankets also make guests feel at home. New staff are also in place at Shining Massage & Facial Clinic. Licensed massage therapists Melody Mo and Suzy Johnston who have over 10 years of massage experience have recently joined the team. With their extensive background and expertise, friendly and helpful attitude, they will certainly create an excellent experience for all customers. If you don't know what type of massage you like, they will help design specific sessions based on your individual needs.

Shining Massage & Facial Clinic, 3900 Clark Rd, STE C2, Sarasota, 941-877-6688. 

To learn more, visit

[Recognition]  Tracy Vanderneck Earns Nonprofit Board Consulting Certificate

Bradenton-based consultant, Tracy Vanderneck, President of Phil-Com, earns the Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource. Vanderneck works with nonprofit organizations around the globe to improve both fundraising practices and the effectiveness of their Boards of Directors. She helps nonprofits Do Good The Right Way™.

"I am thrilled to add BoardSource, and the cohort of professionals I earned the certificate alongside, to the wellspring of resources I use to bring the highest possible value to the nonprofit organizations with which I work," said Vanderneck. "Boards are evolving and often need support to fully understand and embrace both their legal responsibilities and the importance of creating a board that is representative of the community the nonprofit serves." For more information on Tracy's nonprofit experience and Phil-Com's services, visit www.phil-com.com. For more information on BoardSource, visit https://boardsource.org/. 

[Food Drive]  Air and Energy Pet Food Drive to Benefit Humane Society of Manatee County

Air & Energy is organizing a pet food drive to benefit Humane Society of Manatee County’s pet food pantry, a community resource that supplies pet food for people who struggle to afford it. This service helps cats and dogs stay in the homes that love them when families experience financial hardship. Donations of sealed cat and dog food can be made to any of the drop-off locations below. If Air & Energy is headed to your home for a service, your technician will pick up your pet food donation. The deadline for donations is August 31st. Drop-off locations include Air & Energy 555 6th Ave. W. in Bradenton, Humane Society of Manatee County 2515 14th St. W. in Bradenton, Manatee Community Foundation 2820 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton, Manatee Chamber of Commerce 4215 Concept Court in Lakewood Ranch, and The Center of Anna Maria Island 407 Magnolia Ave. in Anna Maria. For more information please call Air & Energy (941) 778–0773. 


[Veterans]  Southwest Florida Honor Flight Golf Tournament

Southwest Florida Honor Flight presents their Fall Golf Tournament on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at Deep Creek Golf Course, 1260 San Cristobal Avenue, Punta Gorda, FL. Registration begins at 7:30 am with “Honoring our Heroes” followed by a Continental breakfast at 8 am and tee-times at 8:30 am. Individual registration is now open. $90 per person or $360 for a team of 4. Registration fees include golf, continental breakfast, lunch and 2 drink tickets. Details and registration is available by visiting: www.swflhonorflight.org or emailing swflhonorflight@gmail.com. Many prizes - including a hole-in-one car donated by Norm Reeves Superstore of Port Charlotte. Business and hole sponsorships are also available at various levels. All proceeds from the golf tournament are used to transport Veterans to Washington DC in an upcoming flight. Our funding is completely from donations from individuals and businesses along with local, grassroots fundraising efforts. Know a Veteran who would like to be on an upcoming flight? We are currently accepting applications for Veterans. Applications must be submitted either online or by mail to be considered for an upcoming flight. Seats are filled on a first come, first served basis. Top priority is given to our WWII and Korean Veterans and those with health conditions that may not allow them the ability to go on a future flight. Veterans from all era are welcome to apply. Volunteers needed. Each mission cannot operate without volunteers. From being a Guardian, orientation, send off, mail call, day-of logistics and welcome home - we need you! Please email us at swflhonorflight@gmail.com to see how you can help! Applications for Veterans and Guardians are available on our website or by emailing: swflhonorflight@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook by searching Southwest Florida Honor Flight. Monetary donations can be sent to: SWFL Honor Flight, PO Box 495065, Port Charlotte, FL 33949. For more information, visit www.swflhonorflight.org or contact Naomi Copeland, President, Southwest Florida Honor Flight at 563.723.1503 or swflhonorflight@gmail.com. 

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Amore Restaurant Extends Savor Sarasota Promotion to December , June 1 – December 18

Amore Restaurant has decided to extend Savor Sarasota Menu through December 18th (not combined with any other offer and, not available on special occasions). Savor Sarasota is a 3 course menu dinner for $35.00 per person. The restaurant offers a Portuguese and an Italian menu. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9PM. Fridays and Sundays 5 to 9:30pm. With indoor and outdoor seating available. Easy and free parking. Menu can be viewed here:https://www.amorelbk.com/savor-sarasota/

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bar Bingo at Geckos on Hillview Street , August 1 – August 29, 7:30 pm

Join Geckos in Southside Village every Monday at 7:30 pm for Bar B-I-N-G-O! Free to play. Sponsored by various local craft breweries and distilleries with prizes galore from our sponsors and Gecko’s. We’ll play between 5-7 rounds of Bingo each week and a special chit will be given out each Monday to be collected by attendees. Every four weeks the final round of Bingo for the night will be a grand prize round and the collected chits will be used to exchange for bingo cards for a grand prize round; this month on 8/29. The more Mondays that a guest plays, the more bingo cards that they will have to play for the grand prize. August Bingo is sponsored by Sierra Nevada Brewery and Nolets Finest Gins. wwwgeckosgrill.com

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: To Rum or Not To Rum: That is Not Even a Question , August 31, 5-6 pm

Hamlets Eatery and Siesta Key Rum have come together to create a fun and delicious experience on Wednesday, August 31 from 5-8 pm. Chef Lisa of Hamlet's Eatery will tantalize your taste buds with a five-course tasting menu paired with Siesta Key Rum craft cocktails. Between dishes Chef Lisa and Nicole of Siesta Key Rum will guide you through the pairings. Live Steel Drum music by Nax Steel throughout the evening. Timeline: 5-6 pm Enjoy Siesta Key Rum Tasting, a craft cocktail and live steel drum music; 6pm: Dinner; 8pm: Take your full and happy belly home. Hamlets Eatery is located at 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. The event will be outside under a covered patio with fans. Casual attire. Must be 21+ years of age. Tickets are $80 per person and must be purchased in advance. Non-refundable. Purchase tickets here: https://bit.ly/ToRumOrNotToRum For more information call 941-445-1938. Cheers!

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Forty Carrots Family Center 20th Annual Free Virtual Community Speaker Event , September 21, 7:00 pm

Registration is open for Forty Carrots Family Center’s 20th annual free educational community speaker event Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine, presented in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The virtual presentation will feature educational psychologist and best-selling author Michele Borba, Ed.D. at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21st. The event is free and advance registration is required. Michele Borba’s latest book, Thrivers, is a sharply insightful, science-backed guide that helps parents and educators teach the essential character traits kids need to become “thrivers” – young people who flourish in rapidly changing, digitally-driven and uncertain world. Borba will identify seven teachable strengths that will safeguard kids for the future, offering practical “how-to” strategies and ideas for everyday activities that build up kids’ strength, resilience, happiness, and success. Certificates of Attendance and CEU’s will be available. The previous 19 speaker events have reached nearly 14,000 parents, professionals, and educators in our area. To register for this free virtual community event visit www.fortycarrots.org, email events@fortycarrots.com or call (941) 365-7716. RSVP is required and registration is open at www.FortyCarrots.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Little Shop of Horrors , October 6 – October 16, Varied

Join The Players in their 93rd Season with Six That Matter – shows that explore finding purpose, the universal desire to live a life that matters, to fully appreciate aspiration. Be it finding true love, sacrificing it all, a life of devotion, cultivating artistry, finding fame, each of these unforgettable shows- important in their own genres, are celebrations of greatness, of striving for more, that will make memories, sparking feelings of joy- of what being alive fully means. Little Shop of Horror will feed the need for musical hilarity with this delicious sci-fi smash about a man who seeks fame at the cost of his morals with the help of a man-eating plant. A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, this musical has devoured the hearts of theatregoers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world. October 6-16, 2022. For tickets visit theplayers.org, Ph. 941-365-2494, email BoxOffice@ThePlayers.org

The Players Centre For Performing Arts, Performance Venue & Box Office The Crossings at Siesta Key 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130 Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  DANCE: HOT Salsa Party with Los Hacheros , October 22, 7:30pm & 8:00pm

Brooklyn’s Los Hacheros light up a full Gulf Coast evening of dance and celebration in the Museum of Art Courtyard. Their sound is irresistible and authentic with plenty of fiery, Puerto Rican Bomba. A band of only 7 musicians, Los Hacheros can sound like a conjunto of 12. Admission includes an introductory Salsa dance lesson with Kery and Dario of DK Dance and pre and post show dance music with Miami’s DJ Le Spam. Food and beverages available for purchase. General admission $35 VIP admission $100 Tickets are limited. Oct 22 7:30pm and Oct 22 8:00pm. For more info Ph. 941-359-5700,  Located in the Museum of Art Courtyard, www.ringling.org

The Ringling , 5401 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  SPORTS: WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup , September 9 – September 18

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and host USA Baseball revealed the new dates for the next WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, with the 30th edition of the youth world championship to take place from 9 to 18 September 2022 in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida. The elite international tournament will be played at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium and Bradenton’s LECOM Park, the respective Spring Training homes of the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). The XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will include 12 national teams, whose rosters will feature the best youth players in their respective countries.

Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: God's Country , September 9 – September 25, Varied

God's Country by Steven Dietz. A riveting, highly theatrical docudrama about those dedicated to revolution against the U.S. government and the expulsion from "God's Country" of non-Aryans. Three narrative spines are skillfully interwoven in this thought-provoking, unsettling, and challenging fare that examines America’s dark soul, and asks, “What can/should we do about it?” * Includes violent and graphic images, adult language and heavy adult themes. Audience discretion advised. September 9th-25th, 2022. For more information visit venicetheatre.org, Ph. 941.488.1115, email info@venicetheatre.net

Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W Venice, FL 34285 (The Box Office is currently closed for walk-up business)

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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