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SRQ DAILY Jan 9, 2024

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"We wanted people who do not have the opportunity to go to Le Mans, France, to be able to step into a different place and time."

- Matthew Buchanan, President of the Buchanan Automotive Group

[The Dish]  Le Mans Kitchen at Sarasota Ford Redefines Fine Dining
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

Get fueled up on your next visit to Sarasota Ford. Last December, this car dealership unveiled Le Mans Kitchen, a unique dining experience for their customers. The team behind Le Mans Kitchen includes Matthew Buchanan, the president of the Buchanan Automotive Group, Mirza Velic, Sarasota Ford’s chief experience officer, Blake Campbell, the restaurant manager, Tommy Klauber, a restaurant consultant and chefs Jose Martinez and Joel Casillas.

With a movie theater and relaxation room, Sarasota Ford is actively redefining what it means to be a car dealership by creating a space where customers can enjoy themselves. At the same time, they receive excellent service on their vehicle. The dealership’s team was searching for a way to thank their customers, eventually landing on the idea of a fine dining experience with a twist. Drawing on inspiration from the French influence on the culinary world, the team realized that they could connect French cuisine with Ford through the lens of the 24-hour-long Le Mans race. In 1966, Ford faced the challenge of building a car that could beat a Ferrari in Le Mans.

“It really was a miracle. They never could win anything before, and then they just go out and win first, second and third place in the race,” says Buchanan. “It made Ford a racing icon, they got heavily into Mustangs and everything else and it put them on the map. We thought with all that racing history, us doing a lot of Mustang sales and our Ford GT in the showroom, we thought ‘Why not turn this place into that world?’ We wanted people who don’t have the opportunity to go to Le Mans, France, to be able to step into a different place and time.”

Entering the restaurant space, it’s easy to forget that you’re at a car dealership. Wood accents and blue and white tile floors give the space a European flair, and the painted dishes that adorn the walls evoke the peaceful French countryside. Guests will find subtle nods to racing, like a checker-patterned floor, throughout the dining areas and the even menu. For a quick bite, customers can grab a coffee and the signature tire-shaped croissant, filled with peanut butter pastry cream in-house and baked by the beloved Rendez-Vous French Bakery. From the morning menu, guests can choose from delectable dishes like the souffle pancake with fresh berries, whipped creme fraiche and lemon honey drizzle. The mid-day menu offers playful versions of classic dishes, like the Caesar salad, with half a romain heart filled with layers of blackened chicken, topped with dressing and lightly broiled. A thin crouton tops the inventive dish, and the warm dressing contrasts beautifully with the crisp and cool lettuce, giving a fun spin to an icon. The restaurant also offers delicious mocktails that further enhance the dining experience. The menu is constantly evolving, and customers can look forward to new items during future visits.

While only Sarasota Ford customers can dine at Le Mans Kitchen, anyone can get service on their car to qualify as a customer and receive a voucher for the restaurant. “We want people to truly love coming in for service,” adds Buchanan, “and we are trying to completely redefine customer service.”

Le Mans Kitchen at Sarasota Ford, 707 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, 941-366-3673, lemanskitchen.com. 

The souffle pancake with fresh berries, whipped creme fraiche and lemon honey drizzle. Photo Courtesy of Le Mans Kitchen.

Le Mans Kitchen

[The Dish]  JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe Now Open on Sundays 12-6 pm

Due to popular demand, JR’S is now open on Sundays with a relaxed Funday menu. The new Sunday menu offers some of OPC’s favorites like their award-winning wings, BBq pork sandwiches, pork nachos, and an awesome Miami pork philly. Enjoy the new juicy Smash burger served single, double, or triple topped with American with fries and coleslaw just to name a few. The menu also offers fried queso chicken sandwich with fries and slaw, shrimp po boy with fries and slaw, fresh roast pork loin, mojo spiced, gently shredded and served with grilled onions, black beans, rice, and garlic toast. The award-winning Cuban sandwich and a Fisherman’s platter with fried basa, fried shrimp, and fried clam strips served with fries and coleslaw.

JR’S Old Packinghouse Café is located at 987 South Packinghouse Rd. in Sarasota, 941-371-9358. 

[The Dish]  The Big Game at Gecko's

February 11 Join Gecko’s Grill & Pubs, your #BestSportsBar for the Big Game and the most super seat outside of Nevada! Seating is limited so reserve today with a $25 per person deposit. Reserved guests will receive a $25 GC to use on Big Game day (must be present 15 minutes before kick-off). Lots of Giveaways | Gecko’s special football menu & new cocktail menu | Small batch spirits + our usual huge variety of craft beer & award-winning Happy Hours and Hospitality! Ask your friendly server or barkeep for more details and reserve today! www.GeckosGrill.com 

[The Dish]  Not Your Typical Trivia Night

Trivia is back at Hamlet’s Eatery in 2024 with a twist! Not Your Typical Trivia with co-hosts Mark Klecka and Scott Malouf of Sarasota Street Talk Podcast starts Wednesday, Jan 10. These two will not only test your knowledge but keep you entertained throughout the night. Weekly prizes for 1st, 2nd & LAST Place (because losing should still be fun)! And there will be surprises throughout the night. You can also join the cool kids club and win prizes just for coming each week! Doors open at 5:45 for dinner. Trivia starts at 6:30pm and will end at 8pm. Reserve a table for your team by calling 941-445-1938. Hamlet’s is located in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime. 821 Apricot Ave. Seating is outdoors under a covered patio. For more info Visit www.Hamletseatery.com. 

[The Dish]  Introducing Chef Kyia Kline, A Culinary Artist to Hamlet's Eatery

We are thrilled to introduce the newest addition to Hamlet's Eatery - the incredibly talented Chef Kyia Kline!  With a deep-rooted passion for cooking, Chef Kyia brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise. Her interest started at a young age as her mother was a culinary arts instructor. Hailing from Pittsburg, PA she is thrilled to be in a warmer climate. Chef Kyia's talents include more than cooking! She is also an accomplished artist, making her the perfect fit for the vibrant and eclectic Bazaar crowd that frequents our eatery. Hamlet’s Eatery will continue to offer traditional menu items as well as vegan items - hence the tagline, “to meat or not to meat”. They are open Wednesday 6-8pm (with trivia), every Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11-3pm and some Friday & Saturday nights for special events. Hamlet’s Eatery is located in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime at 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. For more information visit www.Hamletseatery.com. 

[The Dish]  Mote and Big Top's NEW Beer is Now Available for Purchase

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is thrilled to announce a partnership, or colla-beer-ation, with Big Top Brewing, with the official launch of Finhead Lager, a light beer with a big purpose. Proceeds from every sip benefit Mote and its mission to create a better environment for ourselves and our children through innovative science and education. Finhead Lager features clean, crisp and refreshing flavors with a touch of ocean mist brewed with high-quality ingredients, including corn and saaz hops. It's perfect for a sunny afternoon on the water, whether you’re conducting world-class marine research or simply enjoying the boat life. This beer is also ideal for those days spent lounging on the beach catching some rays. (4.2% ABV). The can art features sharks on its label to honor where Mote began—as a one room shark research and conservation laboratory in a small Florida town in 1955 with the famous founding "Shark Lady," Dr. Eugenie (Genie) Clark. Today, Mote continues to advance shark conservation with leading scientific research. Sharks continue to play an important role in ocean ecosystems by regulating populations of their prey species and serving as indicators of ocean health. However, due to overfishing and environmental impacts, many shark species are threatened or endangered. As the only Center for Shark Research designated by the U.S. Congress., Mote continues to spearhead innovative solutions to save these amazing animals. Thanks to Genie, and many other scientists who carried our mission forward, Mote is now a global marine science powerhouse with more than 25 diverse marine research programs. Mote is one of the world’s few remaining independent marine research laboratories, and as a nonprofit organization, Mote is funded through federal, state and local grants and through the generosity of individual donors and foundations. Over decades since Mote was created, the world has learned many things about its oceans. One lesson has remained constant: There is still much to discover. Finhead Lager can be found at Big Top Brewing locations in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, in Mote’s Deep Sea Diner, select Total Wine locations, and other locations where Gold Coast Eagle Distributing delivers! 

For more information click here

[Event ]  Tickets on Sale Now for Family Promise of South Sarasota County's Mardi Gras Celebration

Family Promise of South Sarasota County, an organization that aims to alleviate homelessness for families, is excited to announce a new, exciting Mardi Gras celebration aimed at raising program funds. This event promises to bring the community together for a festive occasion while making a meaningful impact on the lives of families experiencing a housing crisis. Join us for an unforgettable evening filled with the spirit of Mardi Gras, complete with lively music, colorful costumes, and delicious cuisine.

Mardi Gras: A Community Celebration, February 10, 2024, from 2 PM to 6 PM, 648 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL – Shuck N’ Ale parking lot. 

For more information click here

[Gala]  The Venice Symphony's Venetian Nights Gala

On Friday, January 5th, The Venice Symphony, South Sarasota County’s leading world-class symphony that has enriched the cultural life of residents and visitors since 1974, hosted its Venetian Nights Gala to commemorate its 50th anniversary year in the community. Guests were transported across the globe and immersed in the enchanting ambiance of  Venice, Italy with captivating visuals, including moving statues, art, live performances, and much more. Some highlights from the 2024 Venetian Nights Gala include:  American Idol vocalist Jay Camaro brought the house down with members of The Venice Symphony’s Jazz Orchestra: Speeches by The Venice Symphony’s CEO Christine Kasten and Board Chair Barbara Jackson occurred: Local dignitaries in attendance included Venice City Mayor Nick Pachota, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce President Heather Kasten, Gulf Coast Community Foundation leadership, among others; Over $130,000 was raised during the event, which will support the Symphony; Tim Ferguson, Director of Education for The Venice Symphony, was the event’s spirited auctioneer.  

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Geckos Grill and Pubs Trivia , July 1 – June 1, 7:30 pm

Geckos Grill & Pub’s Award-winning Trivia-Think While You Drink! If you love Trivia, join the fun at Geckos all year round. All Trivia starts at 7:30pm. We will have prizes, giveaways and specials plus the Geckos made-to-order fare, signature cocktails and hospitality you love. Monday trivia will be held at the Clark Road location in Palmer Crossing and on Tuesdays at the SR 64 location in Braden River Plaza. The SR 64 location will be taking a break from Trivia in October, but will start back up in April. On Wednesdays, trivia will take place at the Hillview Street location in Southside Village. www.GeckosGrill.com.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Siesta Key Rum Distillery Tours , September 2 – September 30, Various times

Siesta Key Rum runs free year-round tours for guests to learn the story of the craft distillery, the awards they have won and the secret to how they make their rums taste so good. During our 30-45 minute tour we will discuss the following topics: history of Siesta Key Rum, an overview of the awards our small company has won, what makes our rums taste so good, the rum-making process from mashing and fermentation to distillation, barrel aging and bottling of our rums. After the tour, we welcome you to sample a freshly made Siesta Key Rum cocktail, stock up on your favorite rums and browse our gift shop. 2212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch , September 3 – September 30, 10am-2pm

Experience some of the best food and flavors of the region with more than 100, and still growing, curated vendors. The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch has fast become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, delicious prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Aside from all the goodies you can shop at the Farmers Market, find your flow in a free yoga class or have the kiddos get creative during weekly-hosted workshops. 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bradenton Market Returns , October 7 – May 25, 9am-2pm

Realize Bradenton is happy to announce the return of the Bradenton Market to its weekly schedule. This beloved community gathering will be held Saturdays through May 25, 2024 from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm on Old Main Street in Bradenton. Founded in 1979, the Market has expanded to include more than 90 local vendors. In addition to the weekly shopping and music, the Market hosts special event days throughout the season. Halloween at the Market will be held on Saturday, October 28. This family-friendly event includes trick or treating with vendors, face painting with Manatee School for the Arts Academic Team from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, and a dance performance by Slick Motion Studios at 10:00 am. For more information, visit RealizeBradenton.com.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Coffee with a Scientist , December 12 – March 26, 10am

Join us for our Coffee With A Scientist series, a free public event held on Tuesdays in Boca Grande and hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory. Hear from Mote scientists on January 16, February 13 and March 26 as they share with you the latest in their groundbreaking research and their plans for the future with a Q and A session to follow. On Visit mote.org/pages/coffee to sign up and for more information.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Not Your Typical Trivia Night , January 10 – June 12, 6:30-8pm
Trivia is back at Hamlets Eatery in 2024 with a twist. Not Your Typical Trivia with co-hosts Mark Klecka and Scott Malouf of Sarasota Street Talk Podcast starts Wednesday, Jan 10. These two will not only test your knowledge but keep you entertained throughout the night. There will be Weekly prizes for 1st, 2nd and Place and surprises throughout the night. You can also join the cool kids club and win prizes just for coming each week. Doors open at 5:45 for dinner. Trivia starts at 6:30pm and will end at 8pm. Reserve a table for your team by calling 941-445-1938. Hamlets is located in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime. 821 Apricot Ave. Seating is outdoors under a covered patio. For more info visit www.Hamletseatery.com.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Under the Sea ALSO Youth Annual Prom , February 3, 6-10pm
The ALSO Youth Annual Prom is the most highly anticipated event for our LGBTQ youth each year. Youth from Sarasota County, Manatee County and beyond attend this unique celebration where they are free to come as they are, with whoever they wish, without fear of judgment or needing to mask who they are. We anticipate between 250-300 youth sending their RSVP to attend the ALSO Youth Prom on Saturday, February 3, 2024. Attendees will enjoy fun music, dancing, games, themed crafts, an awesome photo booth, and so much more. alsoyouth.org
[SOON]  GALA: Celebrate 75 Gala and Concert , February 15, 6pm
Celebrate 75 years of inspiring music all season long, and our Celebrate 75 special concert and gala experience will be the party to top them all. We invite you to support 75 more years, and beyond, of enriching lives through music by purchasing tickets to Celebrate 75. For access to the best seats and the full celebration, opt for a Gala ticket, which includes pre-concert cocktails and a gourmet dinner after the performance. Concert-only tickets are also available for purchase. The concert program, led by Creative Partner Peter Oundjian, captures all the euphoria of reaching this milestone in our history as Florida’s oldest continuously operating orchestra. After two stirring fanfares written by Aaron Copland and Joan Tower, legendary pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins Sarasota Orchestra for the monumental Piano Concerto No. 3 by Rachmaninoff. Paired with An American in Paris by Gershwin, a rhapsodic portrait of a stroll through the City of Lights, this one-night-only program promises to thrill. Gala begins at 6:00 pm, and concert begins at 7:00 pm. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, sarasotaorchestra.org.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Van Wezel Presents The Concert, A Tribute to ABBA , May 4, 8pm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome The Concert, A Tribute to ABBA to Sarasota on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 8 p.m. The Concert: A Tribute To ABBA continues to be the top ABBA tribute group in the world, dazzling all who see with their fantastic performance while playing the most iconic hits from ABBA, including Mamma Mia, S.O.S, Money, Money, Money, The Winner Takes All, Waterloo, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, and Dancing Queen. Tickets are $30-$75 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattisons at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Wild About Nature Festival , April 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Join us for a day of fun and outdoor adventure at the Wild About Nature Festival on Saturday, April 6, 2024 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Reconnect with the great outdoors and help foster a love of nature in the next generation as you spend a day in the sun on the beautiful shores of Little Sarasota Bay at Bay Preserve. Families of all ages are encouraged to take part in this fun-filled day of nature-based education and exploration. The wide variety of activities includes dip-netting, face painting, hula-hoop lessons, crafts, games, and more. There will be live music and food trucks making this a guaranteed good time. This is a FREE family festival open to all. Registration is not required. The event will take place at our Bay Preserve headquarters located at 400 Palmetto Ave. in Osprey. For more information, visit conservationfoundation.com.
[SOON]  GALLERY: Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens , November 11 – August 31, N/a

Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens will be on view through August 31, 2024 at the Historic Spanish Point campus. Selby Gardens is excited to present the extraordinary imagery of photographer and conservationist Clyde Butcher throughout the grounds of the Historic Spanish Point campus. Large-scale prints on aluminum of Butcher’s beautiful photographs of plants, animals, and habitats of Florida will be exhibited amid the natural landscape of the 30-acre waterfront preserve, enabling the public to engage with the artist’s work like never before. In the tradition of earlier landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, Butcher captures the beauty and majesty of America’s natural treasures in dramatic black and white. The unique environments of Florida have been subjects of particular interest to Butcher since the 1980s, when he was first introduced to the magic and mystery of sites such as Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. Nature Through the Lens will include Butcher’s photographs of regional locales such as Myakka River State Park and Casey Key. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Clyde Butcher Gallery & Studio in Venice, Florida. For more information, visit selby.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Late Night Happy Hour at Geckos on Hillview Street , November 29 – May 31, 10pm-Midnight
Join your friends, after-work buddies and the team at Geckos for our new Late Night Happy Hours. Every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to Midnight, we will offer food, wine, cocktails and beer specials sure to prolong your weekend fun. Join us and ask your friendly barkeep or server about our Late Night Happy Hours. ONLY at Geckos on Hillview Street in Southside Village. GeckosGrill.com.
[SOON]  MUSEUM: Shinique Smith, Parade , January 4 – January 5, Various times

Enjoy the extraordinary opportunity to experience the work of contemporary artist Shinique Smith in conversation with the collection of European art at The Ringling. Unfolding across six galleries of the Museum of Art, the exhibition creates a series of unique stories that together form an abstract narrative of the parade as a metaphor for life. Well known for her monumental sculptures created from an array of materials, including luxurious textiles, personal clothing, dyed fabrics, ribbon, and wood, and for her abstract paintings of calligraphy and collage, Smiths work in this exhibition speaks to various facets of the European artistic tradition, such as classical drapery and religious iconography, while foregrounding notions of Black femininity and the history of the circus. Learn more at ringling.org.

[SOON]  GALLERY: ChromaShock, A Modern and Vibrant Exploration , January 4 – January 31, Various times
MARA Art Studio and Gallery presents ChromaShock: A Modern and Vibrant Exploration, an exhibition of work by 13 artists that pushes the boundaries of chromatic expression, inviting viewers into a mesmerizing world of vivid hues and dynamic compositions. The exhibit runs January 4-31, with an opening reception on Friday, January 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The exhibit features work by Laura Arteaga Charlton, Ralph Berger, Bill Buchman, Lori Childers, David Erdman, Christina Jensen Vicente, Midge Johnson, Pamela Olin, Julia Rivera, Ashley Rivers, Jack Shapiro, Javi Suarez and Mara Torres Gonzalez. The gallery is located at 76 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. MaraStudioGallery.com.
[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica , January 6 – January 21, Various times
Natural wonders of the tropical rainforest as depicted on the handcrafted masks of the Indigenous artists of Boruca, Costa Rica will be on view in the Museum of Botany and the Arts from January 6-21, 2024. The cultural practice of mask-making honors the heritage of the Borucan people and reflects the strong connection they maintain with their beautiful natural environment. This exhibition will highlight the history and tradition of Borucan mask-making, as well as celebrate the 20th anniversary of displaying masks at Selby Gardens. Since it was first launched in 2004, this popular annual event at Selby Gardens has brought the beauty of a unique art form to a wider audience, while also empowering the artists to earn income from mask sales that help support their village and their growing conservation efforts. Proceeds from mask sales support the Borucan village and also benefit Selby Gardens education, research, horticulture, and scientific work. Learn more and purchase tickets at selby.org.

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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