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SRQ DAILY Feb 20, 2024

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

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Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"It provides a nice, comfortable atmosphere where you can enjoy fun and creative food at an approachable cost point."

- Dan Henson Jr., Owner of Arts and Central

[The Dish]  Arts and Central Adds a Creative Flair to the Rosemary District
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

The Rosemary District in Sarasota is experiencing a renaissance, as exciting new businesses move into the area. A new development, called Parkside, on the corner of Central Avenue and Boulevard of the Arts, is bringing several restaurants to the community, including Arts and Central. This 200-seat establishment, where patrons can enjoy an inventive meal in a tranquil indoor or outdoor setting, officially opened yesterday.

Arts and Central is the brainchild of father and son team Dan Henson and Dan Henson Jr. The Henson family has lived around the world, from the United States to Mexico to the United Kingdom. During their travels, they developed an affinity for unique cuisine and toyed with the idea of opening their own eatery. “This was our hot tub conversation for a long time, and we would always come back to ‘We should open a restaurant,’” says Dan Jr. “We fell in love with the vibe of restaurants like this. During COVID, my parents bought an RV, did a cross-country trip and ended up in Sonoma. This kind of restaurant thrives there, where it’s an elevated experience, elevated food and not stuffy. It provides a nice, comfortable atmosphere where you can enjoy fun and creative food at an approachable cost point.” For Arts and Central, the Hensons partnered with Executive Chef Erik Walker, a former engineer who decided to go to culinary school and has since gone on to work at major restaurants across the country.

“We’re really big on supporting the local arts scene, so all the paintings and prints you see are by local artists,” says Dan. “Every lunch menu has poetry by Sarasota-based poets, and every dinner menu has full-colored paintings by local artists. Dan Jr. will host a reception once a month with that month’s artist. It will be open to the public with free wine and hors d'oeuvres where people can meet the artists and get to know them.” On the flip side, the menus feature innovative dishes by Walker, who merges bold flavors with playful presentation. The tuna poke appetizer served in a sesame cone with avocado, soy gastrique (a sweet and sour sauce) and garlic red pepper cucumber, delights both the eyes and palate, as does the “dirty rotten” fruit basket, with seasonal fruit, whipped kimchi mascarpone, quinoa, fermented garlic honey, candied walnuts, herbs and flowers. Meat lovers will adore the sticky finger ribs, as well as the backyard Bahn mi, which features smoked chicken and pork belly pate. “There’s a ton of variety, we’ve got options that are vegan and vegetarian friendly, and a lot of healthy options, but you can also get some prime rib,” Dan adds. The cocktails and mocktails list is also impressive, providing options sure to whet any guest’s appetite. For big flavors with a fun twist, be sure to check out Arts and Central.

Arts and Central, 611 Central Ave., Sarasota, 941-306-2356, artsandcentral.com. 

Pictured: The tuna poke appetizer is served in a sesame cone with avocado, soy gastrique and garlic red pepper cucumber. Photo by Laura Paquette.

Arts and Central

[The Dish]  Banh Mi & Tea Brings Vietnamese Cuisine and Bubble Tea Delights to Miromar Outlets

Miromar Outlets is thrilled to welcome the newest addition to its vibrant culinary scene – Banh Mi & Tea. Specializing in authentic Vietnamese cuisine and a wide array of tantalizing Bubble tea flavors, Banh Mi & Tea promises to deliver a truly delightful dining experience. Banh Mi & Tea takes pride in serving up a range of traditional Vietnamese dishes that will delight your tastebuds. From Banh Mi Sandwiches to other authentic offerings such as Grilled Pork Rice Noodle Salad, Pho Soups, and Rice plates, the menu caters to every palate and craving. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients and a commitment to authentic flavors, Banh Mi & Tea brings the essence of Vietnam to Miromar Outlets. In addition to Vietnamese fare Banh Mi & Tea specializes in Bubble tea, a beloved Taiwanese beverage, and ensures to provide an assortment of flavors to satisfy every customer. From the timeless classics to creatively blended options, the Bubble tea selection at Banh Mi & Tea promises to add a touch of fun and sweetness to your taste buds. Banh Mi & Tea is located in suite 323 between Polo Ralph Lauren and Kava Culture Kava Bar.  Its opening expands the many dining options at Miromar Outlets, Southwest Florida’s premiere shopping destination. Call (239)-676-1140 to place a to-go order. Miromar Outlets offers an outdoor shopping experience with sunlit courtyards, covered walkways, classic European architecture, fountains, lush landscaping, and an array of restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating. Recognized for over 20 years as the Best Factory Outlet Mall in Southwest Florida by the News-Press Readers’ Choice Awards, Miromar has also been honored with similar accolades from the Naples Daily News and other publications, as well as Best Shopping Experience and Best Place to Buy Shoes in Southwest Florida. Miromar Outlets is located at exit 123 off I-75 on Miromar Outlets Boulevard in Estero between Naples and Fort Myers. 

[Grand Opening]  Rita's Celebrates Grand Opening in Bradenton with Free Rita's for a Year Giveaway

On Friday, February 16, at 4 p.m., the new location rewarded the first 50 guests in line with Free Rita’s Italian Ice for a Year!* Additionally, the store offered guests a $2 small Italian Ice and $3 small Gelati. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests were invited to enjoy photo opportunities with Rita’s mascot, Ice Guy, the Rita’s prize wheel, Rita’s merchandise giveaways, a face painter, and more.  To officially commemorate Bradenton’s first Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard location, local franchisee Kelsey Wright hosted the shop’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The franchisee also donated 10% of the sales on Friday to The Twig Cares Inc, a group with a mission to inspire and encourage foster families ​by meeting their needs. 

[Event]  Free Pilates Class This Friday

Club Pilates Downtown Sarasota is coming to The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime this Friday, Feb. 23rd, for a  free Pilates Mat class at 10am. Pilates improves your posture, strengthens your core and corrects muscle imbalances while creating a strong foundation for movement. This class is for all levels and anyone who is embracing wellness this year. The class will be in The Bazaar’s outdoor courtyard at 821 Apricot Avenue in Sarasota. Please bring a mat and water. To rsvp email downtownsarasota@clubpilates.com. 

[Preservation]  Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation Announces 2024 Sarasota County Heritage Awards

The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation (SAHP), in collaboration with the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County (HPCOSC), is honored to present the Sarasota County 2024 Heritage Awards. The awardees will be honored at a ceremony on Thursday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., at Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $150 and include refreshments, dinner, dessert, and an awards presentation hosted by Andrea Knies and Mimi Cirbusova, co-owners and co-founders of Compass Rose History. For more information on the awards ceremony and to purchase tickets, visit www.PreserveSRQ.org or call 941-254-3002. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  Art Center Sarasota's New Exhibitions: March 14-April 20

Art Center Sarasota’s 2023-2024 exhibition season continues with four exhibits, March 14-April 20. Natasha Dikareva’s “Through Sorrow into Light” features a new body of freestanding and wall-hanging ceramic sculptures, expressing the Ukrainian-born artist’s perspective on the current sociopolitical climate. (Artist Talk on Thursday, March 28, 5:30-7 p.m.) In “Rooted in Spirit,” Angela Pilgrim celebrates the complex inner worlds of Black women through printmaking, painting and mixed media. (Artist Talk is Saturday, March 16, 5:30-7 p.m.) Michael Kinsey’s “Views from the New Horizon” features ethereal black and white photographic portraits of leaders in the local Black community taken for Sarasota Magazine’s “Listening to Black Voices” series. (Panel discussions with leaders in the black community: Wednesday, March 20, 5-7 p.m.; Thursday, March 21, 11 a.m-1 p.m.  Artist Talk is Thursday, April 4, 5:30-7p.m.) “Great Artists Steal” is an open, juried exhibit that encourages artists to create works inspired by their favorite artists and artworks. (Juror Critique with Alecia Harper: Friday, March 22, time TBD.) The opening reception for all four exhibits is Thursday, March 14, 6-8 p.m. All works on display are available for purchase. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032. 

[Forage]  Making an Entrance
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

MAKING AN ENTRANCE | Like a magician, Executive Chef Patrick Pettersson astounds Sarasota with his indigenous dishes, February 2024. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  GALA: ALSO Youth Brunch , March 3, 11am-2pm

Join us for a brunch benefitting ALSO Youth, a local non-profit organization serving the LGBTQ youth community in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, at Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024. Enjoy incredible food courtesy of Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi, a unique auction, and live music during this event supporting our mission to empower LGBTQ youth and allies and create inclusive communities. Learn more and purchase tickets at alsoyouth.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Winederlust Dinner , February 29, 6pm
To celebrate Leap Year on Feb. 29, Viento Kitchen at Zota Beach Resort is hosting a one-night-only Worldly Wine Dinner, Winederlust Dinner, a blend of the words wine and wanderlust, which refers to the act of exploring and experiencing different wines from around the world. Hosted exclusively at select Florida Opal resort restaurants for one night, the series, created in collaboration with Jackson Family Wines, features five-course prix-fixe dinners highlighting varietals plucked from all over the globe. Each course is expertly crafted to accentuate the flavors of the showcased wines. The Winederlust Dinner at Viento Kitchen on Longboat Key will begin at 6 p.m. and costs $139.70 per person. Book now at OpalCollection.com/leap-day-winederlust-dinners.
[SOON]  THEATER: A Night in November , February 21 – March 15, Various times
One of the most highly acclaimed Irish comedies, A Night in November is a hard and humorous look at The Troubles in Northern Ireland during the 1990s. The play follows Kenneth McCallister, an opinionated government clerk who, barely, tolerates his wife, his in-laws, and his Catholic boss. On one fateful night in Belfast, as the Republic of Ireland qualifies against Northern Ireland for the World Cup, Kenneth finds himself watching the fanatical hatred of the crowd rather than the match, an event that profoundly changes his life. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit floridastudiotheatre.org.
[SOON]  FOOD: A Taste of Art , February 1 – January 31, 5:30-8pm
Longtime friends Chef Charles Amherst of Chaz 51 Steakhouse in Venice and Barbara Gerdeman, co-founder of Creative Liberties Artist Studios in Sarasota, have joined forces to create a series of interactive live art dinner showcases called A Taste of Art. The first of these events takes place Thursday, February 1, 5:30-8 p.m., at Chaz 51 Steakhouse, 549 US 41 Bypass N, Venice. The events will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Guests who visit Chaz 51 on these evenings will be able to witness the creation of captivating works of art in real-time. To make a reservation, call Chaz 51 Steakhouse at 941-484-6200. To find out which artists are scheduled for February, check out the calendar at CreativeLiberties.net.
[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]  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]  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]  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]  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]  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]  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]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Circus Sarasota , February 16 – March 10, Various times

Each year, Circus Sarasota the professional arm of the Circus Arts Conservatory, offers a showcase of top global circus artists performing in a one-ring traditional circus setting. Featuring new and innovative acts, the Circus Sarasota 2024 production will offer high-flying action, heart-stopping thrills, laugh-out-loud comedic antics, and acts that defy both expectations and the boundaries of physical limitations. Circus Sarasota runs Friday, February 16-Sunday, March 10, 2024; showtimes are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7 p.m.; and Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m. Performances take place under a brand new, custom-designed Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Tickets are $30-$80, and there is a 20 percent discount on the opening week, thanks to support from WWSB ABC 7. Parking can be secured on-site for $10. Visit circusarts.org or call the Box Office at 941-355-9805.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Empire Wild , February 21, 5:30pm

Empire Wild, winner of the 2020 Concert Artists Guild Ambassador Prize, is a genre-bending crossover trio featuring Juilliard-trained classical musicians who fuse the sounds of pop, folk, Broadway and classical into their songwriting and composition. Cellists Ken Kubota and Mitch Lyon and pianist Jiyong Kim perform on February 21, 5:30 pm, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Single ticket: $40. For tickets and more information, visit ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.

[SOON]  FOOD: Cooking for Wishes , February 22, 6pm
Save the date for the 14th Annual Cooking for Wishes 2024, presented by Exceptional Dentistry of Sarasota. The event features an interactive cooking dinner where guests at each table will prepare a one-of-a-kind 4-course meal led by Chef Jamil Pineda and Phil Mancini of Michaels on East. Guests will also enjoy specially-selected wines curated by Michael Klauber. The dinner and Wizard of Oz-themed gala will feature an exciting raffle and Live Auction for a festive evening of cooking, fun, and fundraising. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.cookingforwishes.com.

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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