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SRQ DAILY May 14, 2024

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"They used to cook this way hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with an oven and fire."

- Alessandro Di Ferdinando, Owner of 15 South by Napule

[The Dish]  Mambo Italiano at 15 South by Napule
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

Local restauranteur Alessandro Di Ferdinando is on a mission to breathe new life into the building that once housed the former 15 South Ristorante Enoteca. He used to own Made in Italy in Venice and Napulé with former business partner Giuseppe Del Sole. Today he owns Napulé and the new 15 South by Napulé. In April, Di Ferdinando officially opened 15 South by Napulé on St. Armands, where he has combined his passion for Italian cuisine, music and dancing to create an exciting dining destination.

Di Ferdinando has partnered with his longtime friend and Executive Chef Giancarlo Cosmo Di and Pizza Chef Antonio Mancini for this project. The two-story restaurant is rustic and understated, with a few glitzy touches, like a gold-tiled wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy. The open kitchen gives diners an up-close view of Pizza Chef Mancini at work. Upstairs, guests will find a bar, club and dance floor.

The menu offers guests a variety of Italian delights. To start, Di Ferdinando recommends the Meat and Cheese Board which features imported products from top Italian brands. “We decided to add some vegetables too, so you can get meat, cheese and vegetables, like grilled zucchini, grilled artichokes and red peppers roasted and marinated in parsley and garlic. It can be a small one for two or a big one for four people,” he adds. “With that, you’ll be able to eat our homemade bread that we bake every morning in the wood-burning oven. It’s ‘Grandma-style.’ They used to cook this way hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with an oven and fire.”

For the main event, pizza and pasta are equally good choices. The Ravioli Cacio E Pepe All’Amatriciana combines two classic Italian sauces into one dish. The ravioli are bursting with the cheesy and peppery filling which contrasts well with the spicy tomato sauce. “The pizza is amazing,” adds Di Ferdinando. “It takes 90 seconds to cook. It’s thin-crusted and Neapolitan style. The wood fire oven goes anywhere from 750 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Those who save room for dessert are in for a sweet surprise. The Torta Ricotta E Pistacchio, a layered pistachio cake, is a light and flavorful end to any meal as well as a feast for the eyes. In the near future, 15 South by Napulé will launch more new menu items, like Fried Calamari and Zucchini and a Pappardelle Pasta with saffron cream sauce, homemade sausage and zucchini. Whether guests are in the mood for a sweet treat or mouthwatering pasta, they should look no further than 15 South by Napulé.

15 South by Napulé, 15 South Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-867-8081, 15south.net. 

The Torta Ricotta E Pistacchio from 15 South by Napule. Photo by Laura Paquette.

15 South by Napule

[The Dish]  Gecko's Launces New Summer Lunch Menu

Gecko’s Grill & Pub’s have launched a special Summer Lunch Menu at all of our six locations.  With specials from our menu sure to delight you, including our award-winning ½ lb. USDA Choice Angus Gecko’s Burger, Sandwiches, our Signature 1992 Salad and more…for $8 you can enjoy our favorite time of the year with some of your fav Gecko’s dishes when you dine in with us for Lunch.  Always fresh, always made-to-order, join us to kickstart your Summer with our Summer Lunch specials from 11-3 Monday-Friday.  Dine In only.  www.GeckosGrill.com. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  Art Center Sarasota's Annual Regional Juried Exhibition Beyond Comfort Opens May 23

Art Center Sarasota unveils its much-anticipated annual regional juried exhibit, "Beyond Comfort," on May 23. Juried by Virginia Shearer, the executive director of Sarasota Art Museum, the exhibition calls upon artists statewide to delve into their interpretations of beauty and the grotesque within contemporary art and society. The exhibit, which spans all four galleries, runs through July 27. The opening reception is Thursday, May 23, 6-8 p.m. A critique with Virginia Shearer will take place on Thursday, May 30, 3:30 p.m. at Art Center Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032.  

Pictured: Virginia Shearer. Photo by Nancy Guth

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Commodores Announce Show at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome The Commodores to Sarasota on Saturday, November 16, 2024 at 8pm. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 17 at 10am EDT. One of the greatest Motown and R&B / funk artists of all time, The Commodores have influenced artists both young and old, and in all genres with their classic songs. With a brand that is bigger than ever, The Commodores continue to blaze trails all over the world. One of the most successful vocal groups of all time, The Commodores continue to thrill audiences with their Greatest Hits Tour – Live! In 1968 the group was formed while all the members were in college at Tuskegee Institute. After being discovered by Berry Gordy, the Commodores went on to sell over 60 million records for Motown. With hits like “Machine Gun” and “Sail On”, The Commodores became proven artists. For five decades, the Commodores have remained a force in the music industry. The Commodores aren’t just any group. They have staying power. Just like their hit song "Brick House," the Commodores have created a foundation that just won’t budge. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased at 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 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. To receive an early access presale code to this show and future Van Wezel productions, join the Van Wezel E-Club by visiting VanWezel.org. 

[Donation]  Manatee Matches Giving Circle Surpasses $2 Million in Community Impact

The Manatee Matches Giving Circle, a donor-advised fund through Manatee Community Foundation, announces a significant milestone as it surpasses the remarkable achievement of $2 million in local impact. Since its inception in 2014, Manatee Matches has been a transformative force for nonprofit human service organizations dedicated to serving Manatee County. 

Pictured: Chuck Slater and Sandy Kirkpatrick. Photo courtesy of The Manatee Matches Giving Circle.

[County News]  Manatee County’s Financial Access Federal CreditUnion Unveils $400,000 Collaborative Initiative to Strengthen Community Ties

Financial Access Federal Credit Union (FAFCU) is launching a groundbreaking collaborative initiative aimed at empowering the local community and fostering financial stability. With a commitment to serving its members and enhancing the region's economic vitality, FAFCU is deploying $400,000 in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Economic Resilience and Prosperity (ERP) funds to realize its vision. The Bradenton-based credit union was awarded a $2.1 million CDFI ERP grant last April. 

Pictured: Veronica Thames, Manatee Community Foundation; Mireya C Eavey, Financial Access Federal Credit Union; Joshua S. Matlock, CareerSource Suncoast; and Jacki Dezelski, the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Lori Sax.

[Forage]  All is Not Lost
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

ALL IS NOT LOST | Witness a culinary resurrection at The Original Wolfie's & Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House in Sarasota's Rosemary District, May/June 2024. 

Read Here!

[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]  FOOD: Geckos Grill and Pubs Trivia and Bar BINGO , April 26 – April 30, 7:30pm
If you love a made-to-order meal, cocktail specials and prizes while you play Trivia and Bar Bingo, join the fun at Geckos all year round. We will have prizes, giveaways and specials plus the Geckos hospitality you love. Monday TRIVIA will be held at the Clark Road location in Palmer Crossing with BAR BINGO on Hillview Street in Southside Village. Tuesdays is BAR BINGO at SR 70 and TRIVIA at Geckos on SR 64 and Stickney Point. On Wednesdays, TRIVIA will take place at the Hillview Street location in Southside Village. We will keep the good time flowing and make your week more fun. www.GeckosGrill.com.
[SOON]  FOOD: Geckos Hospitality Group Iron Chef Challenge , May 13 – June 16, Various times

Join the Geckos Hospitality Group family of restaurants to celebrate the culinary creativity of your favorite Geckos Grill and Pub Chefs during the annual Geckos Hospitality Group Iron Chef Challenge. From May 13th to June 9th and June 10th to 16th each of our six Geckos will participate in a weekly special Iron Chef Menu, with several of our Chefs designing delectable and inventive fare, plus some tried and true favorites with a creative twist. The contest is a weekly competition between Geckos Kitchen Creatives, and guests may sample what the GHG kitchen pros have up their Chef Jacket sleeves. Whichever Iron Chef Special Menu is the favorite of our GHG guests for the week wins the Iron Chef title for that week and a cash prize with the Iron Chefs named after the competition knives have been cleaned and put away in June. There will be a Championship Final the week of June 10-16th, with the winning GHG location being crowned the Geckos Hospitality Group’ Iron Chef 2024 Champ. www.GeckosGrill.com.

[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]  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]  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]  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]  FILM: Summer Movie Nights , June 2 – June 28, 5pm

Back by popular demand, the Summer Movie Nights provide a unique experience for everyone during the summer, while remaining fun and affordable. The 2024 Summer Movie Night lineup offers something for everyone. Summer Movie Nights will take place on most Sundays during the months of June and July, inside the stadium at CoolToday Park. The movies will be shown on the scoreboard and will begin at 5 PM each night. Children ages 3 and under will receive free admission, while tickets for ages 4-9 are only $3, and ages 10 and up are $7. Tickets are available now at the CoolToday Park box office, online at cooltodaypark.com/movies, or by calling 941-413-5004. Parking is free, seats will be available in the seating bowl. No outside food, beverages, or chairs are allowed inside the stadium. The Superior Pools Tomahawk Tiki Bar and Grill will be open for full dinner service.

[SOON]  DANCE: Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance , June 2, 7:30pm
Irish dancers and musicians from Edmonds Herbert W. Armstrong College and Armstrong Dance will embark on their fifth U.S. tour beginning May 5, visiting 10 states over seven weeks with their show Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will host a one-night performance at 7:30 p.m., June 2. Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance explores the ancient origins of Irish step dance and celebrates the millennia-long journey of a music-and-dance-loving people as they migrate from the ancient Near East to Ireland, Scotland, England and the United States. Tickets to Celtic Throne, The Royal Journey of Irish Dance begin at $25 and can be purchased at VanWezel.org. For more information, please visit celticthrone.com.
[SOON]  GALA: Grand Carnival In Bloom , June 1, 8-11pm
On June 1, Project Pride SRQ will present the Grand Carnival In Bloom. Event organizers are looking forward to launching Pride Month in grand style with the Grand Carnival In Bloom, an enchanting evening filled with flowers, a DJ spinning music hits, cool country performances, and delightful surprises. Dive Bar Wine and Spirits will be on-site to craft specialty cocktails that will elevate the experience, and some of the finest restaurants in Sarasota will tantalize your taste buds with lite bites and desserts. The Grand Carnival takes place on Saturday, June 1, 8-11 p.m. at the Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. Tickets, which include open bar, food and entertainment, are $125/VIP, enables early entry at 7 p.m., $85/general admission; door price is $150, subject to availability. Proceeds from the event will support Project Pride programs and events. For more about Project Pride and its Pride Month events, visit www.ppsrq.org.
[SOON]  BUSINESS: How animated videos can be a game changer for your social media efforts , May 31, 12pm
Dylan Healy will give an industry perspective on the animation industry, and its benefits to potential clients, and showcase their work and who they are at Animation Explainers. Free, online webinar. score.org/manasota.
[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Love It Like a Local Beach Cleanup , May 27, 9-11am
This Memorial Day weekend, make it a beach day to remember. Join the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau along with Keep Manatee Beautiful from 9 a.m.- 11 a.m., May 27, 2024, for the Love It Like a Local Beach Cleanup. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. in the South Coquina Beach parking lot. Snacks will be offered from 11 a.m. until noon. The first 100 volunteers to sign up will receive a free commemorative rash guard. To learn more, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/love-it-like-a-local-memorial-day-clean-up-tickets-894345129357?aff=oddtdtcreator.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Tribute to Heroes Parade , May 26, 5-8pm
The annual Tribute to Heroes Parade is back and bigger and better than ever. Join us on Sunday, May 26th, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm on Lakewood Main Street for a celebration of our local veterans, active duty, and fallen heroes. This special event aims to pay tribute to those who have served our country with honor and bravery. The parade will feature floats, live entertainment, delicious food and drink vendors, and activities for children, providing fun for the whole family. Admission to the parade is free, and event proceeds from the event will support local non-profit and veteran organizations. It is a great way to show our heroes the love and appreciation they truly deserve, so come out and join us in honoring our heroes. If you or if you know of anyone interested in participating in the parade, visit LWRTributeToHeroes.org.
[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]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , January 11 – June 13, 5:30 pm-8 pm

Join us for live jazz at Sarasota Art Museum, hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota, featuring Hot Club of SRQ, and extended hours in the galleries, Bistro, and SHOP. Sip on refreshing cocktails and enjoy small bites in the Bistro. Each second Thursday of the month features a different style of jazz, from straight-ahead to free jazz, bebop to swing-programmed in partnership with Jazz Club of Sarasota. Galleries are open until 7 pm on Jazz Thursdays. Learn more and purchase tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.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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