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SRQ DAILY May 28, 2024

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"The vibe is a balance between the traditions of the commercial fishing community that is the lifeblood of Cortez and Anna Maria with a more modern coastal contemporary chic kind of feel."

- Eleni Sokos, Executive Vice President, Oysters Rock Hospitality.

[The Dish]  Anna Maria Oyster Bar: A Seafood Evolution
Kate Wight, kate.wight@srqme.com

Anna Maria Island has long been a treasure trove of hidden culinary gems, and Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) is one of its crown jewels. John and Amanda Horne opened the first AMOB back in 1995 at the historic Anna Maria City Pier. Islander and mainlanders alike fell in love with their fresh and fun take on local seafood and over the course of nearly three decades the Hornes have gone on to open a handful of AMOB locations throughout the Bradenton-Sarasota area. In May, the Hornes and their Oysters Rock Hospitality group opened the sixth AMOB location, this one in North Port.

“The vibe is a balance between the traditions of the commercial fishing community that is the lifeblood of Cortez and Anna Maria with a more modern coastal contemporary chic kind of feel,” says Eleni Sokos, the Executive Vice President of Oysters Rock Hospitality, describing the new space.

One of the ways the new location pays homage to the roots of the AMOB tradition is through the use of two large-scale murals in the restaurant. One is a photorealistic digital rendering of a painting of the original AMOB on the Anna Maria City Pier which has since closed. The other is a photograph of the Bridge Street pier complex in Bradenton Beach which is home to another AMOB location. The space also features art by local artist Mike Parrott who paints subjects like sealife, beach scenes, and mermaids on reclaimed wood. These more nostalgic design elements are paired with more modern design choices, like the 56-seat bar adorned with shimmering fish scale tiles and capped with a concrete countertop.

“We’re kind of blending old and new in terms of reinventing the coastal ambiance,” Sokos says.

That same spirit of evolution can be found on the AMOB menu. The North Port location has the same menu as the other AMOB locations which features familiar favorites as well as some fresh and flavorful updates that have been added over time. If you like a classic fried seafood basket, there’s golden brown Fish and Chips. In the mood for something light? The Tuna Poke Bowl is packed with flavor. Feel like designing your own meal? You can pick a fish, a style, and a topping all geared to your taste. Sokos swears by the Open Blue Cobia, which is sourced from sustainable farmers in Panama, grilled and drizzled with tequila lime herb butter. Even if you’re not a seafood person, AMOB has incredible burgers and a tasty Tropical Chicken Bowl among several other non-swimming options. And of course, you have to check out the Gulf-fresh oysters. There’s truly something for everyone.

The Anna Maria Oyster Bar in North Port is now open Sundays through Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 10pm. To see the AMOB menu, visit the restaurant’s website at oysterbar.net

Anna Maria Oyster Bar, 14132 Tamiami Trail, North Port, 941-207-2662. 

Picutred: The concrete bartop at Anna Maria Oyster Bar in North Port has a trough dug in it that's filled with ice all day long, so you can enjoy freshly-shucked oysters in style. Photo courtesy of Anna Maria Oyster Bar.

[The Dish]  This Wednesday at the Bazaar

Music Bingo is happening this Wednesday, May 29th  from 6-8pm at Hamlet’s Eatery with a total twist! Talented local musician, Sabrina McClenithan, will be hosting. She will be playing some of the songs LIVE! Come for dinner, stay and enjoy the tunes and win prizes! Doors open at 5pm for dinner! Music Bingo is similar to regular Bingo but instead of calling out numbers, music is played and you find the song title on your card. There will be four rounds and no charge to play. You can play one round or all four. Prizes for each round and you can Shazam it! Yes, “cheating” is allowed. Dinner is available featuring traditional and vegan options. There is Prosecco on tap and a great selection of craft beers and wine. Hamlet’s Eatery is located in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime at 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. For more information call 941-445-1938 or visit www.HamletsEatery.com. 

[Food Program]  Free Summer Meals for Manatee County Kids and Teens

The School District of Manatee County’s Food and Nutrition Services Department has partnered with the Summer BreakSpot program since 2007 to help provide meals to youth during the long summer months. Beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2024, meals will once again be provided at more than 60 sites across Manatee County. The meals are free for all kids and teens, ages 18 and younger, with no registration or application required. The Summer BreakSpot is a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services program that provides free meals to all children, who are 18 or younger.  This service is not based on income status. It was designed to ensure that children have access to nutrition during the summer months and gives them the opportunity to return to school in August - healthy, happy, and ready to learn. School District of Manatee County general funds are not used for this program. Free meals will be provided to students attending School District of Manatee County summer programs, as well as county summer camp locations, community centers, local parks, churches, and more. A new location this summer is Bradenton’s Riverwalk/Rossi Park. Three mobile feeding buses and two mobile “Caboose” food vehicles (provided in partnership with Tropicana), will deliver meals to multiple locations throughout Manatee County beginning May 28th. Buses have both indoor and outdoor seating options for kids to enjoy their meal. Meals must be consumed on-site. There are three ways to find the nearest Summer BreakSpot location: Call: 211; Text: “Food” to 304-304; Visit: SummerBreakSpot.org. For more information about the Summer BreakSpot, please contact the Food and Nutrition Services Office at (941) 739-5700 or visit ManateeSchoolFood.net. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  CreArte Latino Cultural Center Presents VOCES de la Maternidad

Angélica Castro and Marcela Vanegas, two accomplished performers, writers and directors, are unveiling their latest directorial endeavor, "VOCES de la Maternidad (Voices of Motherhood)," a poignant exploration of motherhood within the Latino community in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The performance, presented by CreArteLatino, consists of dramatic readings of narratives collected from conversations with community members, brought to life by an ensemble of actors. Following each performance, engaging discussions will be facilitated, involving the audience, directors, storytellers, and actors. “VOCES de la Maternidad” is May 30-June 1, 8 p.m., and June 2, 5 p.m., at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in the Bradenton Kiwanis Theater, 502 Third Avenue West, Bradenton. Audience members must be 17+. Tickets are $22. To purchase tickets, visit CreArteLatino.org. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  Lineup Announced for 14th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the return of the annual Sarasota Improv Festival, the premier Festival of its kind in the Southeastern United States. Founded by Rebecca Hopkins in 2009, the Sarasota Improv Festival has become a destination event, drawing thousands of people from across the state of Florida and beyond. The festival is back for its 14th year and will feature over 16 of the top improv troupes from across the country and as far as Chile. The 14th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival will be held on FST’s downtown Sarasota campus Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, 2024. A full Festival schedule is included at the end of this release.
This marks the seventh year that FST has welcomed artists from around the world to its Improv Festival. Introducing Festival audiences and performers to a wider array of improv styles and approaches has always been a priority to Festival Producer, Rebecca Hopkins, and Festival Organizer, Will Luera. Past Festivals have drawn international talent from Mexico, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Making their festival debut this year is Lospleimovil, an improv group from Chile. Lospleimovil was created in 2000 under the direction of actor and director Claudio Espinoza, along with actress and theater pedagogue Lissette Villegas, with the intention of promoting and researching stage improvisation, a genre that had not been showcased as a final artistic event by any professional theater company in the country until then. Thus, they became the pioneers of improv in Chile. Returning for the Festival are several fan favorite troupes, including Available Cupholders (Austin, TX, and Los Angeles, CA), Big Bang Improv (Boston, Sarasota, and New York City), Dad’s Garage (Atlanta, GA), Parallelogramophonograph (Austin, TX), North Coast (New York City, NY), and of course, Florida Studio Theatre’s own resident improv team, FST Improv. 

[SRQIST]  Baking Bliss

BAKING BLISS | Find big, bold flavors at Artisanal Cravings, 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: 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: 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: 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: Geckos Grill and Pubs New Summer Menu , May 13 – July 31, 11am

NEW!! 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. 

Gecko's, 1900 Hillview St, Sarasota, F

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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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