For this week’s restaurant and bar news roundup, we have delicious deals for National Doughnut Day, restaurant openings in UTC and Sarasota as well as information on the Savor Sarasota restaurant weeks that recently launched. Let’s begin with those doughnut deals.
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Celebrate National Doughnut Day at Five-O Donut Co.
National Doughnut Day is Friday and Sarasota’s most beloved doughnut shop is celebrating.
All three Five-O Donut Co. locations, which are all in Sarasota County, will be open from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. (or they’re all sold out) and giving away one free “simple” doughnut per person with any transaction.
The first 12 individual transactions at each location will get a free Five-O Squad T-shirt.
Five-O is also offering specials and ready-to-go grab boxes to keep wait times down. For $12, you can get a pre-boxed selection of 12 simple doughnuts (regular price $19) or six mixed doughnuts (two simple, four “fancy”) for $12 (regular price $15.)
“It’s our busiest day of the year,” owner Christine Nordstrom said of National Doughnut Day.
National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fundraiser for Chicago’s The Salvation Army with their goal to help those in need during the Great Depression and to honor The Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers.
“So keeping with that tradition each year we ‘dough-nate’ a portion of our National Donut Day proceeds to the Salvation Army,” Nordstrom said.
Five-O Donut Co., which has developed a dedicated following for its creative doughnut offerings since opening its original Sarasota storefront in 2017, opened its third and latest location, at 3800 S. Tamiami Trail #107 in Shops at Siesta Row, in November.
Five-O Donut Co. also has stores on Ringling Boulevard and another on South Tamiami Trail. For more information, visit fiveodonutco.com.
Burger Culture coming to Sarasota’s University Town Center
Burger Culture, a gourmet burger restaurant based in Tampa, is opening its first Sarasota location inside the Mall at University Town Center at Interstate 75 and University Parkway. The company plans to open an 1,800-square-foot restaurant on the mall’s lower level next to Intimissimi and across from Bath & Body Works sometime in June.
From a quick look at Burger Culture’s Facebook and Instagram pages, it’s clear these are not your typical burgers. There’s the poutine burger, with fries, malt vinegar and fried cheese curds dripping with gravy. There’s something called the Dave Matthews Band grilled cheese, with American, havarti and cheddar cheeses plus bacon, avocado and tomato on sourdough bread.
There’s even a burger with all the Chicago-style fixings – pickles, tomatoes, onions, peppers, relish and even a hot dog – plus a burger, in case the hot dog itself wasn’t enough. Plus, a doughnut burger, which is exactly what it sounds like.
The restaurant, which started as a food truck, currently has two Tampa locations. It opened its first mall location at International Plaza in November.
For more information, visit burgerculture-tampa.com.
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Palmer’s Nutritious You Cafe opens in Sarasota
Carey and Mario Palmer have had such a positive response to their Nutritious You plant-based cafe on Siesta Key, they have opened a sister restaurant, Palmer’s Nutritious You at the mall Crossings at Siesta Key (formerly Westfield Siesta Key) in the former TooJay’s Deli space. In addition, they are launching a “mini” Nutritious You featuring grab-and-go, plus some indoor seating and a limited menu in another wing of the mall.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Carey Palmer. “During this time, we need nutrition and healthy eating more than ever.”
The new Palmer’s Nutritious You has been updated and includes 100 seats, plus online ordering, curbside takeout and delivery services.
The menu replicates the Siesta Key restaurant, with such popular selections as nachos, a “rainbow” flatbread, avocado toast and the Beyond Burger. There are healthy snacks, entrée bowls, salads, spring rolls, hummus platters and a variety of fresh pressed juices, smoothies and hot or cold coffee drinks. The Acai dessert bowls with fresh fruit and granola or caramel apples are popular as well as cinnamon rolls and cookies.
“We also have begun providing gluten-free and vegan bakery items such as birthday cakes,” added Palmer.
Palmer’s Nutritious You, located at 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 941-554-4528 or visit nutritiousyou.com.
New ownership for Sarasota Grill & Pizzeria
Rod and Denise Sizemore, who own the Palmer Ridge Plaza in east Sarasota, have taken over ownership of the Sarasota Grill & Pizzeria, which is located in the plaza. The two have freshened up the space that includes seating for 52 inside and out, attractive wainscoting and a granite bar top.
“Everything is made in house,” said Denise Sizemore, “and we use local ingredients as much as possible. Our pizza dough is made here, and we are in the process of changing our menu with some tasty additions. We have daily specials and our portions are very generous.”
The grill and pizzeria offers a popular Cuban pizza, plus Buffalo, meat lovers and vegetarian versions in several sizes. In addition to Caesar, chef and antipasto salads, the owners offer specials like a chopped salmon salad with strawberries and lemon dressing.
There are soups that change daily such as macaroni and beef, French onion or seafood stew, plus sandwiches on the menu such as an Italian wrap, burgers, Philly cheesesteak and a Cuban.
Among appetizers are mahi tacos, fried pickles, wings and loaded nachos. Daily entrees range from eggplant and chicken parm to chicken Alfredo or flatbreads with chicken, bacon and ranch dressing. On Thursday evenings, the restaurant offers hearty entrees such as ribs, lamb or filets.
“We have live entertainment on the patio every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 8:30,” added Sizemore. “We’ve gotten really good response from neighbors and beyond.”
For dessert, there are chocolate chip cookie and brownie melts, plus others. Beer and wines are available, as well as the hard seltzer High Noon, which is flavored soda with vodka.
Sarasota Grill & Pizzeria, which serves lunch and dinner, is at 5674 Palmer Blvd. For more information, call 941-346-6854 or visit facebook.com/sarasotagrillandpizzeria.
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Savor Sarasota is today through June 14
Local foodies know the best time to dine out is during the annual Savor Sarasota restaurant weeks, taking place today through June 14. The event features dozens of participating restaurants offering multi-course, prix-fixe menus for lunch ($16 per person) and dinner ($32 per person).
Presented by Visit Sarasota, the Savor Sarasota menu gives area restaurants an opportunity to feature dishes that have helped build their culinary reputations.
Sardinia, for instance, will present its classic Sardinian gnocchi, while Libby’s Lakewood Ranch location will include its crispy brussels sprouts with Lemon Tree aioli, and Captain Brian’s will offer its house-made smoked fish dip.
Savor Sarasota also gives local chefs the chance to test new dishes for future placements, with Michael’s On East serving its rendition of the famed French dessert Mille-Feuille au Chocolat et Noisettes.
Many of the participating restaurants are also offering glasses of complimentary wine (Bevardi’s Salute!, Bohemios and Ristorante San Marco), while others are offering complimentary cocktails (Circo).
Some restaurants like Café Gabbiano are offering wine pairings for a small additional fee.
For a complete listing of restaurants and their menus, go to visitsarasota.com/savor-sarasota/restaurants.
Among the restaurants already confirmed for Savor Sarasota 2021 ahead of press time:
Bevardi’s Salute! Restaurant
Bistro at Sarasota Art Museum
Bohemios Wine and Beer Tapas Bar
Captain Brian’s Seafood
CMX CinéBistro Siesta Key
Crab & Fin
Der Dutchman Restaurant
Element: Steak. Seafood. Pasta.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie
Mattison’s City Grille
Michael’s On East
Off the Hook Seafood
Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge in Art Ovation
Ristorante San Marco
The Ringling Grillroom
Venice, Englewood, Nokomis
Farlow’s On The Water
Fins at Sharky’s
Libby’s Lakewood Ranch
Taste of Pride takes place
As part of its Pride Month festivities, Sarasota’s Project Pride will hold the second annual Taste of Pride, set to take place Sunday through June 19, celebrating local LGBTQ-friendly businesses that will be offering specials including discounts and rainbow items (make sure to mention Taste of Pride when ordering.) Here is the list of participating businesses and specials available by press time; check projectpridesrq.org/tastepride for the latest updates.
99 Bottles: The downtown Sarasota craft beer and wine bar will offer rainbow bagels, with BOGO rainbow bagel sandwiches. 1445 Second St., Sarasota; 941-487-7874; 99bottles.net
Arts A Blaze Studio: The Lakewood Ranch pottery painting studio will offer a free rainbow to paint with every purchase. 8111 Lakewood Main St. #107, Lakewood Ranch; 941-306-5840; artsablazestudio.com
Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana and Pastaria: The downtown Sarasota location of the Italian restaurant offers two free cocktails with the purchase of two dinners. 27 Fletcher Ave., Sarasota; 941-552-9131; bavarospizza.com
Circo: The downtown Sarasota “Taco & Bourbon Joint” will offer BOGO chips and salsa, along with a rainbow salsa. 1435 Second St., Sarasota; 941-253-0978; circosrq.com
CROP Juice: The juice/smoothie bar and cafe with Stickney Point Road and University Town Center locations will offer a free four-pack of Classic CROP Bites with a $20 purchase, and feature a Pride doughnut with rainbow sprinkles on June 8 and 17. 2480 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota; 941-923-8640 and 8211 Tourist Center Drive, University Park; 941-358-8182; cropjuice.com
Green Zebra Café: The health-friendly restaurant with downtown Sarasota and St. Armands locations will offer 20% off orders, as well as a rainbow kale salad. 1377 Main St., Sarasota; 941-312-6707 and 476 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; 941-388-2848; greenzebracafe.com
Petals & Sugar: The desserts purveyor will offer multiple rainbow items, with 25% off a dozen rainbow macaron box and vegan rainbow funfetti classic cake-pops using the code “TASTEOFPRIDE.” 941-224-8286; petalsandsugar.com
The Ringling Grillroom: The restaurant located in the McKay Visitor’s Pavilion at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art will offer 15% off any food purchase, excluding alcohol. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota; 941-360-7390; theringlinggrillroom.com
Sage: The downtown Sarasota restaurant housed in the historic Sarasota Times building will offer a rainbow-colored cocktail. Buy it, and receive a free Pride dessert. 1216 First St., Sarasota; 941-445-5660; sagesrq.com
Shake Shack: The national chain with a University Town Center location will offer a Pride shake (strawberry and blackberry frozen custard topped with a mango and passion fruit blend.) Purchase one, and receive a free fry order. 190 N Cattlemen Rd #1, Sarasota; 941-413-1351; shakeshack.com/location/sarasota-fl
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Sarasota: The St. Armands shop will offer 20% off consumables and 50% off Pride koozies (with minimum purchase), as well as a Roy G. Biv tea and candle. 345 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota; 941-388-1411; spiceandtea.com/sarasota
Tamiami Tap: The restaurant in downtown Sarasota’s Laurel Park neighborhood offers 25% off orders, as well as a rainbow crudités with fire feta dish. 711 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota; 941-500-3182; tamiamitap.com
Gecko’s, Big Top team up for Centennial Lager
The local celebrations of Sarasota County’s centennial this year include a collaboration between one of the area’s most popular restaurant groups and breweries.
Gecko’s Hospitality Group, which operates Gecko’s Grill & Pub’s six locations as well as individual restaurants Dockside Waterfront Grill, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill and Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, has teamed up with Sarasota brewery Big Top Brewing Company on a limited-time special beer: Gecko’s Hospitality Group’s Centennial Lager.
Big Top head brewer Jose Martinez described the beer in a statement as “a smooth, refreshing and crisp lager with a noble aroma on the nose,” with the brew also featuring a light pink grapefruit infusion in a nod to Sarasota’s agricultural history.
The beer will also feature a custom designed label representing Sarasota’s heritage, as well as some of Gecko’s Hospitality Group owners Mike Gowan and Mike Quillen’s personal journey growing up in Sarasota. A portion of proceeds from every lager will be donated to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Charitable Foundation, Quillen said in a statement.
The first batch of the Centennial Lager will be available on Monday, June 7 and can be enjoyed by customers dining in at Gecko’s Hospitality Group restaurants, at select centennial celebration events throughout the county and in six-packs through GHG’s Alcohol to Go program.
Among its other summer offerings, Gecko’s also announced the return of its annual trivia tournament, which will start July 5 and hold its final qualifying round Aug. 12, with the championship round taking place Aug. 18 at Gecko’s Clark Road location.