The LIST – May 2023
We’ve got your top Sarasota restaurants, plus some recent openings!
We are rolling right through Spring! 🌻
Traffic is a touch lighter. The days are a bit longer. And the outside temp is getting turned up. All sure signs of May in Sarasota. 🗓️
I’ve been writing about Sarasota’s restaurant, food, and dining community for a little over 20 years now. One of the questions that I continue to roll around in my brain is this, “what is the best time of year to open a restaurant?“
When I ask this question (to myself), it is very Sarasota-specific. My educated guess is that every city/area has its own unique sweet spot. But I’m not concerned with those “other” places. I’m wondering about this place.
There was a time when I thought maybe late summer or early fall was perfect. But lately, my thinking has evolved a bit. Now I’ve come to consider that the optimal moment might just be May.
OK, humor me for a second while I talk this through…
1️⃣ The big rush of season is behind us. So when you throw open your doors, it won’t be a total inundation of hungry mouths to feed. Having more business than you can reasonably handle on day one can be a scary scenario. 📝 I guess the opposite scary scenario is zero business.
2️⃣ There are enough people still here and dining out to put your front and back of the house operations to the test. Every new place needs fine-tuning. And you’ll need some folks to “experiment” on. You just don’t need an unfed, angry mob. 😃
3️⃣ Another mini push of people will come after the final school bell rings and folks are back out on the road again for family vacations. You should have a good idea of what’s working and what’s not by the time those people walk through your front door. You can make those tweaks and corrections before things get hectic again.
4️⃣ Cruising into summer, it’s busy enough to give your employees enough shifts to make them happy. And there’s enough business to keep the lights on.
This seems like an excellent recipe for a successful rollout. Not too crazy busy, but way above crickets level. Seemingly perfect.
Why are we talking about all this? I thought you would never ask! 😁
We’ve got a bunch of new places we just added to the dineSarasota.com restaurant database. We might not have blooming crocus, daffodils, and tulips like up north to tell us spring has sprung. But we’ve had a bunch of shiny new restaurants flinging open their doors to signal the change.
Let’s talk about some of the “relatively” new kids in town.
Osteria Southside (1812 S. Osprey Ave. (941) 361-3200) opens up in Southside Village and combines two culinary favorites of the neighborhood; Michael Calore (Pazzo/Mozzarella Fella) and Rami Nehme (Origin Pizza). They’re each bringing what they do best to this already popular new spot. 🥪I want to see the return of Mozzarella Fella’s old #10!
After what seemed like an eternity (from announcement to opening), The Yard House (115 University Town Center Dr. (941) 536-0778) is hosting guests. If you like beer, this place is for you. If you don’t like beer, this place could still be for you (there are a bunch of other drink and food choices). Lots and lots of draft brews are waiting to be poured and enjoyed! 🍺
Bar Hana (1289 N. Palm Ave. (941) 536-9717) opens right next door to its big sis, Kojo. Craft cocktails, along with creative hot and cold bites, are featured. OH, they also have brunch! ** Watch for their newest creation, the Palm Avenue Deli, to open soon **
Ready for a couple more? We’ve also added Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila, located in the UTC area. They serve, as you would imagine, tacos & tequila. And we’ve included Vernona. This restaurant specializes in Hungarian cuisine. It isn’t technically “new”. They’ve just relocated from St. Armands to Bradenton.
The dineSarasota restaurant DB now stands at 377! That’s a whole lotta choices.
Here’s the Top 5 for May 2023! 🏅
#5 GROVE Restaurant (10670 Boardwalk Loop (941) 893-4321)
LWR Main Street favorite. This place is usually busy, and for lots of good reasons. It’s a great place to watch the Kentucky Derby. OH, if it’s not too late, make a Mother’s Day res! Great holiday buffet.
#4 Florence & The Spice Boys (4990 S. Tamiami Trl. (941) 405-3890)
Israeli-influenced cuisine. I know I’ve talked about the Chicken Shawarma Salad before. It’s one of those dishes that when you get that itch…
#3 The Chateau Sarasota (2001 Siesta Dr. (941) 706-4093)
Last month we asked you to let us know if you’ve been to The Chateau, and some of you did (Thanks for that!). One reader LOVED the Chef’s Table overlooking the kitchen. “A great place to watch the action.” Another thought it was a little on the pricey side. That’s a pretty common observation these days for a lot of places. So maybe their Happy Hour might be a good first-outing option?
#2 Osteria Southside (1812 S. Osprey Ave. (941) 361-3200)
** See new restaurants above ** Can’t wait to give this a spin. I used to love the Meatball Salad on the Pazzo menu. Happily (at least for me), that dish continues on at Osteria. Also looking forward to sampling a sandwich or two!
#1 Shebeen Irish Pub & Kitchen (6641 Midnight Pass Rd., (941) 952-3070)
Yep, #1 once again. Authentic Irish pub grub on Siesta Key. Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and more. Of course, you can get a perfectly poured Guinness. I mean, it is an Irish pub after all.
The rest of the Top 10 for the month.
Mattison’s Forty-One (check to see if they have any Mother’s Day slots left), Seasons 52 (this one always seems so random every time it shows up), Bijou Garden Café, Capital Grille, and Bradenton’s Pier 22 (Again, think Mother’s Day brunch) fill out the Top 10 of May’s list.
Lastly, we’ve got a few odds and ends that you may have missed in the past month. Enjoy! ✅
⭐ HERE ARE YOUR QUICK BITES FOR MAY 2023 ⭐
📰 IN THE NEWS… Banditos Tacos to open late 2023 on Main Street (Sarasota H-T) • Osteria Southside open in Southside Village (Sarasota Magazine) • Bistro at Sarasota Art Museum launches new spring menu (Food & Beverage Mag) • Gold Coast to distribute Darwin Brewing beer (Business Observer) •The Banyan House opens in Wellen Park in South Sarasota County (Sarasota H-T) • Chicago’s Original Rainbow Cone to open in Bradenton (CISION PR Newswire) • Bar Hana opens on Palm Avenue (SRQ Magazine) • Opus Restaurant & Lounge in Gulf Gate closes • Want to try something fun & different? Why not take a cheese class? (Artisan Cheese Company) • Is Sarasota REALLY the 4th best party city in the country?? (Sarasota H-T) • The Melting Pot gets a brand-new look (Restaurant News) • Lo’Key Island Grille planned for LBK (Observer)
🗓️ SARASOTA FOOD EVENTS 🗓️
Here are some upcoming local food events that we think you might find interesting. All you need to do is make that reservation. We’ve provided you with a link to more info. (If you have an event, send us the details! (EMAIL IT)
ALL APRIL – Epicurean Menu, Portugal – Michael’s On East
WEEKLY POP-UP KITCHEN EVENTS – 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop
MAY 5 – 18th Annual Dick Vitale Gala – INFORMATION
MAY 10 – Wine Cellar Social Club – Michael’s On East
MAY 10 – Walking Progressive Dinner – Taste Magazine
MAY 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch – Mattison’s Forty-One
MAY 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch – Pier 22
MAY 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch – Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood
MAY 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch – GROVE Restaurant
MAY 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch – Michael’s On East
MAY 20 – LAUGHTER in LWR! – GROVE Restaurant
MAY 25 – “Lavish” Wine Paring Dinner – Andrea’s
MAY 23 – Hope Family Wines Wine Dinner – Michaels On East
🧑🌾 FARMER’S MARKET INFO 🧑🌾
EVERY SUNDAY – Siesta Key Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – Farmer’s Market at Lakewood Ranch – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – The Meadows Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY WEDNESDAY – The Phillippi Farmhouse Market (Oct-Apr) – DETAILS
THIRD THURSDAY NIGHT – RADD Night Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Sarasota Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Downtown Bradenton Public Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Venice Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
🌟 SHARE, FOLLOW, LIKE 🌟
Get information on 350+ Sarasota restaurants on the dineSarasota.com website
Did you miss a story? Here are some of our past Bites – SB ARCHIVE
Do you love our A Burger A Week pieces? – HERE’S THE FULL ARCHIVE 🍔
Check out all of our Videos on our YouTube channel!
Refer a friend to Sarasota Bites. That would make us super happy CLICK HERE!
Email us a question, comment, or suggest a story. SEND EMAIL