Sarasota is known for its diverse restaurants and fine cuisine. But what about a little whimsy to add to the mix? Sarasota Events Calendar culled some of the most interesting, unique places to dine, and came up with this list. To start, how about taking your kids on a restored, old-fashioned train for food and fun?
Bob’s Trainis a restaurant located in four restored Pullman train cars. The menu features classic American fare, such as burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes. Bob’s Train Restaurant is housed in four restored Pullman train cars, which were originally built in the early 1900s. Bob Horne, the owner of Bob’s Train Restaurant, has a passion for trains and circuses. He purchased the train cars in 2004 and began the process of restoring them. The restoration took several years, but Bob was determined to create a restaurant that would be both unique and enjoyable for his customers.
Shoogie Boogies:The name, alone, brings a smile to your face and beckons you to make a reservation. It’s also a restaurant that is a bit of a hidden gem, serving American cuisine with a creative twist. The menu features dishes like the “Shoo-Fly” burger, which is made with a beef patty topped with bacon, peanut butter, and banana. The atmosphere is fun and funky, and you have options in which to dine.
There are actually three separate areas in which to dine: Garden Room at Shoogie Boogies is a fabulous place to hold a special event and perhaps the most intimate and charming setting to be found anywhere else. The Garden Cottage includes a children’s photography studio, gallery, gift shop & cafe serving tea. The Courtyard is outdoors (weather permitting). All rooms are truly whimsical with luscious plants, twinkling lights and candles.
Florida Studio Theatre (FST)in the heart of downtown Sarasota is one of the major cultural resources in the Gulf Coast region, bringing the best in contemporary plays, musicals, and comedy to the Sarasota community since 1973. A professional regional theatre with the largest subscription base in the state, FST serves more than 230,000 live attendees each year across its six core is on our top list of places to go for cabaret, plays, shows and music. What makes it even more special is the fact that they have two separate restaurants in which to choose, one – a full-service restaurant located in the Hegner Theatre Wing of Florida Studio Theatre and a Parisienne-style dinner theater located in the Goldstein Cabaret.
Green Room Cafe & Bar is a full-service restaurant located in the Hegner Theatre Wing of FST. The menu features American cuisine with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant also has a full bar with a wide selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.
The Goldstein Cabaret is a Parisienne-style dinner theater sits 100 guests and is open one hour prior to shows and features American cuisine with a focus on comfort food. The restaurant also has a full bar with a wide selection of wines, beers, and cocktails. Built in 1991, the Goldstein Cabaret has been home to such past original music revues as Friends in Low Places, Outlaws and Angels, Guitar Girls, Blue Suede Shoes, Piano Men, and more.
Both restaurants offer indoor and outdoor seating, and they are open before and after performances at FST. They are also both popular spots for locals and tourists alike.
Indigenous is the last (but not the least) on our list. Opened in 2011, Indigenous is located in historic Towles Court in a sophisticated, restored home. Innovative and carefully sourced American cuisine has earned a reputation for being an inspirational and educational restaurant. For years, Indigenous has been known as one of America’s top restaurants, renowned for its passion for food, the community, and the planet.
Indigenous’ menu of seasonal American cuisine changes progressively throughout the year based on peak ingredient availability. With a focus on sustainable seafood, they work closely with local fisherman, artisans, and farmers to maintain the highest quality. Owner/chef Steve Phelps hails from Cleveland and was trained in France and Germany. After moving to Sarasota more than ten years ago, Chef Phelps fell in love with the ocean’s bounty. He is on the Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force and a founding member Chefs Board for the EDF Coalition For Sustainable Aquaculture. His concerns and involvement in sustainability have earned him praise from conservation organizations nationwide. In 2014 and 2015 he was a semi finalist for James Beard Foundation Best Chef South. A constant educator of his guests, staff and the community, his mission is simple: good sourcing and respect for the planet.
No matter what your taste, you’re sure to find something to love in Sarasota’s culinary scene. So the next time you want to try something new and different, be sure to explore the restaurants mentioned above and discover why Sarasota is known for great cuisine, with a touch of the whimsical!
Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing.
She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.
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