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Restaurant News: Lobster Rolls, Mediterranean Eateries, Smoothies

SARASOTA-BRADENTON, FL — Here’s the latest restaurant and bar news in Sarasota and Manatee counties:

Chicken Salad Chick to Open New Location in Bradenton

The fast-casual chicken salad restaurant concept, Chicken Salad Chick, is opening a new restaurant in Bradenton at 5434 Lockwood Ridge Road.

Find out what’s happening in Sarasotawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The eatery opens April 5 and will offer free chicken salad for a year to the first 100 customers. Other events during the franchise’s grand opening week include a Chick tote bag giveaway on April 6, a Chick cutting board giveaway on April 7, a Chick water bottle giveaway on April 8 and a Chick cooler giveaway on April 9. More details about these giveaways can be found here.

The new restaurant is owned and operated by first-time franchisee Karen Jordan of Manasota Chick, LLC.

Find out what’s happening in Sarasotawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

She was first introduced to the brand in 2018 while on vacation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to a news release. After losing her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, she began researching opportunities outside of the corporate world and took a deeper look into franchising with Chicken Salad Chick.

Before this, Jordan was director of field training and a franchise business consultant for Golden Corral.

AMI Welcomes New Mediterranean, Middle Eastern Restaurant

Tahini Beach Café, a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant, has opened its doors at 103 Gulf Drive N. in Anna Maria.

The restaurant is family-owned and serves breakfast and lunch at any time of day, according to the Bradenton Herald.

The restaurant is operated by Chef Emad Al-Masri and his family, who moved to the area from Ohio, where they owned the Buckley House Restaurant.

They opened their new Bradenton-area restaurant in the space formerly occupied by The French Table.

First Watch Raising Menu Prices

The Bradenton-based breakfast and lunch chain First Watch raised menu prices by 3.9 percent during the first quarter of 2022 to account for an increase in food and labor costs, according to Restaurant Business.

The increase comes after the chain chose to not to raise prices in 2021.

First Watch expects commodity inflation of 10 to 13 percent this year and labor inflation of 8 to 10 percent.

41 Smoothie Co. Opens in Palmetto

A new smoothie shop has opened at 735 7th Street W. in Palmetto, celebrating its grand opening Saturday.

41 Smoothie Co. offers acai and berry bowls, smoothies, parfaits, and toasts.

“Try our delicious smoothies, filling acai bowls and more. Start your morning off right with a healthy breakfast. We look forward to serving you,” the shop wrote on its Facebook page.

Lobster Roll Restaurant to Open in St. Armands Circle

A lobster roll restaurant that started as a fleet of food trucks in Connecticut is opening a brick-and-mortar shop in St. Armands Circle in April.

LobsterCraft will open a 1,400-square-foot eatery at 28A South Boulevard of the Presidents, according to the Observer Media Group.

“This is an exciting chapter for myself and my crew,” said Mike Harden, owner. “The expansion of the brand into Florida, and the opportunity to bring a little taste of New England to the Sunshine State has been a dream of mine. We get to introduce our brand in the beautiful St. Armands Circle area, making it even sweeter.”

Sarasota’s Fire Fresh Grill Closes Permanently

A downtown Sarasota restaurant that opened in November has permanently closed.

Fire Fresh Grill, which moved into Coolinary’s former space, was known for its global street food and creative cocktails, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Owner Ty Salvatore said that while he received great reviews for his food, he had difficulty hiring staff.

“We had a lot of return customers, and they were very much appreciated,” he said. “But staffing issues were our Achilles’ heel.”

Venezuelan Eatery Opens in Sarasota Crossings

A new Venezuelan restaurant, Coco’s Bistro, has opened in the Sarasota Crossings shopping center on Fruitville Road.

The eatery has taken over the former location of Freskia Pita, a café, transforming the space, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The restaurant offers authentic Venezuelan dishes, as well as some American burgers.

Bradenton Golf Club Hires New Chef

The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton has hired a new chef, Joe Garcia, to oversee the Concession Bistro’s culinary membership program.

He most recently served as executive chef with the WTR Pool & Grill at Tampa’s Godfrey Hotel, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Garcia also was the executive chef at Tampa’s Grille One Sixteen.

Middle Eastern, Mediterranean Restaurant Opens in Creekwood Crossing

A new Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant, Hummus Bay, has opened in the Creekwood Crossing shopping plaza at 7303 52nd Place E.

The eatery serves hummus, falafel, bowls, salads, wraps, grilled items and more, all made fresh each day, according to the Bradenton Herald.

Bradenton brothers Sam and Yousef Dartawil collaborated to open the restaurant, which uses old family recipes.

Watching the area’s growth, “we thought it would be great if we could introduce real Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food to the area,” Sam said.

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