The Main Bar Sandwich Shop -- A Culinary Link to Sarasota's Circus Past!

It's not on the tour, but we love it so much we had to mention it here -- The Main Bar Sandwich Shop is a delicious slice of Sarasota's past!  The Main Bar was established as a sandwich shop in 1958 by retiring circus performers Antonio (Charlie) Borza and his wife Thea. Inspired by her home town of Florence, Italy, Thea created what has now become the “Famous Italian.”

Charlie and Thea had both been born into circus families and performed with the circus both in europe and the Middle East, Charlie as a trampoline artist and Thea as a bareback horse rider. In the early 1940’s the Borzas were brought to this country by the Ringling Brothers Circus.

When they sold the Main bar in 1972, the Borzas left an amazing collection of pictures which are hanging on the Main Bar's walls today! These photos pay tribute to many of the fine circus performers with whom they worked or came to know in their careers. Many of these photographs were left by their son Peppi who became an established theatrical performer in New York and London.

Today, The Main Bar Sandwich Shop is owned and operated by Chip and Kate Beeman. Chip and Kate have maintained The Main Bar as the institution that it has become in Sarasota. Although the Famous Italian Sandwich is more popular now than it was in 1958 when it was first introduced by Charlie and Thea, The Main Bar Sandwich Shop now offers over 50 different sandwiches to choose from.

The Famous Italian

The Famous Italian

While many of these sandwiches (and soups) are delicious, you shouldn't miss the Famous Italian -- the Main Bar's feature item for over 50 years: Salami, ham, provolone cheese, tomatoes, chopped peppers, onions and a unique blend of oil, garlic & spices on a toasted bun.  

We encourage you to visit the Main Bar, have a Famous Italian, enjoy the incredible collection of photos of circus performers on the walls and spend a delightful hour or two exploring Sarasota's circus history in a modern day link to its fascinating past.

Restaurant Highlight: Pastry Art!

We are very pleased to have Pastry Art as a tour-concluding partner again this year!  As residents of Sarasota know, Pastry Art is Sarasota’s living room. For over 20 Pastry Art has served the house-made pastries, sandwiches and coffee to residents of the Sarasota-Bradenton area in the heart of downtown Sarasota.

The shop has a warm, welcoming atmosphere for the locals, travelers, artists, business people, and bloggers who pause to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.  If you have a chance, stop by and say hello to Chip, who is regularly behind the counter and clearly enjoys seeing his regulars and hearing what is happening with Sarasota, the world, current affairs, consciousness, space travel, art, and more!

With an Open Mic Night every Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Live Music every Thursday through Saturday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Pastry Art is an enjoyable nightlife destination as well!

Please visit Pastry Art on Sarasota's historic Main Street...or, better yet, get a taste of what they have to offer as part of a Sarasota Culinary Tour!

Gearing up For the Season!

What a great couple of tours over the past 2 days as we tried new restaurants and trained new guides!  As the incredible food served on the last 2 tours indicate, this stands to be our best season yet!  Feast your eyes on some of the items served at Duval's, Caragiulos and Owen's Fish Camp below and make plans to join us for a entertaining (and filling) Sarasota Culinary Tour this season!


Restaurant Highlight: Caragiulos!

Sarasota Culinary Tours is excited to welcome another restaurant on our tours: Caragiulos!  

Caragiulos has become one of Sarasota’s most popular eateries in much the same way the family found the cozy storefront on Palm Avenue, with… ease(?).  

As the story goes, Tony Caragiulo and his five sons set out from his bakery in Brooklyn for Florida in pursuit of an agreeable location to open a simple Italian restaurant. After an exhausting, two week long car trek around Florida with no prospects and tempers flaring, Tony signaled for the car to pull over; “Stoppa the*#!*#!!!!car!,… This is it,” he declared, pointing to the vacant stucco location… And so it was.  Since 1989 Caragiulos has served easy- going, inventive Italian-American comfort food The bread is baked on the premises each morning. The mozzarella is made fresh. The biscotti is still baked by Mrs. Caragiulo herself. Eating here is more like a gathering in the home of a good friend… comfortable… & memorable.

With a menu featuring a combination of classic dishes and innovative items -- such as spinach and artichoke mousse, ravioli with four cheeses, tortelloni with braised beef and spaghetti with meatballs as well as linguine with clams, mussels and shrimp -- there is sure to be something for everyone at Caragiulos!  

We look forward to learning more about Caragiulos, eating their delicious food,  and introducing our guests to some of their Italian-American hospitality on the Sarasota Culinary Tour!

Restaurant Highlight: Owen's Fish Camp!

Located in a renovated 1920's Florida cottage in the heart of Burns Court in Downtown Sarasota, Owen’s Fish Camp is an ode to old Florida living. From the looming Banyan tree out front, given to Sarasota developer Owen Burns by Thomas Edison, to the tire swing out back, it is a restaurant full of history and Southern Hospitality. The casual atmosphere allows guests to relax and enjoy what makes Florida so special.

It wouldn’t be called a fish camp if Owen's wasn't bringing in the Bay’s local fish every day. Not only does Owen's have fresh seafood but accompanying southern classics with a great craft beer and wine selection. 

The menu offers a variety of reasonably priced dishes, ranging from Deviled Eggs with Redneck ‘Caviar’, Murph’s Famous Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters, the Fish Camp Basket - Fried Oysters, Shrimp, Fish, Soft Shell Crab, a Low Country Boil -- Crab Legs, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Andouille Sausage, Potatoes & Corn, delicious Shrimp & Grits with Smoked Sausage or a Jar of Boiled Hot Roadside Peanuts!

Owen's is located at 516 Burns Lane, Sarasota and is open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 4:00pm – 9:30pm and Friday & Saturday 4:00pm – 10:30pm.  Owen's does offer reservations for parties of 6 or more.

For more information call 941-951-6936 or visit their website www.owensfishcamp.com.

Duval's Launches FREE Shuttle Service!

FREE. LOCAL. SHUTTLE. SERVICE

Duval’s understands that parking downtown can sometimes be a challenge.  For this reason, Duval’s offers a Free. Local. Shuttle. (FLS) for our guests.

  • How does the FLS work? Simply call or text 941-374-3996 with your location, the number in your party, and desired time for pick up, and the FLS will scoop you up and drop you off at Duval’s for free! There is NO charge for the ride.
  • Where should I park? Park in one of the covered garages on Palm Ave., Whole Foods Market, or the soon to be completed State Street Garage. 
  • Coming from home or work? For those of you that live and/or work downtown, call or text the same number and let us know your address or building and our driver will arrive to chauffeur you to/from Duval’s. (See map below)
  • How many people can fit in the FLS? The FLS can accommodate parties up to 9 in a single trip! 

SCHEDULE

  • Monday - Friday: Available from 11:00am - 2:00pm & 4:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Weekend operations will begin in December:
    • Saturday:  11:00am - 2:00pm & 4:30pm - 10:00pm 
    • Sunday: 11:00am - 2:00pm & 4:30pm - 9:00pm 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit Duval's Shuttle webpage here!

New Restaurant Partners for 2014-2015 Season!

We are thrilled to welcome Owen's Fish Camp and Caragiulos as restaurant partners for the 2014-2015 season!  Sarasota residents already know these are 2 of Sarasota's essential restaurants and they should be on the dining agenda for any visitor!

Located in the heart of Burns Court in Downtown Sarasota (516 Burns Court), Owen’s Fish Camp is an ode to old Florida living. From the looming Banyan tree out front, given to Sarasota developer Owen Burns by Thomas Edison, to the tire swing out back, it is a restaurant full of history and Southern Hospitality. The casual atmosphere allows guests to relax and enjoy what makes Florida so special.

It wouldn’t be called a fish camp if Owen's wasn't bringing in the Bay’s local fish every day. Not only does Owen's have fresh seafood but accompanying southern classics with a great craft beer and wine selection. The friendly staff strives to match the delicious food with exceptional service to assure your visit to Owen’s Fish Camp is second to none.

Caragiulos (69 South Palm Ave.) has been a Sarasota favorite since 1989.  From his bakery in Brooklyn, Tony Caragiulo and his five sons came to Florida in pursuit of an agreeable location to open a simple Italian restaurant. After an exhausting, two week long car trek around Florida with no prospects and tempers flaring, Tony signaled for the car to pull over; “Stoppa the*#!*#!!!!car!,… This is it,” he declared, pointing to the vacant stucco location… And it was.

At Caragiulos, the food speaks for itself. Using the finest ingredients, Caragiulos has served easy- going, inventive Italian-American comfort food since 1989. The bread is baked on the premises each morning. The mozzarella is made fresh. The biscotti is still baked by Mrs. Caragiulo herself. Eating here is more like a gathering in the home of a good friend… comfortable… & memorable.

For more updates as we prepare for the 2014-2015 season, keep posted!