What’s New: Beyond the Bridges

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By Jane Bartnett

Welcome to “What’s New,” where we will be focusing in on the newest and most exciting restaurants, businesses and places that have recently opened in the Siesta Key region. We’re all ready for good news and looking for new places to go and things to do. The welcome mat is out, so let’s get started on looking ahead to brighter days!

Minutes from Siesta Key, the Gulf Gate neighborhood is well on its way to becoming one of the most exciting new hot spots for dining, and the celebrated Brine Seafood & Raw Bar at 2250 Gulf Gate Drive is setting the tone. After opening in the fall, the reviews are in and Brine appears here to stay.

Brine’s sophisticated exterior reflects the design of the eatery’s welcoming and spacious interior. Anyone who lived in the Baltimore or Washington, D.C. area or spent time vacationing on Maryland’s eastern shore will feel right at home. The vibe is decidedly sandy shores and Chesapeake Bay.

If you’re longing for that taste of Maryland crabs, fresh oysters, and the best seafood from the North Atlantic, you’re in for a treat.

Meanwhile, a weekend brunch menu is planned for the near future.

The establishment is the brainchild of Mike and Gary Mazan, two brothers who know their way around a shoreline. Brine is sure to become a local favorite.

In addition to fresh seafood, Brine also offers a selection of steaks, chicken, chops and fish. Its a la carte raw bar features east- and west-coast oysters, as well as clams and shrimp cocktail.

Open for lunch and dinner, Brine also offers a popular happy hour that runs each day from 4 to 6 p.m. If you’re visiting Brine on a Thursday evening, be sure to try the Chesapeake shrimp boil special for $28.

Brine is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (941) 952-3039 or visit: www.BrineSarasota.com

Char-grilled octopus, as displayed by co-owner Mike Mazan, is among the vast seafood offerings at Brine. The new restaurant is located in Gulf Gate. (photo by John Morton)

Two more new additions to the Gulf Gate food and drink scene are Moondoggy’s Saloon and ZuZu’s Cocktail Lounge. Both are under the ownership of Sarasota restauranteur Mark Rosato.

Just a few doors down from Brine, Moondoggy’s is a self-proclaimed surfing-inspired tropical “dive bar” with a welcoming open-air feel. It features top-shelf liquors and happy hour pricing from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cigarette smoking is permitted. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.

Next door, ZuZu’s is designed to appeal to the sophisticated young-adult market. The cocktail lounge held its grand opening on St. Patrick’s Day.

It offers a sleek, smoke-free environment and serves top-shelf liquors used to create special martinis and exotic tropical mixed drinks. Entertainment and all-day happy-hour specials are sure to make ZuZu’s a popular new spot. Doors open at 3 p.m. and close at 2:30 a.m. daily. Call Moondoggy’s at (941) 260-8588 and ZuZu’s Cocktail Lounge at (941) 312-4637. Visit both online at www.zuzumoondoggys.com

Continuing our dining journey off the Key, a casual, new, family-friendly spot called The Parrot X-Press Grill at 2407 Bee Ridge Rd. can’t be beat. The third Parrot restaurant to open in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, The Parrot X-Press Grill has indoor and outdoor shaded seating and curbside pick-up. Try the tacos, “grab and go” salads, buffalo shrimp, a variety of pizza, and tasty burgers in quarter- and half-pound sizes.

On those warm days when a cool delectable custard or special sundae calls out to you, head there for a sweet taste treat.

It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (941) 922-4000 or visit theparrots.com.

New to The Landings is Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, home to a patio with a 10-foot decorative waterfall. (photo by John Morton)

Finally, new to The Landings shopping center is the much-anticipated Tripletail Seafood & Spirits restaurant at 4870 Tamiami Trail. It opened in mid-February. Fans of the waterside Dry Dock Restaurant on Long Boat Key, another gem in the crown of the Gecko’s Hospitality Group, will feel right at home at this upscale dining spot that shares many of Dry Dock’s most loved menu items.

Tripletail diners will find an excellent selection of locally sourced fresh fare from the Gulf of Mexico, the ocean, bays, and shore on the menu. Decorated with a nautical flair, the new eatery can seat up to 150 people.

Dine in comfort in Tripletail’s deep red leather booths that are divided by glass partitions. On the patio, a 10-foot waterfall creates an inviting ambiance for outdoor lounging and dining.

Tripletail is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (941) 529-0555 or visit www.TripletailSRQ.com.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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