SARASOTA, Fla. -- Not all recent food happenings occurred at the new Mall at UTC over the last few months. Restaurants have been opening all over the Suncoast, and there's more to come in the next few weeks.
Opening in the next two weeks, Pino, named for chef himself, will open next to fab sushi restaurant J-Pan, in Paradise Plaza. We have loved Pino since he had his restaurant on lower Main Street near Palm. I certainly hope that Pino will feature his wonderful linguine and clam sauce. Always a favorite.
Both in Gulf Gate, Jim's Small Batch (2336 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota) and Munchies 420 (6639 Superior Ave., Sarasota) have expanded their businesses. Jim's Small Batch made my best bakery list with a stunning sticky toffee pudding for the holidays, while Munchies has proven itself a favorite of the late-night nosh crowd.
Longboat Key residents will be thrilled that the former Plaza building has welcomed chef Andrea Bozzolo to the dining scene. Amore by Andrea (555 Bay Isles Parkway) opened to a full house and continues to expand service with lunch and a Sunday brunch buffet. Check out their private wine room for special dinners and a grand new space for Longboat Key weddings. Cool patio and entertainment in the beautiful fireside lounge nightly.
University Parkway has added another quick-serve restaurant, Chicken Kitchen (5215 University Parkway, Sarasota), which opened across from The Fresh Market. It's known for its fast chicken dishes, salad bowls and chop chop.
Bradenton welcomed a new owner at the space that was formerly Ezra. EnRich Bistro (5629 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton) continues to offer Ezra favorites but has added lump crab cakes and several new dishes, not to mention a beautiful new enclosed patio.
Meanwhile, Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen (326 John Ringling Boulevard) has popped up over on St. Armand's. Where many have failed, Coastal Kitchen's owners seem confident that their concept will be successful. Upstairs offer live music and a more formal menu, while downstairs is more relaxed and beachy.
An all you care to eat Asian restaurant called Ginza (5428 Fruitville Road, Sarasota 941-342-9282) has opened on Fruitville Road in the Target Shopping Center. This restaurant offers a bit of a twist, as each item is cooked to order instead of sitting in a steam table. There are soups, appetizers, and entrees -- including the standard stir fry and an array of sushi. Lunch is $12.95 and dinner is $24.95. Warning: if you order more than you can finish you will be charged extra, so pace yourself.