Bradenton pushing hard to make city more of a food destination

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- An effort is underway to make the city of Bradenton more of a food destination. City officials say there are already many great restaurants in the city. They're confident many more will come.

The Village of the Arts in Bradenton is part of the downtown area filled with 40 shops, restaurants and galleries. Restaurants such as Arte Caffe and the Arts and Eats Restaurant use only the freshest ingredients, which gives folks an amazing dining experience.

"All the ingredients that I use, basil comes from our garden," said Remo Mambelli, co-owner of Arte Caffe. "Soon we are going to have mangos come from our garden and avocados coming from our garden."

Places like Arte Caffe is what the city hopes will help them become a prime food destination. There's a campaign going on now to bring in more exciting food places. Johnette Isham is the Executive Director of Realize Bradenton. Her organization and many others are leading the way to help turn this into reality.

"We're really going to help residents and visitors understand the great assets," said Isham, "not only in the Village, but old Main Street, on Riverwalk -- in terms of dining opportunities ranging from bakeries to the variety of restaurants we have."

"It's a common sense move," said Meridith Mambelli, co-owner of Arte Caffe. "I mean, why not? There are so many great chefs here, there's a vibrant community of young people."

With many more millennials about to become the largest spending group in the country, Bradenton is looking to capitalize on that. One place that attracts lots of young adults is Motorworks Brewery, which is in the Village of the Arts area. Motorworks brings in food trucks into their parking lot for their customers to enjoy a diversity of food.

"It really starts with the local drive, which is what we see across the board," said Barry Elwonger, a marketing director with Motorworks. "People are looking for local music, local food, local beer, local ingredients."