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Contents april 2022
Cat Depot shows up in Best Local Nonprofit and Best Local Animal Nonprofit. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
best of srq local
SRQ READERS SET A NEW RECORD IN THIS 14th ANNUAL BEST OF SRQ LOCAL COMPETITION. You spoke up, and we listened. From vets and videographers to cocktails and chiropractors, BOSRQ Local is back with a brand new batch of the cities’ finest fare, favorite services, most sought-after places and beloved businesses—a grand tally thanks to all your voting (a record-breaking 78,000 votes to be exact!). Inspired by the collaborative, immersive Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry and Light exhibit currently residing at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, we pay homage to this influential photographer. “Robert Mapplethorpe was the most renowned photographer of the late twentieth century,” says Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “He is best known for his black-and-white photographs consisting of portraits, nudes, and still lifes. Many of his finest still lifes feature flowers—and that is why we at Selby Gardens felt his work should be featured within a botanical garden context for the very first time. Mapplethorpe made floral still life a significant contemporary genre, heightening the status of photography as an art form in the process.” In bringing to life the winning experiences chosen by our readers, we play with the themes of expressive lighting and irreverent black and white candids to vividly capture the “best” experiences chose by our readers. And now we are happy to present you with the leading legends, the new voices and the rising nominees of this year’s competition. Together, they continue to put Sarasota and Manatee Counties on the map—proving evolutionary and eclectic aren’t just for the big cities. Ready, set, celebrate— #BOSRQ. Compiled by Ariel Chates and Jacob Ogles. Photography by Wyatt Kostygan and Wes Roberts. Program produced by Hannah Peterson.
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MARKETING FEATURES 33 GUIDE TO COLLEGES IN THE REGION NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, SARASOTAMANATEE 46
ASK THE EXPERT DARCIE DUNCAN WITH DUNCAN REAL ESTATE
Banyan Coﬀee Co. owner, Josh Schmitt, spills the beans on how this specialty coﬀee roaster came to be. Blaise Ryndes, creator of the Spheres Bubble Show, dazzled audiences at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime.
The Sarasota Film Festival returns for its 24th year this month with fresh
programming and events. Dramaturg and Literary Manager at Asolo Repertory Theatre Adam Ashraf Elsayigh discusses how his unique background impacts his new role.
April showers takes The Goods by storm. King of vintage designer, Cameron Silver, discusses his passion for fashion after a local visit at T.Georgiano’s boutique.
BEST OF SRQ LOCAL AWARDS SHOWCASE 63 AWARDS SPECIAL SECTION 2022 HOTY WINNERS AND HONORABLE MENTION FINALISTS Learn about the people and companies receiving the honor of being voted the Best of SRQ Local by our readers for the 14th annual edition of this treasured program.
Capturing the ramen revival in its elevated art form from the menus of FushiPoke, Rokkin Ramen Pop-Up Kitchen at 99 Bottles, Motoneko Café & Izakaya and Goichi’s Sushi Café.
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A good hero to countless boys and girls, Lee DeLieto is a man who knows how to make good things happen. Cover: Best of SRQ Local Platinum Winner Brine Seafood and Raw Bar’s raw oysters, photo by Wyatt Kostygan. This page: Miso ramen from Rokkin Ramen Pop-Up at 99 Bottles, Banyan Coﬀee Co. (image courtesy of Banyan Coﬀee Co.), and rainy day goods, photography by Wyatt Kostygan.
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APRIL 2022 CEO / PRESIDENT / EDITOR IN CHIEF
LISL LIANG VP OF PHOTOGRAPHY + VIDEO
Wyatt Kostygan MANAGING + BRANDED CONTENT EDITOR
Barbie Heit CONTRIBUTING SENIOR EDITORS
Andrew Fabian, Phil Lederer, Brittany Mattie, Jacob Ogles CONTRIBUTING EDITORS AND ARTISTS
Ariel Chates, Chris Leverett, Abby Weingarten, Woody Woodman DESIGN CONTRIBUTOR Winona Nasser EDITORIAL+DESIGN INTERNS
Arianna Boenker, Dylan Campbell, Grace Castilow, Nilyana Rodriguez EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER
WES ROBERTS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS AND ENGAGEMENT
Ashley Grant DIGITAL MARKETING + ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Hannah Peterson ACCOUNTS + CLIENT SERVICE AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Robinson Valverde SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVES
Suzanne Munroe Julie Mayer Magniﬁco Rob Wardlaw CLIENT SERVICES ASSOCIATE
Gabriella Alfonso MARKETING ASSOCIATE
SRQ MEDIA ADVERTISING GROWMYBUSINESS@SRQME.COM 941-365-7702 x1 SUBSCRIPTIONS SUBSCRIBE@SRQME.COM 941-365-7702 x2
GET SRQ DAILY The magazine in your hands oﬀers enormous insight into our community, but the most informed in our community follow our constant coverage of Sarasota and the Bradenton Area in SRQ Daily. The electronic newsletter is a must-read in thousands of inboxes. Check our special editions: the Monday Business Edition, the Wednesday Philanthropy Edition, the Friday Weekend Edition and the much-discussed Saturday Perspectives Edition, featuring a diverse range of opinions from the region’s top pundits and newsmakers. SIGN UP ONLINE AT SRQMAG.COM/SRQDAILY
ORIGINS OF “SRQ” The “SRQ” in SRQ magazine originates from the designated call letters for the local Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “SR” was the original abbreviation for the airport before the growth in total number of airports required the use of a three-letter code. Letters like “X” and “Q” were used as ﬁller, thus the original “SR” was revised to “SRQ,” much as the Los Angeles airport became “LAX.” As a regional publication committed to the residents of and visitors to both Sarasota and Manatee counties, SRQ captures the place that we call home. LOCAL PUBLISHERS OF SRQ MAGAZINE, LIVING LAKEWOOD, ROCKETKIDS, SRQ TOP DOCTORS MEDICAL RESOURCE GUIDE, SRQ ELITE TOP ATTORNEYS PROGRAM, SRQ HOME & DESIGN, SHE ROARS, LIVING BRADENTON AREA, LOVE LOCAL GUIDEBOOK AND SRQ DAILY.
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SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITION Join our readers in the pleasurable experience of receiving SRQ magazine in your mailbox every month during season and bimonthly during the summer. To reserve your subscription, provide your information and payment online. You can set up multiple addresses, renewals and special instructions directly through your online account. When you subscribe online, your ﬁrst print issue will arrive in your mailbox in 6-10 weeks. Subscribe online at SRQMAG.COM/SUBSCRIBE. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Vol. 25, Issue 244 Copyright © 2022 SRQ MEDIA. SRQ: Live Local | Love Locall. Sarasota and Bradenton Area is published 10 times a year. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The entire contents of SRQ are copyrighted by Trafalger Communications, Inc. Column and department names are property of Trafalger Communications, Inc. and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION: Subscriptions to SRQ are $36 for 20 issues. Single copies are $4 at area newsstands.
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STORIES ABOUT THE LOCAL PEOPLE, PLACES AND EXPERIENCES THAT DEFINE OUR HOMETOWN
Below: Banyan Coffee Co., Bradenton, 34205, banyancoffeecompany.com, @banyan_coffee_co
COCKPIT TO COFFEE
How a curiosity for coffee led to an unexpected career change—from tarmac to roasterie Kellianne Hoton
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srqist TRANSPIRING FROM SHEER CURIOSITY AND A HANKERING FOR “BETTER COFFEE,” the evolution of Banyan Coffee Co.—a specialty
roaster in Bradenton—was far from expected for husband and wife Josh and Abbey Schmitt.“I actually never used to have a desire for coffee,” admits Josh laughingly, “but during my time in aviation, that was really the only thing available, and all the other pilots would drink it. So I eventually did too, but started wanting to see what other options were out there.”
Powered, at the time, by a single popcorn popper, Josh’s humble ardor for experimenting with different coffee beans unwittingly sprouted into a burgeoning side hustle as word of his freshly roasted creations began to circulate. “I really enjoyed sharing all the different coffee options with others. So everytime I found something I liked, I would make more for fellow pilots, friends and family. Over time, I ended up accumulating 20 to 30 popcorn poppers in my garage, with four to six of them going at a time.” With a growing list of coffee orders and full-time job flying, Josh found himself at a crossroads that would ultimately pave the way for Banyan Coffee Co.’s success. “My passion for coffee roasting was never intended to be a business,” reflects Josh, “but my wife always encouraged me to do what I love. So I started thinking: What do I love? I loved aviation, but then I also loved coffee and wanted to start a family, have kids. As a pilot, you’re always traveling, so it was either a flying career or married life. That at the time was difficult. “Now, two adorable children, a supportive wife and a thriving coffeeroasting business later, Josh Schmitt says with great ease, “I look back and see it was a no brainer.”SRQ This page: Banyan Coffee Co. roasts and delivers ethically sourced, specialty coffee to numerous wholesale locations, small business owners and individual consumers, staying true to its passionate roots for sharing “better coffee” with the community—on and off the ground. 14 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
IMAGES COURTESY OF BANYAN COFFEE.
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This page: “Spheres Bubble Show,” visit spheresbubbleshow.com.
BEWITCHED BY BUBBLES
Blaise Ryndes, creator of the Spheres Bubble Show.
BLAISE RYNDES HAS BEEN MAKING MAGIC SINCE HE WAS NINE, but bewitching crowds with bubble art is his passion du jour. Appearing on
Season 13 of America’s Got Talent, the local phenom made bubbles with Howie Mandel, put Tyra Banks inside of a giant bubble and received a standing ovation. Since then, he’s taken his act back to Sarasota, presenting his all-ages “Spheres Bubble Show” this past January in the outdoor courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. His act was billed as a mix of Cirque du Soleil meets Blue Man Group and a “comedic fusion of art, science and magic. I absolutely loved performing at the Bazaar. It was a delight watching the smiling faces of all the children and families that were captivated by my show,” Ryndes says. “Festive bubbles filled the air and created a truly magical atmosphere.” He has since scored bookings across the country at Disney World, the Boston Children’s Museum, The Florida Aquarium and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Ryndes will also be performing in his brand-new “Expand The Universe Tour” on June 26 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. SRQ 16 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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LOCAL PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS+CULTURE
This page: The Sarasota Film Festival
poster designed by Christopher Tuscan of Dog Hosue Studio.
IMAGES COURTESY OF SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL.
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CINEMATIC SARASOTA Sarasota Film Festival returns for its 24th year with fresh programming and events. Abby Weingarten
ON THE TROPICAL THEMED 24TH ANNIVERSARY POSTER FOR THE SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL (SFF), a tagline reads: “Upstream with a Paddle: Navigating Film and Streaming Content in a Topsy-Turvy World.” The verbiage sums up the vibe (and goal) of this year’s ten-day event, which has gracefully pivoted during the pandemic to a hybrid experience. From April 1 to 10, spectators can continue to view a slew of ﬁlms both in person and virtually. “Each year, we have learned a bit more about how to best navigate the pandemic while also maintaining the integrity of the Festival for our ﬁlmmakers and patrons,” says Mark Famiglio, SFF’s chairman and president. “Since 2021, we have adopted a hybrid in-person and virtual format that has been very well-received by our audiences.”
This page: Some of
Built into the programming are screenings of 150plus ﬁlms (shorts and features), as well as a “Hollywood Nights” event that adds another 20 student-made short ﬁlms. Pre-pandemic, about 50,000 people attended the festival annually. In 2020, the event was entirely virtual. “Last year, only about a third of our titles screened in person, but this year we will continue to build on that momentum by screening dozens of ﬁlms for audiences while following all recommended local health guidelines and protocols,” Famiglio says. “Those who are comfortable can choose to participate in the Festival in Sarasota for its entire 10-day duration. We’re so excited to welcome back more ﬁlmmakers, talent, critics and more to the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast this year.” Founded in 1998, SFF has been known over the decades for showing a diverse mix of independent and international narratives. There have been corresponding events, such as parties and private receptions to honor guest ﬁlmmakers, street festivals, and black-tie dinners and concerts, where celebrity entertainers and ﬁlmmakers make appearances. For the past three years, there has also been extensive year-round programming like the “Visions of the Black Experience” ﬁlm series (which focuses on illuminating the historical, social and cultural aspects of Black life through cinema). The Sarasota Film Festival has also produced an annual Native American ﬁlm series since 2019, as well as educational ﬁlm contests for students (a collaboration with the Sarasota County School System), a classic ﬁlm “Cinematheque” series, outdoor screenings, and summer ﬁlm camps.
“This April, we will be programming a music sidebar at the Festival that will host some incredible talent and inspiring documentaries that feature some of the greatest names in music—across all genres and generations,” Famiglio says. “We will also host a street party on April 8 to bring together the Sarasota community to celebrate the city’s best oﬀerings in art and culture. It’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful Sarasota weather while keeping everyone healthy and safe.” Christopher Tuscan of Dog House Studio, who designed the vibrant “Upstream with a Paddle” Festival poster for 2022 (after submitting a proposal and winning the local contest), hopes his cover art will entice newcomers to the event. The blue poster, with seagulls ﬂying overhead, and alligators and dolphins swimming below, shows a kayaker navigating through the Florida waterscape. “My ﬁrst thought was to approach the design from a bird’s eye perspective for the navigation aspect. This thought process was taught to me while attending Ringling College of Art and Design,” Tuscan says. “From there on, everything was going to be a topical view. So I searched for the images that would ﬁt the concept and then the design began to take shape. The kayak and mangroves told the navigation side. The Florida wildlife images just came naturally.” And that story is about adaptation, of course, as the Festival continues to swim toward “streaming” content in entirely new ways. SRQ
the headliners this year include American smooth jazz saxophonist, composer and producer Kenny G and the screening of the ﬁlm Montana following the story of two estranged siblings who return home to the sprawling ranch they once knew and loved, confronting a deep and bitter family legacy against a mythic American backdrop. For more information on the Sarasota Film Festival, visit sarasotaﬁlmfestival. com.
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culture city This page: “I try to
create spaces that are conducive to the playwright doing their best work. I don’t believe that you should only write what you know, but I do believe in helping the playwright understand the context and culture of their story’s setting.” — Adam Ashraf Elsayigh
CURATING NEW WORLDS Dramaturg and literary manager Adam ashraf elsayigh at Asolo Repertory Theatre discusses how his background impacts his new role. Dylan Campbell
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IN SARASOTA, A NEW VOICE IN THEATER HAS ARRIVED
— one with a breadth of experience so different, that the worlds he curates give us no choice but to reflect upon our own. Adam Ashraf Elsayigh entered into his first season as Literary Manager and Dramaturg of Asolo Repertory Theatre this past November. An Egyptian immigrant and playwright, Adam’s award winning plays for example Revelation, which garnered the Himan Brown Playwriting Award, have explored how immigration and queerness complicate the American identity. He sat down with SRQ to discuss his unique background and how his artistic vision influences his new role at Asolo Repertory Theatre. SRQ: You grew up in a Muslim household in Dubai, but had access to American cable television and attended a British school. How does this intersection of culture inform who you are as an artist and what you do as a Dramaturg? Adam Ashraf Elsayigh: It informs everything that I do. I grew up in a lot of different places, each one informing how I think about the world and how I curate new stories. When I first came to the United States, I struggled with the label of being an ‘American playwright’ or ‘Immigrant playwright’. I eventually realized that being an immigrant is part of what makes me an American playwright — I’m writing about subjects such as immigration and queerness that have not historically been perceived as American. As both a playwright and Dramaturg, I aim to complicate the American identity. When developing new plays I ask myself, “How are we engaging the subjects of immigration? Are our plays all Americana plays? What does it mean to work with immigrant playwrights? How are we depicting nationhood?”
What will you be doing as Dramaturg and Literary Manager at Asolo Rep? I define Dramaturgy, especially in my role at Asolo Repertory Theatre, as cultural translation. That process takes shape over three different phases. The first phase of my role happens when the play is still in development. When describing a Dramaturg to a non-theater person, I always will say, “When a novelist submits a first draft of a novel to a publisher, there is someone who analyzes it. They analyze the novel’s structure, what it means, and how the reader will react to the novel before giving feedback to the novelist.” That’s what I do with plays and playwrights. As a playwright myself, I’m trained in play structure and analysis — understanding what the engine of a play is. I love working with writers to help them reach the best, most vulnerable, most exciting and most dramatic version of their work. The second phase happens once play is locked and is being developed for production. I’m supporting the creative theme, from the actors to the director. On the institutional and theater end, that also means that I’m often supporting creative teams as they are trying to realize, trying to decode, to understand, to interpret the text. For example, in our upcoming production of Our Town, a play written in 1934, but set in 1901, much of the language is not language that we use anymore. Providing the actors with the modern equivalent of that language informs how they move through and process
the text. Finally, the third phase — where the most traditional definition of the term takes hold — occurs when the play is set to release. The term “dramaturgy” comes from a theory in the 19th Century German Enlightenment which argues that everything that happens from when the audience hears the title of the play to the moment they leave the theater, is all a part of the experience of the play. My job is to curate that experience—empowering the audience with knowledge, notes, and ideas that help them better digest the play. It’s putting the text in conversation with the larger world.
How do you curate the audience’s experience? It could look like 100 different things from creating the playbill to crafting the email audience members receive when they purchase their tickets. If it’s Our Town, that email will include a video on what it was like to live in 1930s New Hampshire. If it’s Grant Horizons, there might be a virtual tour of the retirement home the characters live in. At the theater, it includes curating the talkbacks — what is the audience’s experience and how are we taking them on a journey beyond the text? It’s all about finding innovative ways to connect the audience to the play. If you’re doing a zoom production, for instance, it’s creating a way for audiences to engage with each other when they’re alone in their apartments. How would you balance the operational aspect of putting the finishing touches on a play with working on new play development? Our Producing Director Michael Donald Edwards told me that, “There’s no set job description for a dramaturg because you have to take on the role and decide what it means for you.” I think if you interviewed every institutional dramaturg in the country, their day to day of their job would look very different. At Asolo, because we are a producing theater, much of my focus tends to be on supporting the creative team and supporting the audience element rather than working with playwrights on developing the text. That being said, my background as a dramaturg is primarily in new play development. It’s working with new plays and cultivating emerging writers. Part of what drew me to the Asolo was the chance to foster new play development in an institutional theater. Our Ground Floor series, which happens concurrently with every season on our main stage, gives me the chance to do just that. It’s focused on the development and workshopping of a play—not to serve a final product but to support the playwright.
Can you walk us through the season selection process at the Asolo Rep and how a script moves from development to production? I’m not in any way the ultimate decision maker — Michael Donald Edwards is. However, season selection is a collaborative process. Michael, Celine Rosenthal, our Associate Artistic Director, and I will read probably 70 or 80 plays before we land on the six, seven, or eight that we produce. We will each meet on a weekly basis and discuss our thoughts on the plays we read and if they’d be good for our audience. Each of us could not have more different tastes from one another—which has made for such a wonderful learning experience. Regarding production, every play is different. Some plays are two-handers (only two main characters) that don’t require a set and the playwright submits
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culture city a really great first draft. More often than not, however, plays will take a solid five years of development along with countless hours of workshopping. Because of scarcity and the numbered reality of our world, not every great play will be developed. Not every great play that gets developed will be produced. You just have to enjoy the process itself. If you don’t, you’re always going to be unhappy in the theater.
How do you guide playwrights to a space where they can create their most vulnerable and authentic work? First of all, it’s making sure that I am not writing the play, which is to say I would never sit a playwright down and tell them, “This character is not working, because what they really should be doing is this.” Instead of me saying, “No, that’s actually not what you want to do,” what I would say is, “Tell me more about why. Why does this character have to take this action?” Perhaps the most important skill of being a dramaturg is knowing how to ask really good questions. That process involves gaining the artist’s trust while also trusting their vision. I want to be someone who’s helping them write the play that they want to write instead of someone who’s forcing them to write the play the “correct way”. Additionally, I try to create spaces that are conducive to the playwright doing their best work. I don’t believe that you should only write what you know, but I do believe in helping the playwright understand the context and culture of their story’s setting. In the writer’s room, I want to bring in people with the right identities and cultural knowledge to help tell the story most authentically. That could include the addition of a cultural consultant, another dramaturg, or the correct actors for the roles. This process applies when telling stories set in any culture, regardless of race or background — I need to know the limitations of the playwright’s knowledge, so that I can bring in the right people to help best serve the story.
In your writing, you’ve mentioned that you’re often rendering people who haven’t had a chance to be fully represented and that intersect with your own experiences. How does that inform new stories? When I came into American theater as an immigrant and a playwright, I had this grandiose artistic vision of wanting people who look like, sound like, or share some identities with me to be represented on stage. That vision, however, didn’t coalesce with the productions of institutional theaters — traditionally, the dramaturgs at such establishments are not people who look like me or share my experiences. That made me realize that to carry out my vision I couldn’t just be a playwright, but needed to be a curator and an artistic producer as well. That same impulse informs why I want to produce something like the Ground Floor series. It informs why I’m interested in curating and being a part of the spaces that I get to be in in this role. However, I’m cognizant that the stories I want to advocate for and that I want Asolo to present are going to be culturally different from who our audiences are. The question then becomes how do we tell these stories in ways that not only translate to and excite our audiences, but also make them feel like they’ve been changed by the experience? SRQ 24 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
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GOOD HERO FEATURE
BRIAN MARIASH CIMA®, AAMS® |
Senior Vice President, Mariash Lowther Wealth Management
BRIAN MARIASH WAS RECOGNIZED AS A 2021 SRQ GOOD HERO PHILANTHROPIC AWARD HONOREE. WE SPOKE WITH HIM ABOUT HOW AND WHY HE CULTIVATES SUCH A STRONG SPIRIT FOR GI VING BACK STARTING BY ASKING HOW HIS PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE INFORMS HIS PHILANTHROPIC WORK. Working with primarily retired clients for almost 20 years I have had the privilege of seeing what is possible philanthropically by my mentors and role models. By watching these amazing individuals make their impact in our community I was given a “road map” on how to maximize my contributions early on in my career. Giving back is perhaps the most important thing we can do. The human condition is such that some are afforded much better opportunities—natural gifts or simply the good fortune of not having external things happen beyond our control. Those who have the means to help, have a responsibility to help those that cannot help themselves---children, animals, those with special needs, the elderly . . . there are so many groups that would suffer if not for those taking the time to take care of them. My personal phi-
losophy is that I have a duty to maximize my impact on the community and world. SHARE ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD IN YOUR PHILANTHROPIC WORK? There are really too many to name the “most” but I get a very special feeling when introducing others to missions which which they become deeply involved. In my profession, I fee like I have a “megaphone” and my voice can be amplified infinitely louder by the number of individuals I can connect to a mission that gives their life more meaning. Personally and philosophically/spiritually charitable work is what makes my “heart sing.” It is the one thing I would do if I could do anything. The return is that I get to work for families that also have similar value systems and connect with amazing individuals as a result. HOW CAN BUSINESSES PARTNER MOST EFFECTIVELY WITH NONPROFITS FOR A WINWIN? There are so many ways. Giving employees the ability to take time (paid) to volunteer for missions that are important to them creates employee satisfaction and reduces turnover.
Happier employees take better care of their customers and their bosses so this is clearly a win for the business as well as a win for the non profit. You don’t have to cut big checks to help out a nonprofit or to benefit from your focus on helping missions. People buy from companies who are giving back to the community. Why spend a dollar at one business when another business is donating back a certain percentage to the community? Consumers are much more thoughtful about this. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF PHILANTHROPIC AND CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS? Both corporate and individual philanthropists will fund major initiatives such as ending homelessness and hunger and even addressing our healthcare crisis—allowing the government to pay them back with a return based on how effectively they quantifiably made an impact. All of these major issues cost the government billions if not trillions of dollars each year and if private philanthropic capital can be raised to solve these issues the government would gladly pay back the investors given the ROI they are receiving.
OUR MISSION AT MARIASH LOWTHER WEALTH MANAGEMENT IS TO EDUCATE, CONNECT AND CONTRIBUTE | CONNECT AT 941.364.5671
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BOUTIQUE SHOPPING, HOME DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE AND TRENDS
APRIL SHOWERS prepare for Florida spring showers with vibrant umbrellas, jackets and rain-bearing accessories. Compiled by Arianna Boenker | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan
WATERPROOF WANDERING Sea To Summit EVac Dry Sack 13L Paciﬁc Blue, $35; Unisex Peregrine Lightweight Poncho Blue $6.99; Environeers, 5373 Fruitville Rd., 941-3716208, environeers.com, @environeerssrq. Umbrella Earrings, $18; Lightning Strike Cloud Earrings, $16; CC Beanie Leopard Reversible Rain Bucket Hat, $21; Apricot Lane Boutique, 464 John Ringling Blvd., 941-960-1435, apricotlaneboutique.com/sarasota, email@example.com. Galleria Reversible Rain Cape, $65; Molly’s a Chic and Unique Boutique, 1874 Stickney Point Rd., 941-921-1221, mollyssarasota.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. srq magazine_ APR22 live local | 27
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BRIGHTLY SHELTERED Womens Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket in Stellar Blue, $149; Davek Mini Umbrella in Turquoise, $59; Environeers, 5373 Fruitville Rd., 941-371-6208, environeers.com, @environeerssrq. Spartina Umbrella, $35; Inverted Umbrella, $30; Umbrella in a Bottle, $25; Molly’s a Chic and Unique Boutique, 1874 Stickney Point Rd., 941-9211221, mollyssarasota.com, email@example.com. 28 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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KING OF VINTAGE
Couture and conversation with Cameron Silver of Decades.
T.GEORGIANO’S BOUTIQUE HOSTED AN AFTERNOON OF CONVERSATION AND CURATED VINTAGE FASHION WITH CAMERON SILVER,
founder of Decades Inc., acclaimed vintage retail store in Los Angeles. Worshiped by fashionistas and collectors alike for an unparalleled collection, designer clothing and accessories date from the 1920s to today. After interviewing Silver, it became clear that he’s been called the “King of Vintage’’ for good reason. 30 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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cargo SRQ: When did you first become interested in fashion? Cameron Silver: I’m an only child, and my parents would take me to see every movie with them because it was cheaper than getting a babysitter. So a lot of my earlier inspiration came from films. The inception of it though was in 1977 when they took me to see Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. I fell in love with Diane Keaton’s look. It was somewhat masculine: fedora hat, vest, baggy khakis, undone loose ties. Very Dietrichinspired. My parents ended up getting me a similar outfit and I wore it to Fred Segal, that sort of seminal L.A. store, and every sales associate freaked out at how cute I looked. That’s when I first realized the power of fashion and self-expression.
What encouraged you to open Decades (age 27, 1997)? Did you always know you wanted to own a boutique? If not, how did that come to fruition? Decades was a total fortuitous accident. I enjoyed playing shop as a kid and worked retail all through high school into college, but I initially got into acting and singing because I loved theater and Broadway. I even did an album in the mid 90s I thought I’d win a Grammy for. But although I was good, I wasn’t that good. So I ultimately had to emotionally mature and be honest with myself in order to move past that dream and succeed elsewhere. From there Decades just sort of happened, with no anticipation of it becoming what it is today. That’s why I tell young people you can’t control your destiny— sometimes you have to surrender to fate and fortuity.
How would you describe the impact fashion has on culture? Fashion is paramount because it’s a barometer of how we lived, live, and will live. There’s a reason why the most financially lucrative exhibitions at museums tend to be fashion exhibitions, because it’s a fairly tangible way for people to learn about history. You can look at the progression of fashion and see women’s liberation happening, the sexual revolution happening, imancipation— there is so much rich history you can see happening through the clothing and shoes worn throughout time. And that’s why I like to say that what I do is kind of the United Nations of fashion because it brings people together.
You have an impressive list of accomplishments, from opening a boutique, writing a book, styling celebrities, starring in a reality TV show. Is there an achievement you are most proud of or were perhaps most surprised by? Oh, hands down the time I was named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Names and Faces in Fashion.” I honestly didn’t think it was real. I got a call from this random British number and thought: “Who in the world is pulling this elaborate joke?” But it was legitimate and really momentous because that was a time when getting attention was difficult, and I had only been in business a couple years. So very unexpected.
How is working in fashion different today than from when you first started? It’s night and day. I think the biggest difference is that things were not ubiquitous back when I began, stores weren’t everywhere. Now, everything 32 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
is everywhere. I remember as a kid waiting to hear that September Vogue magazine drop inside the mailbox. That was the first time you would get to see what is happening in fashion. Now you can go on social media and see instantly. That’s why with Decades, we try to keep it more visceral and in the moment. Only a couple things live online to promote that in-person shopping experience, and everything is ephemeral—you either take what you want now or you lose it.
What advice would you give someone looking to grow within the fashion industry? I do a lot of mentorship with younger people, which I’m very passionate about. Plus I’m an only child, so I might need someone to change my diaper in five or so years—so I have my own agenda, too. But I tell them you have to know your fashion. Read my book, go into thrift shops, learn about designers, work in retail. I always say the best thing to do is work in a store, because for fashion, especially fashion designers, it means nothing until you get it on someone. It’s all about matchmaking. So I think it’s important to work in a store and experience how people feel in certain clothing, what they gravitate towards and why they buy it.
What other dreams or ambitions remain on your professional bucket list? I’ve always wanted my own brand, that’s probably the top achievement I’d still like to accomplish. I’ve done a lot of collaborations, but not quite something of my own yet. I’ve also directed numerous brands, but have never had a creative director gig, which is something I’d love to do. Oh, and there’s a new TV project that was pitched to me that I’m pretty excited about. It really hits on that United Nations of fashion philosophy I mentioned earlier, and how—similarly to that of food—fashion brings us together. There hasn’t really been a good show about fashion since Style with Elsa Klensch 25 years ago, or Jeanne Beker doing fashion files. And it would allow me to do something with fashion, travel and culture. SRQ PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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S R Q M A G A Z I N E | S P E C I A L C O N T E N T M A R K E T I N G F E AT U R E | A P R I L 2 0 2 2
GUIDE TO COLLEGES
NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA
STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA,
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA,
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SRQ MAGAZINE | APRIL 2022
NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA
CURRICULUM HIGHLIGHTS CONTRACTS Instead of choosing classes that conform to a core curriculum, you’ll work with your faculty advisor and develop a contract that outlines your personal academic goals each semester. It is a comprehensive overview of the many ways you can put your passion into practice, including research projects, internships, and study abroad.
JANUARY TERM In January, you will spend the month working with a professor on a research project, lab experiment, or creative exercise. You may also use the time to study abroad, participate in an off-campus internship, or put together your own art exhibit or performance.
SENIOR CAPSTONE PROJECT The culmination of your New College education is the senior capstone project. Your project can be a research paper, findings from a scientific study, a body of artwork, a theatrical production, or your own creative product. You will present your capstone project to a faculty committee prior to graduation.
At New College, we welcome students to join our community of curious and creative minds in “We have a unique curriculum a campus environment that promotes deep and that emphasizes self-directed meaningful connections. While we offer more learning, intellectual riskthan 45 majors ranging across the natural scitaking, and an entrepreneurial ences, humanities, arts, and social sciences, mindset. As a result, our we encourage individual agency and support graduates go on to achieve students as they design their own educational professional success across and learning experiences. Our unique approach a broad range of careers allows students to break from predetermined and industries.” paths to become the changemakers of the future. Ranked among the nation’s Top 5 public Patricia Okker, liberal arts colleges by US News & World RePresident, New College of Florida port, New College offers an education tailored to individual learning styles, academic interests, and career aspirations. Thanks to New College’s nationally-recognized approach to academic and career integration, students graduate prepared for the future. All students experience one-onone career planning with their personal career coach and create a step-by-step plan for their future. Our nationally award-winning internship programs offer hands-on experiences that enable students to launch their careers even before graduation.
NCF offers more than 45 majors in natural sciences, mathematics, arts, humanities, and social sciences, dual degrees in liberal arts and engineering with University of Florida, a master’s degree in applied data science, and certiﬁcates in business and technology skills.
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SRQ MAGAZINE | APRIL 2022
STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA
CURRICULUM HIGHLIGHTS ASSOCIATE IN ARTS DEGREE SCF’s Associate in Arts degree is for students who, upon graduation from SCF, transfer to a public or private college/university to earn a bachelor’s degree in a specific area of study. SCF’s Associate in Science degrees provide practical training and critical thinking skills to help graduates enter the workforce immediately in well-paying jobs.
BACCALAUREATE DEGREES SCF offers five baccalaureate degrees in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Health Services Administration, Nursing, Public Safety and Emergency Management, and Supervision and Management.
TECHNICAL AND ADVANCED CERTIFICATES SCF offers 36 technical and advanced certificates that train students in a specific field. Most certificates include credits that translate directly to the requirements for an associate degree, and some can be completed in as little as one year.
STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA, MANATEE-SARASOTA (SCF) boldly leading in “We offer access to high-impact, its community and in the rapidly changing low-cost higher education. At SCF, higher education landscape. Following strategic priorities for opporwe will always do what we say, detunity, growth, quality and diversification, liver on our promises and provide a SCF works with community partners to strong return on investment for our meet the region’s workforce needs. As students, donors and taxpayers.” an open-access and student-focused institution, SCF provides flexible scheduling, Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld convenient options for in-person or online President of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota learning, affordable tuition, and success coaches who provide academic and career guidance. Financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, federal financial aid and payment plans remove barriers to attaining a degree. SCF offers more than 30 workforce degrees, three dozen certificates and five bachelor’s degrees to provide students opportunities to work in high-demand careers. An array of signature offerings engages students and the community. From accelerated dual enrollment for high school students, a nationally renowned nursing program, the honors program, and university partnerships such as Gator Engineering, SCF is at the forefront of teaching the skills employers are seeking. In addition to its high standards for educating students, SCF offers the only full college experience in Manatee and Sarasota counties, with intercollegiate athletics, student clubs, and fine and performing arts. Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development provides noncredit continuing education, personal enrichment, and some credit-related programs, with services at SCF locations and community, business and industry sites. The programs offered through this division can help a student rapidly earn a new credential to rejoin the workforce, launch a new career or advance their current one. In the new 26 West Center, opportunities abound for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their business and for future programmers to learn new technologies in the SCF Coding Academy. SCF has campuses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice, a future Parrish campus, and online education offered in self-paced or live-video formats. SCF has campuses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice, a future Parrish campus, and online education offered in self-paced or live-video formats.
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SRQ MAGAZINE | APRIL 2022
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA SARASOTA-MANATEE CAMPUS
CURRICULUM HIGHLIGHTS EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Our students benefit from hundreds of experiential learning opportunities. The SarasotaManatee campus features access to 12 Bloomberg terminals for students to learn real-time market analysis, biology labs at Mote Marine Laboratory, a nursing skills lab for hospital simulation and hospitality teaching labs at the world’s largest hotel brands.
ALUMNI NETWORKING With over 17,000 USF alumni i n the Sarasota-Manatee area, our students and graduates have a wealth of networking, internship, mentorship and career opportunities.
FACULTY RESEARCH The Sarasota-Manatee campus fully embraces the importance of faculty research and provides plenty of opportunities for students to engage in this discovery process that enhances their critical thinking skills and positions them for career success.
WE ARE AMERICA’S FASTEST RISING UNIVERSITY The University of South Flor“We believe that student success ida is the fastest-rising university in Ameriis community success. Most of our ca over the past decade, public or private, students are from our community according to U.S. News and World Report and will contribute to its prosper(U.S. News) 2022 Best Colleges rankings. ity and growth as future leaders, For the third consecutive year, USF ranks entrepreneurs and innovators.” as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities. A Preeminent State Research University with an annual economic impact of Karen A. Holbrook, PhD Regional Chancellor, USF Sarasota-Manatee campus over $6 billion, USF’s three distinctive campuses in Sarasota-Manatee, St. Petersburg and Tampa offer unique experiences all with a commitment to student success. Located at the border of Sarasota and Manatee counties, USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus features a unique, personalized learning environment for students seeking undergraduate and graduate programs. The campus is unique in fostering a genuine sense of community, both inside and outside the classroom. Class sizes are small and faculty know and support students as they work to achieve their career goals. The university works closely with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other educational institutions to develop practical curricula that challenge students to develop the skills needed to meet the workforce demands of our community. A multitude of opportunities engage students in internships, study abroad, research projects with faculty and consulting to gain practical experience. At the University of South Florida, our trajectory speaks to our commitment to student success and faculty and research excellence, and we are proud to be a top choice destination for high-achieving students locally. Join us as we strengthen USF’s impact, not only for our students but also for communities and businesses. The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus serves the local region through programs focused on business, health sciences, risk management and insurance, cybersecurity, education, criminal justice, hospitality and other areas that beneﬁt our community. Courses are delivered on campus, online and through hybrid instruction, making it convenient for students to work while completing their education. Financial aid and generous scholarships are available to help students, many of whom are the ﬁrst in their families to attend college, veterans who have served our country and working adults who are returning to complete their degrees or upskill. The campus also offers dual-enrollment courses enabling high school students to earn college credits as they work toward graduation.
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forage LOCAL EPICUREAN ADVENTURES AT THE TABLE
Below: Miso Ramen at Rokkin Ramen Pop-Up Kitchen at 99 Bottles,.
THE ANTITHESIS OF THE PRE-PACKAGED MARUCHAN IN THE PANTRY —these local takes on the standard ramen recipe (of what is typically wheat noodles, miso, soy sauce and ﬁshbased broth) are ﬂavorfully fresh. There’s the Rokkin Ramen Pop-Up Kitchen at 99 Bottles, Motoneko Café & Izakaya, Goichi’s Sushi Café, FushiPoke and other locales now boiling over with elevated ramen variations. Abby Weingarten
RAMEN REVIVAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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forage The Rokkin Ramen Pop-Up Kitchen at 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottleshop is available from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays with hand-rolled noodles and dim sum. It’s first-come, first-serve until the food sells out, and the chef’s menu for each week is posted the day of the event. The ramen pop-up concept was born out of an idea between chefs Eddy Ismail, Anthony Petralia and Billy Simpson, shares 99 Bottles Proprietor Mark Tuchman. “Three local chefs wanted to be a part of an exciting and evolving dining scene in greater Sarasota, looking to bring delicious fun to their guests,” he says. Now Rokkin’ Ramen serves handcrafted, classic ramen noodles with savory broth—ranging from tonkotsu to miso. The tonkotsu broth is made using a time-honored recipe that involves boiling down pork bones for hours until a milky, silky broth is achieved. The
umami-rich miso broth is strictly vegan and gluten-free, flavored with only Japanese-style fermented soybean paste and no animal byproducts. “From delicious meats to Japanese soft-boiled eggs to vegetables, only the highest-quality ingredients are allowed to accompany our ramen bowls,” Tuchman says. For the dim sum (small plates), pot stickers are handrolled with braised short ribs in a gochujang sauce; and the edamame is tossed in an Asian spicy, crunchy mix. Soon, the dim sum menu soon will feature crab Rangoon that is fried to order over a sweet mango chili sauce; agedashi (fried tofu with soy glaze and bonita flakes); a Japanese seaweed salad with agar and soy dressing; and tsukune (Japanese chicken meatballs with sesame seeds and a sweet soy glaze).
Above left to right: Tonkotsu, a delicious pork-based broth ramen from FushiPoke.
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At Motoneko Café & Izakaya, Executive Chef Maria Palafox presents authentic Japanese ramen and other inspired light bites. “The signature ‘Fat Boy’ ramen starts with Nissin noodles (the No. 1 noodle brand in Japan) and either tonkotsu (pork-based) or shoyu (soy-based) broths,” says Tom Frascone, a founder and operating partner of Motoneko. “A tender slab of marinated pork belly is caramelized using the traditional hand torch method.” The pork belly is then added to the ramen along with an assortment of beans and veggies (edamame, corn, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots), a marinated “ramen egg” and a Japanese “seven-spice” seasoning, and garnished with a square of dried nori (seaweed). The meal is complemented by a full menu of Japanese beer and sake, and a rotating selection of wines. “Chef Palafox researched traditional Japanese recipes to create the broth options, which are prepared the slow way—using fresh, authentic ingredients,” Frascone says. Motoneko also uses locally-roasted beans from Amity Brothers Coffee Co. to create a variety of coffee and espresso drinks. Boba and looseleaf teas are brewed to order, and other Japanese soft drinks (such as Ramune sodas) are always on hand. 44 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
Goichi’s Sushi Café, which is mainly a takeout restaurant serving sushi and ramen, features 100 percent fresh noodles. “Our ramen noodles are made fresh on the premises using our noodle machine,” says owner Goichi Matsumoto. “And the ramen noodle recipe is very basic, consisting of bread flour, water and kansui [a solution of potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate that offers alkalinity to the noodles, giving them their springy texture and yellowish color].” Goichi’s most popular noodle item is the Pork Ramen 9, which comes with chashu pork, egg, spinach and bamboo shoots in a miso broth (and the Shio Chicken Ramen with chicken broth is also a hit). At FushiPoke, diners can choose their own ramen (shoyu, miso, spicy and tonkotsu). The varieties come with shiitake mushrooms, soy egg, scallions, bean sprouts, kamaboko, garlic oil, chili oil and nori (and pulled pork and corn, depending on the option). Add protein to the mix, like pork belly, grilled chicken, tofu or tempura shrimp, and finish with a Japanese soda or cold sake.Other area spots for ramen include Utamaro Sushi Bar and JPAN Sushi & Grill, which both serve a $15 bowl with tonkotsu broth, egg and charsui pork. And that’s just scratching the surface of the ramen ‘round town. Keep an eye out for new, flavorful twists on the noodle fave. SRQ
Above: Motoneko Café & Izakaya’s Fat Boy ramen bowl.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
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ASK THE EXPERT 2011 BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
Darcie Duncan CRS, GRI, CLHMS |
2013 SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR FINALIST 2014 MANATEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2019 ANNA MARIA ISLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE —LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST
Broker-Owner, Duncan Real Estate, Inc
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES OR ‘NEW FRONTIERS’ DO YOU SEE WITHIN YOUR INDUSTRY THAT SRQ READERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? Our industry is constantly evolving and we certainly have seen that over the last 18 months. That has created new frontiers for sure. Client expectations have grown, especially in our luxury market. The vacation rental home market is changing, too. We are moving in to what we refer to as the guest experience, creating custom activities individually tailored to each guest, whether that be paddle boarding, sunset cruises, backwater kayak tours, fishing guides, private boat charters, in-home chefs and more. I am really excited to see what the next chapter has in store for us.
WHAT SETS YOU APART? IN WHAT WAYS DOES DUNCAN REAL ESTATE DIFFER FROM OTHER REALTORS? Duncan Real Estate is a boutique company but offers everything that a large firm offers. I always tell people that we all have the same tools in the tool box but it’s how we use those tools that sets us apart. We keep our dollars local, supporting locally-owned businesses. We do business by creating relationships and not only do clients look to us for real estate services, but as a resource. So many of our clients are from out of the area and look to us for guidance, whether that be interior design, pool construction, landscape design, professional services down to the pet sitter. Our in-depth knowledge and resources have been built on decades of creating relationships. We are true locals of the area with deep roots and connectors for our clients.
HOW DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY? It’s important to give back to the community that gives to you. We are community focused serving on numerous boards, committees and supporting our local non-profits. We have several organizations we work closely with – The Pace Center for Girls and the Anna Maria Island Community Center among several others.
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S R Q MAGA Z I N E | AP R I L 2022
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STORIES FROM OUR PHILANTHROPIC COMMUNITY
giving coast PAVING THE WAY A hero to countless boys and girls, Lee DeLieto is a man who knows how to make good things happen. Barbie Heit. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan
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THE LOVE AFFAIR BEGAN ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO. Lee
DeLieto Sr. attended a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club on Fruitville Road. When he noticed how excited the kids were to receive a gift and a Christmas meal, neither of which the vast majority had ever experienced, he was immediately hooked. From there, his devotion to youth and the community has grown. Lee remembers a young girl, about eight years old at the party. “She ran up to Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, hugged him and said “This is the best day of my life.’” Although he and his sister were raised just north of New York City and he holds degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Rochester Simon School of Business, Lee is very much a Sarasotan. With over 25 years of experience as a broker at Michael Saunders, he has solid commercial real estate knowledge and years of know-how to help clients achieve their goals. Having repeatedly received the “Top Commercial Real Estate Producer’’ recognition, Lee’s DeLieto’s name is well-known in town. In fact, it’s doubly well-known. In 2005, his son, Lee Jr. became his business partner and today, The DeLieto team includes four licensed commercial Realtors®. As for community service, Lee’s list of involvement is long. Currently, he holds the title of Chairman of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation where he was a member of the corporate board of directors for six years. He is a trustee for the American Red Cross Southwest Florida Chapter as well as the Michael Saunders Company Foundation, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. He was also a founder and board member of Insignia Bank (now Centennial) and President of the downtown Kiwanis Club, from which he gained a great deal of information and experience about our community. What inspires this philanthropic spirit? A follower of his Catholic upbringing and faith, Lee believes that if you lend to others, you should never expect repayment. If you give because you want to help others, it’s a true gift. “My sister and I were raised by caring parents who repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to assist others in need,” he says. “I
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
have never forgotten the lasting impression of their actions. Basically, I care and I am willing to share my good fortune via my time, treasure or talent.” Lee is especially grateful to Michael Saunders for encouraging him to be involved in the community when he first started working with her over two decades ago, and the gratitude seems to go both ways. The company’s founder and CEO has nothing but praise for her friend and colleague: “Lee is the epitome of the long-standing tradition of Michael Saunders & Company —doing what is right each and every day in the community and in business,” says Saunders. “He is a fine human being, extremely charismatic and a role model to many. A true hero and treasure to our community.” In December 2021, Lee DeLieto was awarded SRQ Magazine’s Good Hero Philanthropic Award for his 20 year-long devotion to the youth in our community through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. He has served as a dedicated leader for this organization and has made a positive and memorable impact across thousands of lives. Lee’s sense of duty to kids is tireless. During his 30 years of service, he has done everything in his power to ensure that every child has the support to achieve their full potential. His leadership ensured not just the smooth run of operations, but the expansion of the organization and a commitment to safe, continuous service during the pandemic. His steadfast devotion has helped the Club to truly be a trusted local institution. Bill Sadlo believes that Lee is paving the way for future leaders. “Lee’s sense of duty and commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties is remarkable,” he says. “With 30 years of service, he is a true ambassador for our Club members and our mission. Whether through personal investments, tireless outreach to new partners, or skilled leadership as on our Board, Lee’s commitment to the success of our kids and the sustainability of our organization is resolute. His vision and leadership helped us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and uphold our mission of reaching those who need us most. We are so grateful for all that Lee has given to our organization.” SRQ
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BEST OF SRQ LOCAL SRQ READERS SET A NEW RECORD IN THIS 14th ANNUAL BEST OF SRQ LOCAL COMPETITION. You spoke up, and we listened. From vets and videographers to cocktails and chiropractors, BOSRQ Local is back with a brand new batch of the cities’ ﬁnest fare, favorite services, most soughtafter places and beloved businesses—a grand tally thanks to all your voting (a record-breaking 78,000 votes to be exact!). Inspired by the collaborative, immersive Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry and Light exhibit currently residing at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, we pay homage to this inﬂuential photographer. “Robert Mapplethorpe was the most renowned photographer of the late twentieth century,” says Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “He is best known for his black-and-white photographs consisting of portraits, nudes, and still lifes. Many of his ﬁnest still lifes feature ﬂowers—and that is why we at Selby Gardens felt his work should be featured within a botanical garden context for the very ﬁrst time. Mapplethorpe made ﬂoral still life a signiﬁcant contemporary genre, heightening the status of photography as an art form in the process.” In bringing to life the winning experiences chosen by our readers, we play with the themes of expressive lighting and irreverent black and white candids to vividly capture the “best” experiences chose by our readers. And now we are happy to present you with the leading legends, the new voices and the rising nominees of this year’s competition. Together, they continue to put Sarasota and Manatee Counties on the map—proving evolutionary and eclectic aren’t just for the big cities. Ready, set, celebrate— #BOSRQ COMPILED BY ARIEL CHATES | JACOB OGLES PROGRAM PRODUCED BY HANNAH PETERSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN | WES ROBERTS
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THIS PAGE: Best Local Oysters from Brine Seafood and Raw Bar, Gulf Gate. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan
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RESTAURANTS &DINING BEST LOCAL TACO Mi Pueblo El Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina - University The near religious experience of finally finding the perfect trio of crispy tortilla, melty cheese and flavorful meat will have anyone saying ‘Holy Guacamole!’ Thankfully in Florida, you’re never far away from your next best Mexican meal and on this year’s search for Best Local Tacos, these spots were the absolute taco the town. It’s time for us to spill the beans on our winners. Salsa-ing into first—MI PUEBLO EL RESTAURANTE MEXICANO & CANTINA - UNIVERSITY takes Platinum while SCREAMING GOAT TAQUERIA nabbed Gold. REYNA’S TACQUERIA made the queso for Silver and creative CIRCO landed Bronze. Say hola to our Honorable
Mentions— Taco Jalisco (Inside Texaco Gas Station), Fire Tacos and Poppo’s Taqueria. -AC Melissa Tomasso (on Mi Pueblo El Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina - University): I love the personal attention and intimate environment. Food is fabulous. Lynn Graham (on Screaming Goat Taqueria): Food is consistently excellent. Sauces are made from scratch, very fresh produce, excellent meats and friendly staff. Sarah Lansky (on Reyna’s Tacqueria): Reyna’s is always fresh, flavorful and so yummy! Chef Gino is super talented. Michele Lewis (on Circo): Great vibes. Great margs. Great variety of tacos. Amazing queso! Platinum Winner- Mi Pueblo El Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina / Gold Winner- Screaming Goat Taqueria / Silver Winner- Reyna’s Taqueira / Bronze Winner- Circo.
BEST NEW LOCAL RESTAURANT
BEST LOCAL SUSHI Pacific Rim When deciding where to go for dinner, sushi is always the way to roll. It’s the one meal you’re better off letting someone else not cook—leaving the expert slicing, dicing and rolling to the professionals. This year PACIFIC RIM sea-weeded out the competition and took Platinum. JPAN - UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER had tons of soy-al fans and landed Gold. Chop-sticking their way into the top four, TSUNAMI SUSHI & HIBACHI won Silver while YUME SUSHI rolled away with Bronze. There were tons more places our readers thought were shrimply the best like Honorable Mentions JPAN - Shops at Siesta Row, Spice Station and Ichiban Restaurant & Sushi Bar. -AC Jennifer Icabalzeta (on Pacific Rim): Pacific Rim is the best sushi place, best fresh fish and best customer service. The owner is so nice, I feel like family when I go there. Ally Pallastrone (on JPAN - University Town Center): Not only is the sushi amazing but the chefs, servers and bartenders always go above and beyond for me every time I come in. Henry makes the most incredible rolls (always free styling something new for me) and Ricky is one of the most attentive and kind servers I have ever had (being the reason I always find myself coming back). Max makes a mean drink and is so creative with their cocktail menu! What more could you ask for? Becky Brothers (on Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi): Every sushi roll I have had there is mouth- wateringly amazing. Dana Keane (on Yume Sushi): Their rolls are always perfectly made and delicious. Their miso soup is the best I’ve had anywhere. I’ve never had a bad meal at Yume and I’ve eaten here a lot. The owners are also really nice people. Platinum Winner- Pacific Rim / Gold Winner- JPANUniversity Town Center / Silver Winner- Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi / Bronze Winner- Yume Sushi.
Brine Seafood and Raw Bar
BEST OYSTERS Brine Seafood and Raw Bar
Being the new kid on the block is hard, but these spots make it look easy. BRINE SEAFOOD AND RAW BAR broke onto the scene and made quite the splash as our voters Platinum pick. REEF CAKES dove into the competition and grabbed Gold, while TRIPLETAIL SEAFOOD & SPIRITS rounded out the top seafood trifecta and nabbed Silver. Eclectic Asian-fusion spot KOJO burst into town and collected Bronze. Narrowly missing out on the list this year is Honorable Mention newbie Tralia. -AC
Perhaps the most controversial of edible sea-creatures— the revered and feared oyster remains a love it or hate it menu item. For those who shell-ebrate the briny bivalves the clear favorite was Platinum winner BRINE SEAFOOD AND RAW BAR. Taking home Gold was readers favorite rocke-fella MONK’S STEAMER BAR INC while VERONICA FISH AND OYSTER put up a shell of a fight for Silver. PHILLIPPI CREEK OYSTER BAR was the pearl-fict fit for Bronze. It shucks to miss out but Honorable Mentions Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, Owens Fish Camp and Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant are still worth their sea-salt! -AC
Vanessa Bautista (on Brine Seafood and Raw Bar): The crab cakes are second to none! Their portions make every penny you spend worth it and their cocktails, fresh oyster bar and wine menu are amazing. Britney Palazzo (on Reef Cakes): They have delicious, locally caught food that just lights up your taste buds with every bite! We couldn’t enjoy this place more. Meagan Smith (on Tripletail Seafood & Spirits): Amazing seafood dishes and the best tripletail around. Great cocktail menu with the most delicious smoked old fashioned. Jessica Carlson (on KOJO): KOJO has an environment and energy unlike anything else going downtown. From the decor, feeling like you are in the trees when you dine- and the overall ambiance. I always feel good when I go to this restaurant, everyone who works there brings a great energy. I love the flair of the food, and the bartenders mix up some fabulous cocktails . . . I actually became a bourbon drinker because of their cocktail “black and gold”. KOJO has an excellent selection of healthy fare which is important to me being gluten free and mostly vegan. Platinum
Laurie Solliday (on Brine): Brine’s selection of cold water oysters changes every 2 days or more so that you can be sure you get the freshest and most delicious oysters in Sarasota. Lillian Ragolia (on Monk’s): Best Oysters because they are so fresh and delicious! Whether raw or the ultimate best “monkefellas” - these are the best in the state. The crab legs and clams are also awesome. They have a simple menu and expertly execute it. Tracey Fried (on Veronica): The best of the best since day one when they opened, always East coast and fresh, shucked with a smile by the most kind and entertaining staff, wine list perfection to pair with the briny bite of the oysters. Silvia Pereira (on Phillippi ): So delicious. Mouth watering and very fresh. Platinum Winner- Brine Seafood and Raw Bar / Gold Winner- Monk’s Steamer Bar / Silver Winner- Veronica Fish and Oyster / Bronze Winner- Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar.
Winner- Brine Seafood and Raw Bar / Gold Winner- Reef Cakes / Silver Winner- Tripletail Seafood & Spirits / Bronze Winner- Kojo.
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BEST LOCAL BARBECUE Brick’s Smoked Meats
THIS PAGE: The Umami Tsunami from the Platinum Winner in the Best Local Cocktail category, State Street Eating House + Cocktails. Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.
Best Be Quick could easily be the true meaning for BBQ, since the second smoked ribs, brisket or fluffy cornbread hit any table it’ll be gone in seconds. No matter the style you’re seeking— Texan, Carolina, Kansas City, barbeque always tastes like it was made with love. Not many foods require such dedication, but love is a key ingredient standing over a fire in the wee hours waiting for mouth-watering meats. Smoking the competition this year again was Platinum winner BRICK’S SMOKED MEATS while MOUTHOLE BBQ sizzled into second and nabbed Gold. Perennial crowd favorite NANCY’S BAR-B-Q AT LORRAINE CORNERS picked up Silver and STOTTLEMYER’S SMOKEHOUSE barbeque-d their way to Bronze. Readers also loved Honorable Mentions Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ & Catering, Alday’s BBQ and Smoquehouse. -AC Michele Pittenger (on Brick’s): Hands down it was the best brisket I’ve ever had - melt in your mouth. The side dishes were also delicious and the price was remarkably reasonable. Breanna Jones (on Mouthole BBQ): The uniqueness and deliciousness of each dish they create is out of this world. Not to mention, they’re such great people! We’ve hired them to cater our rehearsal dinner too. Bill McCormack (on Stottlemyer’s): Great place for dinner and a show and to meet up with friends. The best BBQ in town with delicious sides. Great bands like Ship of Fools and the Kara Nally Band for listening or to dance the night away. Wonderful service and staff make this our goto place for date night. Platinum Winner- Brick’s Smoked Meats / Gold Winner- Mouthole BBQ / Silver Winner- Nancy’s Bar-B-Q / Bronze Winner- Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse.
BEST LOCAL BREAKFAST Station 400 Name a better reason than breakfast to get up in the morning. That’s right. You can’t. Towers of pancakes, crispy bacon, juicy sausages, creamy decadent hollandaise sauce. It’s what dreams are literally made of and if you just stopped hitting the snooze button you could start eating! The always egg-cellent STATION 400 wins Platinum this year followed by the aptly named THE BREAKFAST COMPANY who made it look over-easy taking Gold. SUN GARDEN CAFÉ, waffled their way to a Silver victory and GREEN ZEBRA CAFE took Bronze. Readers also started their mornings with Honorable Mention Waffle Stop Inc. -AC Kelly Fox (on Station 400): Station 400 Fried Green Tomato Benedict with pesto Hollandaise. Their prices are super reasonable. Paula Jones (on The Breakfast Company): Everything about it. The owners are like family, always coming around to say hello. They are creative with their weekly specials and baked items. Comfort at best. Ernie Taylor (on The Breakfast Company): Their staff and owners serve not only the best food, they serve hospitality. It is the warmth and welcoming that makes this place the best! I had to make several trips to Florida while attending to my elderly parents while they became sick. My mom passed away in January and the staff made it bearable with good food and smiles. Thank you all at The Breakfast Company. Dennis McSweeney (on Sun Garden Café): Their food will totally rock your world. Ambiance and outdoor eating along with very friendly and competent staffadd great cuisine made with fresh ingredients = winner. Vasil Ianakiev (on Green Zebra): You’ll never find better French toast in South Florida. I tried three different types of omelets— unbelievably good. Very friendly staff. Feels like home. If you’re in Sarasota do not miss this place. Platinum Winner- Station 400 / Gold Winner- The Breakfast Company / Silver Winner- Sun Garden Café / Bronze Winner- Green Zebra Café.
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BEST OUTDOOR DINING Owens Fish Camp
The great outdoors aren’t just for camping—they’re for eating! Because the only thing better than drinking a daiquiri is drinking a daiquiri while getting a tan. Florida boasts some of the best alfresco amenities in the country, so here are our readers alltime-favorite spots for open-air eats. OWENS FISH CAMP is a Platinum pick with a two hundred vote lead, while SIEGFRIED’S RESTAURANT AND GERMAN BIERGARTEN slides into Gold with it’s courtyard beer drinking haven. SHORE ST. ARMANDS is an easy Silver win with its gorgeous views and HAMLET’S EATERY keeps things fresh with its refreshments as the Bronze win. Honorable Mentions to bask in the sunshine while chowing down are Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar, Shore Longboat Key, Marina Jacks and Tripletail Seafood & Spirits -AC
The weekend kicks off as the sun sets at Best Local Outdoor Dining destination Owen’s Fish Camp in Burns Court, Downtown Sarasota. Photo by Wes Roberts.
Cyrus Rohrs (on Owens Fish Camp): The backyard ambience is fantastic! Family friendly and truly authentic. The music and jambalaya always cheer me up! And, the boiled peanuts are 100%. Steven Holler (on Siegfried’s): Siegfrieds outside beer garden is absolutely unique. Spaced out picnic tables, lights, great food and beer. Lots of parking right downtown. Sitting outside there is a pleasure. Katie C (Shore St. Armands): Open concept restaurant with retractable roofs and windows. Essentially the entire restaurant transforms into outdoor dining. Luke McFatrich (on Hamlet’s Eatery): Eating great food in The Bazaar’s newly renovated courtyard is so much fun. Platinum Winner- Owens Fish Camp / Gold Winner- Siegfried’s Restaurant and German Biergarten / Silver Winner- Shore St. Armands / Bronze Winner-Hamlet’s Eatery.
BEST LOCAL PIZZA
Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria The perfect slice will always have a pizza our hearts, but not every pie is made equal. Deep dish, thin and crispy, NY-folded or cut into squares—in pizza, we crust. Reigning supreme this year was VALENTINO PIZZERIA TRATTORIA who claimed the big cheese as our Platinum winner by a whopping two hundred votes. ORIGIN CRAFT BEER & PIZZA CAFE topped the rest to grab Gold while SOLORZANO BROS. - WEBBER ST. and RICO’S PIZZERIA sauced their way to Silver. Besting the rest for Bronze was IL PANIFICIO PIZZERIA Landing just outside the pizza-box this year were Honorable Mentions Napule Sarasota, Tralia, Polpo Pizza Company, Atmosphere, Bravo Pizza & Eatery, Solorzanos Late Night Pizzeria and RomanSQ | Artisan Pizza. -AC Andrea Cressey (on Valentino): I remember when Valentino on Clark road opened. I was so excited. I’m from New York and I knew they were from Jersey. When I took my first bite I knew I was hooked. Tasted like Brooklyn. Never go anywhere else but Valentino’s. If it’s not broken don’t fix it. The ingredients are so fresh and you can tell the difference between other restaurants. Their dough and sauce is top notch too. Everything you could ever ask for in a pie. Katie C. (on Origin): Not only does Origins have the best Pizza in town but you feel like family when you’re there. Christopher Galdamez (Solorzano Bros. -Webber St.): You can tell that the ingredients are top grade and the process is looked after. Pizza that has a real deal feel. Tammy Dentici (on Rico’s): Awesome pizza made with fresh local ingredients, homemade sauce and dough. June Beach (on IL Panificio): The best thin crust pizza in Sarasota. Very generous slices and toppings. Platinum Winner- Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria / Gold Winner- Origin Craft Beer & Pizza Cafe / Silver Winner- Solorzano Bros Webber and Rico’s Pizza / Bronze Winner- Il Panificio Pizzeria.
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An visual homage to Robert Mapplethorpe’s Parrot Tukips, 1988 with Best Local French Fries from Gecko’s Grill and Pub. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
BEST LOCAL THAI FOOD Bangkok Restaurant With an endless assortment of slurpable rice noodles, fragrant fried rice and lush, decadent curries— it’s virtually impossible to get thai-ered of Thai food. Dishes cooked with ginger, lime, peanuts, tamarind and fish sauce hit hundreds of notes before they even tickle your taste buds. The bright, fresh and citrus-y aroma escaping any hard-working kitchen cranking out the ever popular Pad Thai is mouthwatering. Easily wok-ing away with the top spot was BANGKOK RESTAURANT winning Platinum. Spring-rolling into second was Gold winner DRUNKEN POET CAFE THAI BISTRO & SUSHI BAR while ISAN THAI RESTAURANT lemon-grassed the competition for Silver. Last but not least, the Tom-Yummiest pick for Bronze was SIAM hai Spice & Sushi is also GULF SARASOTA. Honorable Mention T a thai-riffic choice. -AC Sovanna Sok (on Bangkok): The restaurant is beautiful inside. All their Thai dishes are as close to Thai as you can get. Fresh. Tasty, great spices, and the service is wonderful. Kind and friendly. Cyrus Rohrs (on Drunken Poet Cafe): The Thai tea is remarkable, and the ambience is top notch. Fully immersive. Jennifer Hardwich (on Isan Thai): Isan Thai is my favorite go-to for Thai in Sarasota. Unassuming from the outside, it’s a cozy place with great service and extraordinary flavors. Reasonable prices are just a sublime bonus. Ronni Blumenthal (on Siam Gulf): Lovely owners and awesome food. Platinum Winner- Bangkok Restaurant / Gold Winner- Drunken Poet Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar / Silver Winner- Isan Thai Restaurant / Bronze Winner- Siam Gulf Sarasota.
BEST LOCAL SALAD Columbia Restaurant No matter what way you toss it, a beautiful salad passing by your table will have you green with envy. One spot certainly dressed above the rest was Platinum winner COLUMBIA RESTAURANT coming in at number one with a three hundred vote lead. GECKO’S GRILL AND PUB romaine’d close to our readers’ hearts taking home the Gold, while GREEN ZEBRA CAFE wouldn’t lettuce forget how delicious they are with a Silver win. It was a close kale but SIMON’S COFFEE HOUSE walked away with Bronze. Readers would also travel a thousand islands for a taste of Honorable Mention Maximillian’s Cafe.-AC
Amanda Hinkel (on Columbia): Hands down the most delicious salad I’ve eaten in my entire life. And I’ve eaten many salads. Melissa Tomasso (on Gecko’s): I think I eat their Caesar Salad with grilled chicken every single week. Most restaurants have this simple salad, but Gecko’s has the best! Samuel Walton (on Green Zebra): Their salads are great, always fresh and they make their own in-house dressings. I have a medical condition and I have to avoid many food additives and ingredients. At Green Zebra they care what goes into their food and drinks, I feel safe and nourished. My favorite is the rainbow kale salad, also the taco salad is amazing. Molly Klauber Biter (on Simon’s): I often crave the French Salad. The ingredients are so fresh and flavorful. The creamy balsamic dressing is phenomenal. Ask for extra! Platinum Winner- Columbia Restaurant / Gold WinnerGecko’s Grill and Pub / Silver Winner-Green Zebra Café / Bronze Winner- Simon’s Coffee House.
BEST LOCAL FRENCH FRIES Gecko’s Grill & Pub
Though the French claim the name, the beloved fry is about as synonymous with America as just about anything. And while the pomme frite reigns supreme elsewhere, we have turned french fry shape into a bit of an artform. Wedge, waffle, sweet potato, smiley! The potato-bilities are endless. Sarasota’s GECKO’S GRILL & PUB fried the rest and took the Platinum top spot while SIEGFRIED’S RESTAURANT AND GERMAN BIERGARTEN brought back some international flair and secured Gold. KNICK’S TAVERN & GRILL kicked back the competition to land Silver and LIBBY’S said bonjour to Bronze. Some nice fries to also check
out are Honorable Mentions Hamlet’s Eatery, Shore St. Armands, Brewster’s Tavern and Duval’s Fresh. -AC Cheryl Colon (on Gecko’s Grill & Pub): We’ve been loyal customers for 15+ years. You can’t beat their sweet potato fries. French fries are good too! Mia Greenwood (on Siegfried’s Restaurant and German Biergarten): Always fresh, hot and delicious. Ed Lindsay (on Knick’s Tavern & Grill): Waffle Fries are always crispy. Audrey Bradell (on Libby’s): The best truffle fries ever! Platinum Winner- Gecko’s Grill & Pub / Gold Winner- Siegfriend’s Restaurant and Germ Biergarten / Silver Winners- Knick’s Tavern & Grill / Bronze Winner- Libby’s.
BEST LOCAL CURBSIDE / TAKE OUT Michael’s On East
When dinner sounds good but pajamas sound better, look no further than these favorite take-out spots. MICHAEL’S ON EAST is a Platinum choice for curbside pick-up while you can grab your grub and go with Gold winner GECKO’S GRILL AND PUB. Call ahead and keep calm with Silver saver DUVAL’S FRESH. LOCAL. SEAFOOD. and TRALIA Bronze winner will have you back in bed before you know it. Also call into Honorable Mention Pazzo Southside for your take-out tastes. -AC Lana Tudin (on Michael’s): Excellent food! Super efficient. Samantha Henderson (on Gecko’s): Always fast and accurate on to-go orders. Beverly Aiken (on Duval’s): Love the food and the service is exemplary. Cynthia Wolansky (on Tralia): Family owned, homemade everything! Amazing taste. Platinum Winner-Michael’s On East / Gold WinnerGecko’s Grill and Pub / Silver Winner- Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood / Bronze Winner- Tralia
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BEST LOCAL STEAK
Michael John’s Restaurant (MJ’s) It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t love steak. A delicacy that is ironically only considered well done if it’s not well done. With so many spots to meat your carnivorous needs, there’s no longer a need to wait for a special occasion because Sarasota is stacked with steaks. Hitting the rib-eye this year was MICHAEL JOHN’S RESTAURANT (MJ’S) fileting the competition for Platinum. Moo-ving into Gold was ALPINE STEAKHOUSE AND BUTCHER SHOP while SIEGFRIED’S RESTAURANT AND GERMAN BIERGARTEN took the prime spot of Silver. Skirt-steaking their spot into the top SUMMER HOUSE STEAK AND SEAFOOD takes Bronze. Just flanked by a few, check our Honorable Mentions Michael’s On East and Kojo. -AC Asusena Espinoza (on MJ’s): I was never a steak person until a couple years ago when I tried MJ’s steak. They’re always consistent and never disappoint in food, drinks and service. I enjoy being able to go in for a nice dinner or special occasion. Chris Clary (on Alpine): We have been going to the Alpine Butcher Shop for many years. The quality of their shop is excellent and it’s nice to support a local family. Steven Holler (on Siegfried’s Restaurant): Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten, what a great steak! NY strip with a homemade cheese and mustard crust and fried onion. One of my favorite meals there, it is so delicious. Linda Radovich (on Summer House): Honestly the best bone-in filet I ever had and I’ve had plenty to compare to. Love their bone marrow too. Platinum WinnerMichael John’s Restaurant / Gold Winner- Alpine Steakhouse / Silver Winner- Siegfried’s Restaurant and German Biergarten / Bronze Winner- Summer House Steak and Seafood.
BEST ROMANTIC DINNER Ophelia’s On the Bay
The backdrop to a romantic date is just as important as the person sitting across the table. Candlelight ambiance, twinkly lights, ocean views or floral gazebos all can take a first date from drab to fab. Seaside Sarasota is chalk full of places showcasing fanciful and fantastic features to dazzle your date and make dinner dreamy. Last year’s Platinum and Gold winners swapped places—voters picked classic favorite OPHELIA’S ON THE BAY as the picturesque Platinum winner while INDIGENOUS RESTAURANT trailed just behind to nab a glittering Gold. Silver pick, SIEGFRIED’S RESTAURANT & BIERGARTEN provide a charming destination and MICHAEL JOHN’S RESTAURANT (MJ’S) is a dreamy choice for Bronze. Honorable Mention for another scenic setting is Michael’s On East. -OL Lynn Graham (on Ophelia’s): Beautiful view, great outdoor patio, changing menu with excellent food every time. Louise Hauser (on Siegfried’s): C’mon, who wouldn’t love to dine in the beer garden gazebo? David Charles (on Michael John’s): We’ve enjoyed MJ’s since they opened and have had too many delicious dinners to count. The food is outstanding. The service is impeccable. The ambience is intimate and relaxing. What can we say? We love the restaurant. Platinum Winner- Ophelia’s On the Ba/ Gold Winner- Indigenous Restaurant / Silver WinnerSiegfried’s Restaurant and Biergarten / Bronze Winner- Michael John’s Restaurant (MJs).
Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs of this year’s Best Local Arts Organization Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Photo by Wes Roberts.
BEST ARTS ORGANIZATION
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe The beauty of the arts is they give back by just existing—adding that needed joie de vivre to what could otherwise be a mundane life. Singing, dancing, music, artwork is all around to add color and liveliness to our everyday drudgery. Sarasotans agree on the Platinum pick WESTCOAST BLACK THEATRE TROUPE performing their way to the top with over a hundred votes. Earning the Gold is ARTCENTER MANATEE while THE PLAYERS CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS sings their way to a Silver victory. Finally, Broadway-ing their way to Bronze is FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE. Other favorites to make become an additional an audience member are Honorable Mentions The Circus Arts Conservatory | Sarasota, Sarasota Ballet, Ringling College of Art and Design and Sarasota Contemporary Dance. –AC Teresa Simmons (on Westcoast Black Theatre): We are huge, longtime fans and sponsors of WBTT!! We have personally watched Nate Jacobs and his super talented troupe change the complexion of Sarasota’s Arts scene! From being a “road show”-performing in temporary spaces each night to owning and rebuilding their own theater home and headquarters at 1012 Orange Ave - this is a rags to riches story funded by those who recognize and appreciate the African American experience beautifully demonstrated in theatrical drama and treasured musicals. Life changing shows for the audience and even more importantly- the performers. Angie Lukas (on ArtCenter Manatee): Five studios for adult and children art education, best gift shop in town featuring local and regional handcrafted original artwork and gifts. John Fain (on The Players Centre): The Players Centre has shown great resilience as it moves toward its new permanent location in Lakewood Ranch. The team has developed creative solutions that allow it to produce full seasons in temporary locations. As the oldest theatre in the region the Players Centre is committed to continuing its tradition of exceptional community theatre. Maria Gabelman (on Florida Studio Theatre): Florida Studio theatre is a hidden gem. The Cabaret Theatre is reminiscent of a speak-easy . . . intimate with cozy tables, tablecloths with drink and food menu. All this and top notch talent, reasonably priced . . . truly a wonderful experience. Platinum Winner- Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe / Gold Winner- ArtCenter Manatee / Silver WinnerThe Players Centre for Performing Arts / Bronze Winner- Florida Studio Theatre.
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Best Local Cookie maverick and “Kookie Kreator” Eric and his wife Kelsea of Platinum winner Kookies and Kream. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan
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John Willings (on Green Zebra): This restaurant offers so many vegan options, we go there for brunch or dinner, I love everything they offer, and I am not even vegan. The vegan food and the drinks are amazing. Nicole Pacich (on Project Coffee): Always uplifting vibe with incredibly tasty vegan food. I take my non-vegan friends here all the time and they love it! Hands down best avocado toast ever. And did I mention the coffee? Dan Barzel (on Ka Papa): Unique, creative, customer oriented and delicious! They really strive to do it right and to accommodate their customers’ needs. Delicious, and the desserts are to die for. Platinum WinnerGreen Zebra Café / Gold Winner- Project Coffee / Silver WinnerKa Papa Cuisine / Bronze Winner- Lila.
BEST LOCAL DESSERT Kookies & Kream What is dinner without dessert? Boring. That’s what it is. A sweet treat is almost a legal obligation to finish out a meal and with so many delectable delights to choose from in Sarasota you’re always a stone’s throw away from an abundance of sugary selections. KOOKIES & KREAM is a cool 80s Platinum while just two votes on their heels SIEGFRIED’S RESTAURANT AND GERMAN BIERGARTEN sweetens the deal for a second place Gold win. THE BREAKFAST COMPANY and GREEN ZEBRA CAFE are a tasteful twosome nabbing Silver while SIMPLY SWEETS SRQ baked their way to Bronze. -AC Kristen McLeod (on Kookies & Kream): Have you seen the size of these cookies? Not to mention the bars and ice cream. Drool inducing! Mara Ferguson (on Siegfried’s): Love their fresh German cakes and homemade apple strudel with berries, cream and ice-cream. Gina Caro (on The Breakfast Company): The Breakfast Company is the best place for dessert for so many reasons. Their bakery is so diverse, from authentic greek pastries to their “Stuffins”- stuffed muffins that vary with seasonal fillings. So much to try, and the biggest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen. Everything is made fresh daily, and the staff is so welcoming. Anna Sommers (on Green Zebra): Exceptional made in house desserts, you will not find this quality and taste anywhere else. Gluten free and vegan desserts are offered also. We always finish our meal with some of their amazing sweet endings. Dan Fago (on Simply Sweets): They have the most delicious cookies in Sarasota, hands down. They are a great small business that constantly goes over and beyond to help make all my events special! John Willings (on Green Zebra): This restaurant offers so many vegan options, we go there for brunch or dinner, I love everything they offer, and I am not even vegan. The vegan food and the drinks are amazing. Platinum Winner- Kookies & Kream / Gold Winner- Siegfried’s Restaurant and German Biergarten / Silver Winner- The Breakfast Company and Green Zebra Café / Bronze Winner- Simply Sweets SRQ.
BEST LOCAL VEGAN Green Zebra Café These Sarasota spots want you to get your greens. Vegan food, once the black sheep (pun intended) of the food world, has bounced back with a veggie-filled vengeance taking over tables with its fresh and flavorful flavors. With identical copies of beloved animal product classics that taste miraculously the same (if not better!), modern-day meals beg the question— why buy the cow, when the milk can be dairy-free? Planting it’s way to Platinum is GREEN ZEBRA CAFE while PROJECT COFFEE wins Gold with green. Sensational plant-based salads secured Silver for KA PAPA CUISINE and LILA bounds into Bronze. Honorable Mention Simon’s Coffee House is another plant-forward favorite. -AC
BEST REUBEN Gecko’s Grill & Pub The regionally revered Reuben is not usually placed in the same sentence as ‘Best’ and ‘Florida’ as true sandwich connoisseurs know it’s classic roots hail from further north. However, with so many snowbirds settling in Sarasota the secret in the sauce was bound to make its way south. The Platinum pick this year was GECKO’S GRILL & PUB while MAIN BAR grilled its way to Gold. CAFE IN THE PARK took home Silver for sensational sauerkraut and PUB 32 got Bronze by a thin slice. Honorable Mentions Irish 31 Sarasota and Evie’s Tavern & Grill on Bee Ridge are must-tries for a righteous Reuben, -AC Phylliss Dawson (on Main Bar): The main bar has been known for their sandwiches for years. They give you a lot of food for your money and the staff is friendly and it feels like home inside with the decor. Yvonne Naese (on Café in the Park): This is the best Rueben as they use fresh and local ingredients. Homemade Rueben dressing and organic sauerkraut from Sarasota’s own Fermentilicous! Karen Kyle(on Pub32): I love their reuben’s everyday. Platinum Winner- Gecko’s Grill & Pub / Gold WinnerMain Bar / Silver Winner- Cafe in the Park / Bronze Winner- Pub32.
BEST LOCAL PASTA Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria With over six-hundred noodle shapes to choose from, the pastabilites are virtually endless. Short noodles, twirly noodles, bowties, pinwheels, stuffed, layered—pasta is never al-fraido to try something new. VALENTINO PIZZERIA TRATTORIA, was the ciao-bella-the-ball, taking home Platinum. NAPULÉ SARASOTA is no impasta and proved to be the real deal with a Gold win. CAFE EPICURE, secured Silver while readers found CAFE BARBOSSO impastable to stay away from as our Bronze winner. Make gnocchi mistake though, Sarasota has more pasta perfection at Honorable Mentions Speaks Clam Bar and Tralia. -AC Andrea Cressey (on Valentino): Oh the pastas! There are so many of my favorites. I absolutely love Benny’s Penne. It’s a creamy Marsala sauce with the best sausage and fresh spinach. Linda Radovich (on Napulé): There isn’t even a close second for pasta. Napulé’s handmade pasta dishes are absolutely delicious. Molly Klauber Biter (on Cafe Epicure): The four cheese rigatoni is hands down my favorite. I’ve had it over 100x and it’s always so consistently delicious. My secret is asking for a side of bolognese sauce and layering it on top with some Parmesan. It’s just one of those dishes that is never as good anywhere else. Donna Emley (on Cafe Barbosso): Best pasta, best Italian, best cocktails, best food scene, best art scene, best local hangout, best chef, best staff, best parking lot musicsimply the best. Platinum Winner- Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria / Gold Winner- Napulé Sarasota / Silver Winner- Cafe Epicure / Bronze- Cafe Barbosso.
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BELOW: Best Local Burger
king Knick’s Tavern & Grill prepares their Chipotle Crumbled Bleu Cheese Burger showstopper. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
BEST LOCAL BURGER Knick’s Tavern & Grill Nothing hits the spot like a perfectly assembled burger. Well, maybe a cheeseburger, but that’s because quite literally everything is better with more cheese. A good burger is truly a colorful work of art—tan pillowy buns, thinly sliced purple onion, crisp green lettuce, bright yellow mustard and red vibrant ketchup. Roy-G-Biv would be proud, especially of our Platinum pick KNICK’S TAVERN & GRILL who rose through the ranks this year to unseat burger royalty. Close behind is PATRICKS 1481 who grilled their way to Gold. Readers relished SHAKESPEARE’S CRAFT BEER AND GASTRO PUB who slide into Silver. SIEGRIED’S RESTAURANT AND GERMAN BIERGARTEN landed the bun-derful Bronze spot. If you’re looking for more cheeseburger paradise check out Honorable Mentions FOOD+BEER - Gulf Gate, Gecko’s Grill & Pub, Ford’s Garage or Pub 32.-AC MarySue McNett (on Knick’s): Lean beef, cooked to order, juicy inside, light char outside, piled high with fresh fixin’s. Delicious. Ginger Savalli (on Patrick’s 1481): The best burger ever whether it’s on Monday $5 burger night or any other day of the week. Wendy Fox (on Shakespeare’s): I had been looking for the best local burger in Sarasota since I moved here in 2012 and finally found it last year in 2020. The staff are very friendly and fun. The environment is relaxing and the food is phenomenal. They are popular for their beer cheese dip and their caramelized onion and brie burger, but there are many more options available that are fantastic. They have specials every weekend and lots of great craft beers on tap that revolve on a regular basis. I always recommend them to everyone I know. When family comes to visit from out of town, I take them there. Mara Allison (on Siegfried’s Restaurant and German Biergarten): Their German burger on Thursdays is unbelievable and unique. Pretzel bun, German pickle, remoulade, red cabbage slaw and pork. Unbelievably delicious. Platinum Winner- Knick’s Tavern & Grill / Gold Winner- Patricks 1481 / Silver WinnerShakespeare’s Craft Beer and Gastro Pub / Bronze Winner- Siegfried’s Restaurant.
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BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT Korean SSAM BAR
Korean food is quickly gaining popularity in the states and becoming a fast favorite with its abundance of flavors and interactive cooking style. Korean BBQ, like retro fondue or hibachi, incorporates guests into the cooking experience and brings the kitchen to your table. Armed with a set of tongs and platters of tender meat or vegetables, Korean BBQ seats you at not only a table, but a working grill. It’s a one-stop shop dining experience where you get to be the butcher, the chef but most importantly—the taste tester. Here were readers favorite Korean spots this year to bul-GO-gi. KOREAN SSAM BAR pickled their way to a Platinum win while CHARLIE’S BULGOGI grilled into Gold. Silver goes to SHILLA KOREAN RESTAURANT and kimchi about K-NAM KOREAN BBQ & SUSHI RESTAURANT this year’s Bronze winner. -AC James Bradin (on Korean SSAM BAR): I lived in Korea. This restaurant is legit. We used to drive to North Tampa until we found Korean SSAM Bar. Brenda Musall (on Charlie’s Bulgogi): Charlie and his wife started with a food truck. Each meal made in their restaurant is done with love! Charlie is a very humble man with a heart of gold. Their food is absolutely amazing. Catherine Dowell (on Shilla Korean): Great food. Platinum Winner- Korean Ssam Bar / Gold WinnerCharlie’s Bulgogi Silver Winner- Shilla Korean Restaurant / Bronze Winner- K-Nam BBQ and Sushi Restaurant.
BEST LOCAL MAC ‘N CHEESE Brick’s Smoked Meats
One could argue that all mac n’ cheese is good mac n’ cheese. How can you go wrong with the unbeatable combo of noodles and cheese—even the worst case scenario of this mash-up is somehow still going to taste amazing. With this in mind, being considered the best is an incredible achievement when for years we’ve been adding milk to mysterious yellow powder, putting it in the microwave and calling it a delicacy. These Sarasota winners took it upon themselves to one-up everyone’s favorite blue box. Melting their way to Platinum is BRICK’S SMOKED MEATS while VALENTINO PIZZERIA TRATTORIA might shock their Italian roots by grabbing Gold. MOUTHOLE BBQ spiraled their way to Silver and MICHAEL’S ON EAST mac’s everyone happy as the Bronze winner. Don’t forget to try the cheesy goodness at Honorable Mention Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood.- AC Linda Radovich (on Brick’s): It just is the best there is. Try it and tell me it’s not. Andrea Cressey (on Valentino): This is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever eaten. I’m also so excited when my young nieces and nephews are out to dinner with us. It’s so rich and creamy. I love it. And the kids don’t mind sharing. DJ Iche (on Mouthole): It’s so cheesy! Sherri Mills (on Michael’s On East): I never have liked mac-n-cheese…until I tasted Michael’s on East mac-n-cheese. Wowzers! It is like eating a little piece of Heaven on Earth. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Platinum Winner- Brick’s Smoked Meats / Gold WinnerValentino Pizzeria Trattoria / Silver Winner- Mouthole BBQ/ Bronze Winner- Michael’s On East.
BEST LOCAL INDIAN FOOD Rasoi Indian Kitchen Arguably the most flavorful of all the world’s cuisines, Indian food packs a punch along with approximately a million different spices to create some of the most mouth-watering meals. Thinking of Indian for dinner and not sure what to vindaloo? Well, keep calm and curry on—we’ve got you covered. There’s naan doubt about it, the first place choice is Platinum winner RASOI INDIAN KITCHEN. CURRY STATION B INDIAN RESTAURANT AND CATERING gobi’d for Gold and took home the second place win, while MAHARAJA INDIAN CUISINE
saag’d Silver. Finally, a Bronze winning butter chicken can be found at TIKKA INDIAN CUISINE. Make the samosa Sarasota and check out Honorable Mention India Cafe.. -AC Shelley Stone (on Rasoi ): We just discovered this place and it is by far the best Indian food I have had in SRQ. Been back 3 times already. Great food, service, and prices. Small, but excellent. Don’t let the location in the strip plaza fool you. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed! James Bradin (on Maharaja): This place is fantastic. I highly recommend this restaurant. Everything we ate was excellent. Phil Royce (on Tikka ): We were introduced to Tikka Restaurant by neighbors, and have happily made the drive south for either a lunch or dinner ever since. The menu is easy to figure out, the food is tasty, wine and beers are served, the place is always clean, and the waiters provide excellent service for either meal. We enjoyed every dish we ordered. Platinum Winner- Rasoi Indian Kitchen / Gold Winner- Curry Station B Indian Rstaurant and Catering / Silver Winner- Maharaja Indian Cuisine / Bronze- Tikka Indian Cuisine.
BEST LOCAL BRUNCH Station 400 Ah, brunch. The meal reserved weekends when no one can quite agree on the right time to get up. Why let the technicality of timing stand in your way? A little too late for breakfast and a little too early for lunch? The hungry people of this world said, forget about conventional meals—we shall brunch! Readers loved STATION 400 enough to vote it as the Platinum pick leading by an egg-cellent hundred votes, while THE BREAKFAST COMPANY bacon’t be stopped as the Gold winner. GREEN ZEBRA CAFE won a syrupy-Silver and MADE RESTAURANT made a benedict worthy of Bronze. Other spots to stop were Honorable Mentions Hamlet’s Eatery and Libby’s. -AC Karen C. (on Station 400): Station 400 is a beautiful breakfast spot. From its train motif, to elaborate mimosas, to the food and the great service it is all amazing. My favorite has to be the coconut custard pancakes. Samuel Walton (on Green Zebra): Green Zebra Cafe everything tastes great, a lot of choices, and they always treat you as family. Big brunch menu, quality ingredients. If you have any food sensitivities, their staff will answer all your questions. Shelly Masters (on MADE): Delightfully sinful comfort food. This is the place you choose to break your diet. It’s brunch, made modern, just like the name says. The chef’s omelet with brisket is not to be missed. The charred tomato and guac benedict is equally fun. What’s brunch without a cocktail? The bloody mary with billionaire bacon or the gin and juice served in a teacup are standouts. Platinum Winner- Station 400 / Gold Winner- The Breakfast Company / Silver Winner- Green Zebra Cafe / Bronze Winner- Made Restaurant.
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BEST LOCAL RAMEN FushiPoke Ramen makes the case that soup is a meal. With bowls big enough to feed a family, ramen packs an umami power-punch to the tastebuds with salty, rich, decadent broth paired with sensationally slurpable noodles. Thinly sliced, juicy marinated pork, crunch bamboo shoots, soft, delicate eggs—all are welcome toppings to the beautiful bowl that is ramen. Readers this year were hopeless ramen-antics for FUSHIPOKE, our Platinum winner, while PHO CALI soup’d into second for a Gold win. GOICHI’S SUSHI took Silver and FOOD+BEER GULF GATE was a bean sprout Bronze. Find a spoonful of goodness at Honorable Mentions Pho 101 Noodle House, Mitaka Japanese Ramen House and JPAN - Shops at Siesta Row. -AC
Stellar heels from Best Local Boutique Platinum Winner Pineapple Lain Boutique. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
Sarah Seay(on FushiPoke): The only ramen I’ll eat. The flavor is to die for, and I love the soy eggs. Kristine Casart (on Pho Cali): We love everything about Pho Cali. The staff is so friendly and we love how they remember us and our orders the second we walk in. Our favorites are the fried rice with tofu and the vermicelli bowl with tofu, all made vegan. Highly recommend this restaurant. Colton Adami (on Goichi’s Sushi): Authentic broth and homemade noodles, say less. Fresia Eckelman (on Food+Beer): Billy is an amazing ramen chef. Platinum WinnerFushiPoke / Gold Winner- Pho Cali / Silver Winner-Goichi’s Sushi/ Bronze Winner- Food+Beer Gulf Gate.
BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant
It’s no surprise that Sarasotans are hooked on fresh seafood. Living so close to the water, we relish every oppor-tuna-ty to take advantage of this pescatarian paradise. Fried, sauteed, grilled, blackened, cajun style—Floridaians know how to filet a fish. Hopping on deck to number one, is Platinum winner WALT’S FISH MARKET RESTAURANT. Only a few laps behind is OWEN’S FISH CAMP taking readers by the gills to win Gold. Swimming into Silver is REEF CAKES and BRINE SEAFOOD AND RAW BAR flounder’d into fourth place for Bronze. Take a dive to our Honorable Mentions Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood. and Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar. -AC Karen Atwood (on Walt’s): Walt’s is simply the best. They serve what swam in the Gulf the night before, and their drinks and service are stellar. Stevie’s mullet is the best. Drew Adams (on Owens Fish Camp): We love going to Owens. Their Seafood selection is incredible with mouth watering dishes. Always rotating depending on what is available. Then you step outside and you are transported into a Huck Finn style setting with a wood-fired grill serving up oysters and shrimp. We know Mark Twain would love this place as much as we do. Janet Swartzentruber (on Reef Cakes):The food is always fresh, great service and friendly atmosphere. Sheila Vincent (on Brine): Have never had a less than perfect meal there, from soup, calamari, crab cakes, fish, oysters . . .you name it, they can probably make it. Platinum Winner- Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant / Gold Winner- Owen’s Fish Camp / Silver WinnerReef Cakes / Bronze Winner- Brine Seafood and Raw Bar.
BEST FOOD TRUCK Big Blue Grilled Cheese The humble truck, at one point only associated with 18-wheels or the monster variety, are now cranking out some of the best and most creative food in the country. No longer ending up in junkyards, quick-thinking chefs converted cars to kitchens, creating the ultimate traveling restaurant. Readers loved BIG BLUE GRILLED CHEESE as the Platinum pick, while right on their wheels is Gold winner MOUTHOLE BBQ. Trucking into third is HAMLET’S EATERY with Silver and POLPO PIZZA COMPANY beeped their way to Bronze. Check out other Honorable Mentions driving around town Spice Boys Food Truck, Fire Tacos, Banyan Coffee Co. and Deli Deli Sandwich Co. -AC
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Colleen Autman (on Big Blue Grilled Cheese): Family owned and operated! Delicious flavors for every palate. Keith Wolfe (on Mouthole): Family owned, great bbq whether it’s ribs, pork, brisket or burgers, it’s all made fresh and very large portions that barely fit in your mouth. Daniel Hodous (on Hamlet’s Eatery): Not only is Hamlet’s Eatery my favorite food truck in town, but it’s also one of my favorite restaurants. From their truffle fries to their sides, and their jackfruit tacos, I’ve never had a meal that wasn’t delicious. Judi Gallagher (on Polpo Pizza): The absolute best pizza and perfect to cater an event. The hot honey breakfast pizza is a winner. Platinum Winner- Big Blue Grilled Cheese/ Gold Winner- Mouthole BBQ / Silver Winner-Hamlet’s Eatery / Bronze Winner- Polpe Pizza Company/
SHOPPING &RETAIL BEST LOCAL BOUTIQUE Pineapple Lain Boutique
When you’ve had a bad day, shopping can really be the best medicine. A new top to get you out of a funk or a beautiful new bag to bring you back to life—Sarasota shopping is a step above the rest. Readers this year shopped till they dropped at PINEAPPLE LAIN BOUTIQUE, our Platinum winner this year, while THE BAZAAR ON APRICOT & LIME is the perfect girl’s day for Gold. L. BOUTIQUE SARASOTA snagged a Silver win and DARCI had it in the bag for Bronze. Other spots to browse around are Honorable Mentions Motel Therapy, Modern Soul Boutique, Beach Babe Boutique and Blend Fashion House. -AC Emily Velazquez (on Pineapple Lain): Cutest clothes and cutest location! Pineapple Lain has quite literally taken over my closet. Michelle Bono (on The Bazaar): This is a charming and fun place to visit. There are so many creative items in the many booths and there is literally something for everyone. We absolutely love this place. Doreen Clyne Meyer (on L. Boutique): LeeAnne Swor knows her community so she carefully and intentionally selects brands (Tart, Trina Turk, Frame, Chiara Boni to name a few) that will provide them with fashion whether to attend a casual luncheon or something extraordinary like an art’s gala opening night and everything in between. The clothing consultants at the boutique not only learn about the customer, but truly know their inventory so they can skillfully match your style with something delightful in the store. These ladies are magical at their craft. With this all being said and sprinkle in the warm, kind, caring and professional customer service, these are some of the reasons why I feel L Boutique is the best in town. Michelle Olivo (on Darci): Darci’s has the best selection in town. She carries something for everyone and goes above and beyond to take care of her clients. Platinum WinnerPineapple Lain Boutique / Gold Winner- The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime / Silver Winner- L Boutique / Bronze Winner: Darci.
BEST RESALE CONSIGNMENT STORE World’s Attic Thrift Shop
Ready, set, re-sale! The more fun synonym for recycle— resale clothing is the perfect way to upcycle your closet, offer affordable outfits to those needing a lower price point and stop clothing waste from ending up in a landfill—all in the name of fashion! The top spot tackling the art of the thrift is WORLD’S ATTIC THRIFT SHOP with a Platinum win. THE EXCHANGE INC. shopped into our readers hearts for a Gold win and LAURA JEAN’S had us snagging the perfect swaps for Silver. Bronze winner RHEA LANA’S OF SARASOTA chock full of pre-loved goodies. Check out the digs at Honorable Mention Clothes Mentor -AC Louise Hauser (on World’s Attic Thrift Shop): Who knows what treasures will be found there? I love that my donations and purchases are used for wonderful, charitable purposes. Phyllis Dawson (on The Exchange): The Exchange makes the best thrift shop because it not only has been around longer than any other thrift store, it’s non profit, so it gives back to the community and the shop is so big there is something for everyone. It is still a 60/40 split for consignment whereas the consignor gets 60 percent back. It’s a great deal and the staff is friendly if you need them or ask a question. Karen Vittone (on Laura Jean’s): Beautiful store, always helpful with a wonderful family atmosphere. Kelsey O’Loughlin (on Rhea Lana’s): Not only is it run by a lovely family. but I can always count on good quality items in a one stop place for absolutely the best prices. Platinum Winner- World’s Attic Thrift Shop / Gold Winner- The Exchange Inc. / Silver Winner- Laura Jean’s / Bronze Winner- Rhea Lana’s of Sarasota.
BEST MUSEUM GIFT SHOP
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens It may be an unspoken truth in museum-going groups, that arguably the best part of any exhibit is the shop at the end. Miniatures of famous sculptures as wine stoppers, famous works of art as postcards to send around the world, an ancient tapestry reimagined as a puzzle—it lets you take a piece of the museum home, and experience the priceless wonders once again. MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS paved the way to Platinum while RINGLING COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN grabbed Gold. THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART set up shop at Silver and SARASOTA ART MUSEUM bounded into Bronze. -AC Amy Gorman (on Marie Selby): Beautiful gifts. Great selection. Alyssa Holcomb (on The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art): I love stopping by the shop both before and after I explore the Ringling grounds. The items have a sophisticated fun to them-especially the circus memorabiliathemed ones! I always seem to find just the right memento of my trip there. Kathleen Mlotok (on Sarasota Art Museum): One stop shopping for Christmas gifts. I found something for everyone on my list here and the gifts were unique, inspiring and so appreciated by all the recipients. Platinum WinnerMarie Selby Botanical Gardens / Gold Winner- Ringling College of Art and Design / Silver Winner- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art / Bronze Winner- Sarasota Art Museum.
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BEST LOCAL FLORIST Beneva Flowers and Plantscapes Fresh flowers are the ultimate dedication to decoration. Adorning your home with a living bouquet of beauty is a commitment but it also makes all the difference in decor. Lilies can liven up a living room, daisies can help you say ‘I Do,’ as you walk down the aisle and tulips can say ‘Thanks for having me!’ as a housewarming hello. Planting themselves in Platinum is BENEVA FLOWERS AND PLANTSCAPES with a petal pushing lead of over one hundred votes. KINSPOKE has the Gold for their gorgeous garden creations while FANTASY FLOWERS OF LAKEWOOD RANCH ex-seeded the competition for Silver. By just one vote, FLOWERS BY FUDGIE blooms their way to Bronze. Other places to grab festive florals are Honorable Mentions Sue Ellen’s Floral Boutique, Suncoast Florist, Victoria Blooms, LLC, Bee Ridge Florist Weddings and The Farmers Petals Sarasota. -AC Susie Chinn (on Beneva): Every bouquet I have ever received from Beneva Flowers, has been absolutely gorgeous. Eva Howland (on Kinspoke): I love their workshops and bloom bar. The ladies who run it are so creative and fun. Diane Heron (on Fantasy Flowers): Fantasy Flowers are friendly, responsive and have a great shop with lots of choices. Diane K Freestone (on Flowers By Fudgie): Arrangements from Flowers By Fudgie are amazing. When they put together a wedding or catered dinner, everything is top notch. Platinum Winner- Beneva Flowers and Plantscapes / Gold Winner- Kinspoke / Silver Winner-Fantasy Flowers of Lakewood Ranch / Bronze Winner- Flowers by Fudgie
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BEST LOCAL GIFT STORE
Scavengers Marketplace SRQ Whether you need a housewarming surprise or a happy birthday basket, finding the perfect gift for that special someone starts with the store. Artisan community Sarasota thankfully has tons of cute, creative and one-of-a-kind places to pick out a present. SCAVENGERS MARKETPLACE SRQ had voters victorious in their search for vintage with a Platinum win, while THE BAZAAR ON APRICOT & LIME had the goods for Gold. GARDEN ARGOSY was a favorite winning Silver and MOLLY’S - A CHIC AND UNIQUE BOUTIQUE takes Bronze for an unbeatable selection of knickknacks. For more gift-giving look no further than Honorable Mentions Elysian Fields, Dark Side and Wild Ginger Apothecary. -AC Tiffany Bedwell (on Scavengers): If you are looking for something unique Scavengers has the best gifts. The assortment is ever-changing so I never leave empty handed. My friends and family always ask where I find the treasures; the secret is out now. Yolande Lecoz (on The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime): No supply chain issue when it comes to local, small business, community garden, vegan non vegan and artists. T Duckworth (on Garden Argosy): If you are feeling low, go to Garden Argosy. They say it’s a gift shop, but it truly lifts my spirits just to be in the store. Take your time and read the messages, the cards, the tea towels or the coasters - you will laugh out loud. For a unique gift it’s the place I go every time. The jewelry is beautiful too! Lois Mayer (on Molly’s): Beautiful unique gifts. Platinum Winner- Scavengers Marketplace SRQ / Gold Winner- The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime / Silver Winner- Garden Argosy / Bronze Winner- Molly’s A Chic and Unique Boutique.
BEST EVERY DAY JEWELER
Classic Creations in Diamonds and Gold Everyday bling can switch up your outfit from regular to Rodeo Drive—nothing goes better than a pair of jeans than a diamond bracelet right? These jewelers have just the right gems to add that special sparkle to your day. CLASSIC CREATIONS IN DIAMONDS AND GOLD takes the Platinum top spot while COFFRIN DIAMOND JEWELERS got the Gold. FRIEND’S JEWELERS styled their way to Silver and BARB MCSWEENEY had bracelets begging for Bronze. Check out the jewels at Honorable Mentions Vanessa Fine Jewelry and Jain Jewelers. -AC Timothy Tudor (on Classic Creations): They are family owned and operated for three generations and have been in business for 40 years. Julie Adler (on Friend’s Jewelers): A wonderful little jewelry store that’s family owned. They take great care of all of their clients. Jessica Budwitz (on Barb McSweeney): Barb is so wonderful and her jewelry pieces are stunning all the time! She really crafts beautiful pieces that you can dress up or just casually wear every day. Platinum Winner- Classic Creations in Diamonds and Gold / Gold WinnerCoffrin Diamond Jewelers / Silver Winner- Friend’s Jewelers / Bronze Winner- Barb McSweeney.
BEST LUXURY JEWELER Diamond Vault A graduation watch, an engagement ring, an anniversary necklace—some items are designed for forever and an expert hand and eye is the key to creating a life-long treasure. DIAMOND VAULT JEWELERS is the Platinum place to fashion your next family heirloom while CLASSIC CREATIONS IN DIAMONDS AND GOLD sparkles in Gold. Readers trusted MCCARVER & MOSER JEWELERS as their Silver spot and BARB MCSWEENEY bedazzled a Bronze win. Honorable Mentions include June Simmons, Thayer Jewelers and BSK Designs - Handcrafted Fine Jewelry and Repair Services. -AC Erica Trinkwalder (on Diamond Vault): I purchased my engagement and wedding rings from Diamond Vault. They are custom rings made for me and there’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t comment on how incredibly beautiful my set is. Zachary Tudor (on Classic Creations): Always helpful; always such beautiful creations. And the Naughty Girl jewelry collection is perfect for us Floridians. Gina Robles (on McCarver & Moser): My favorite place, the service is the best, big fan of their designer collections. Amy Gorman (on Barb McSweeney): Every piece of Barb McSweeney jewelry is beautifully handcrafted with attention to detail. This is not your pop in a jewelry shop and takeaway store. Barb does have pieces that are ready for you but she is also more than willing to change a piece to fit a client’s need or create a custom piece of jewelry. She has a beautiful selection of many types of pearls. Swarovski crystals, gold plated beads and sterling silver charms, clasps etc. Her work is quality and she stands behind it. Platinum WinnerDiamond Vault / Gold Winner- Classic Creations in Diamonds and Gold / Silver Winner- McCarver Moser Jewelers / Bronze Winner- Barb McSweeney.
BEST LOCAL EYEGLASS STORE Center For Sight, Sarasota
Fresh frames can really elevate a face and these fierce competitors want readers to see best and style better. Cateye, colorful or Harry Potter style, eyeglasses can create an iconic look. CENTER FOR SIGHT, SARASOTA focused on the Platinum pick while STANLEY’S CUSTOM EYEWEAR got Gold frames for their glasses. SOTO’S OPTICAL BOUTIQUE saw their way to Silver and IOPTICS EYEWEAR landed the Bronze win. Check out Honorable Mention Moon & Co Eyewear. -AC Haley Guenther (on Center For Sight ): The optical staff at Center For Sight are so helpful. They have a great selection and always help me find the perfect fit. Louise Hauser (on Stanley’s Custom): The service is wonderful. I especially commend Stanley when my lenses were shattered after a fall. He replaced them in a timely fashion and re-aligned the frames. Pat McNally (on Soto’s Optical Boutique): Fabulous selection, friendly, professional service. Laura Stiefel (on iOptics Eyewear): Great unique frames. Platinum Winner- Center for Sight, Sarasota / Gold Winner- Stanley’s Custom Eyewear / Silver Winner- Soto’s Optical Boutique / Bronze Winner- iOptics Eyewear
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BEST BARBER Burns Court Barbers Clothing takes a lot of credit to showcase personal style, however, the haircut of choice really says a lot about a person. A mohawk can turn a receptionist to a rocker, a splash of hot pink streaks can change an accountant to an artist or a pixie cut can transform a runway model to Roman Holiday ready. These favorite barbers, the hair houdinis, are ready to customize your looks. Parting their way to Platinum is BURNS COURT BARBERS while AMERICAN SHAVE gelled its way to Gold. MONTERO STYLES snipped a Silver-locked second place win and MANCAVE FOR MEN-UTC buzz-cut to Bronze. Hair-raising Honorable Mentions include Jersey Roots and Big Show Barbers. -AC Nester Mata (on Burns Court Barbers): Burns Court Barbers are true talent. True professionalism and excellent location. Right in the heart of Sarasota. Conner Young (on American Shav): Nick has been taking care of my husband’s hair for years. He goes back for the friendly service and incredible attention to detail. Sylvia Guanill-Caparrós (Montero Styles): Alex is the best! My husband loves how Alex works. It is not easy to find a good barber and when you find them, you drive one hour to have the service and that is what we do because he is the best! Platinum Winner-Burns Court Barbers / Gold Winner- American Shave / Silver Winner- Montero Styles / Bronze Winner- ManCave for Men-UTC.
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FOOD &LIBATIONS BEST LOCAL BREWERY
Big Top Brewing Company Cracking open a cold beer at the end of a long day is only made sweeter by drinking it in the brewery it was made. Sarasota residents can relax plenty of watering holes starting with BIG TOP BREWING COMPANY —our readers Platinum pick. Guzzling down lager for Gold is CALUSA BREWING while MOTORWORKS BREWING has the perfect stout for Silver. Beer-tastic Bronze is CORPORATE LADDER BREWING COMPANY. Hunker down with a brew at Honorable Mentions 3 Keys Brewing and Eatery, The Good Liquid Brewing Co. and Brew Life Brewing. -AC Andrea Capek (on Big Top): The bartenders are always friendly and usually remember you which makes me feel so welcome as a patron. I also love that they will hold events which benefit charitable organizations. Dan Barzel (on Calusa): New flavors every week, delicious IPAs and all kinds of beer. Creative new flavors every week with food trucks galore. Kim Fineout (on Motorworks): Great beer, beautiful side yard, fun environment. Michael Hodgin (on Corporate Ladder): Amazingly accurate flavors, great selection and a friendly staff makes this our go-to. Platinum Winner- Big Top Brewery Company / Gold Winner- Calusa Brewery / Silver Winner- Motorworks Brewing / Bronze Winner-Corporate Ladder Brewing Company.
BEST LOCAL COCKTAIL State Street Eating House
The key to crafting a perfect cocktail is creativity—or the classics. Creating a menu that has the right balance of new-age trendy concoctions, think muddled passion fruit or glasses smoked with fresh rosemary also needs a simple martini or magically-made manhattan. The best spot to take a sip this year is Platinum winner STATE STREET EATING HOUSE while CORNERSTONE AND COMPANY gets garnished with Gold. JACK DUSTY shakes it’s way to Silver and just behind, TRIPLETAIL SEAFOOD & SPIRITS takes a boozy Bronze. Honorable Mentions serving up sensations are MADE Restaurant, Cask and Ale, Pangea Alchemy Lab, Veronica Fish and Oyster, KOJO and Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood. -AC Katie C. (on State Street): You just can’t beat State Street. Ambiance and quality is amazing. Shannon Illch (on Cornerstone and Company): New and amazing craft cocktails. Shasta Shaffer (on Jack Dusty): The Siren! Meagan Smith (on Tripletail): Best smoked bourbon old fashioned I have ever had. Platinum Winner- State Street Eating House / Gold WinnerCornerstone and Company / Silver Winner- Jack Dusty / Bronze Winner- Tripletail Seafood and Spirits.
BEST LOCAL COFFEE Rise & Nye’s Coffee, the humble little bean, has turned into something of a lifeline for dedicated drinkers. Uncaffeinated mortals are ordered not to speak with them until they’ve had their cup of joe—it’s that serious. Luckily there are countless coffee counters to get your fix in Sarasota, starting with Platinum winner RISE &
NYE’S that espresso’d everyone for the top spot where your
coffee is accompanied by a fresh beignet or a hand-crafted ice cream sandwich. Grounding their way to Gold is PERQ COFFEE BAR and readers loved Silver O & A COFFEE AND SUPPLY a latte. ATRIA CAFE cold-brewed their way to Bronze. Honorable Mentions for best brew are Banyan Coffee Co., Project Coffee, The Clever Cup Coffee Shop and Mojo Risin’ Coffee Co. -AC Joitta Berkey (on Rise & Nye’s): Smoothest lattes. Babette Bach (on Perq): Fabulous coffee and great food. Caylyn Wells (on O & A Coffee): The absolute best. Weylu Chang (on Atria): Atria is the best place for coffee. I love their seasonal lattes. They are fun and sooo tasty! But more than anything there is a heartwarming feel as soon as you walk into the store. Platinum Winner- Rise & Nye’s / Gold Winner- Perq Coffee Bar / Silver Winner- O&A Coffee Supply / Bronze Winner- Atria Cafe.
BEST LOCAL TEA Elixir Tea House The beverage of relaxation—tea slows us down and helps us unwind after a long day. Beyond its calming effect, tea is also known for its hundreds if not thousands of holistic properties easing everything from stomachaches to brain fog to anxiety. It’s easy to tea why there are whole shops dedicated to the art of picking the perfect teabag. ELIXIR TEA HOUSE gets the par-tea started as the Platinum winner while ELEVATION TEA COMPANY kettles in nicely to take Gold. BANYAN COFFEE CO. steeps its way to Silver and readers weren’t chai to tell us they loved Bronze winner O & A COFFEE AND SUPPLY. Cozy up with a cup at Honorable Mention TeBella Tea Sarasota. Eva Saunders (on Elixir ): Lovely atmosphere and great food. Stephanie Schmitz (on Elevation Company): I began my journey with tea in the beginning of my 3rd pregnancy. I was too nauseated to drink coffee so I made the switch with Elevation Tea Company. In particular, the Berry Bliss and Purple Passion have a special place in my heart. I’m now near the end of my pregnancy, and I don’t see myself picking up coffee ever again. They have an incredible variety of fair trade and organically grown teas. I also really enjoy all of the teas they serve up at the local markets with the Pumpkin Spice Latte being a current favorite! Courtney Martin (on Banyan Coffee Co): They are great people with a great product. Platinum Winner- Elixir Tea House / Gold Winner- Elevation Tea Company / Silver WinnerBanyan Coffee Co. / Bronze Winner-O& A Coffee and Supply.
BEST LOCAL BUTCHER Southern Steer Butcher Good quality meats are key to a delicious dinner and these bovine butchers were a cut above the rest. SOUTHERN STEER BUTCHER is the Platinum pick to grab your pan-fried steaks while THE BUTCHER’S BLOCK is the Gold standard for all your grilling needs. DETWILER’S FARM MARKET has the steaks for Silver and ALPINE STEAKHOUSE AND BUTCHER SHOP is Bronze ready for your next BBQ. Check out Honorable Mentions Geier’s Sausage Kitchen and Butcher’s Mark. AC Catherine Dowell (on Southern Steer): Great cuts of meat, friendly employees, and great deals. Les Kahrnoff (on The Butcher’s Block): Highest quality meats in various cuts with a few great seafood selections as well. Phenomenal wine selections- perhaps the best in the city. Not the largest, but the finest wines crossing multiple countries/regions. continued on page 80
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BEST LOCAL ICE CREAM Rise & Nye’s There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is one in ice-cream which is perfect because I want to eat the whole thing by myself. Whether on the beach or in the backyard, there’s no better way to beat the heat than with a towering scoop, or two, or three, of creamy, delicious ice-cream—and we’ve got the inside scoop. RISE & NYE’S was the ice-cream of the crop with a Platinum win while KOOKIE’S & KREAM got the Gold. BIG OLAF sweetened the deal for Silver and DETWILER’S FARM MARKET was the cherry on top for Bronze. Fill your bowl and your belly at Honorable Mentions Abel’s Ice Cream, Sweetberries Frozen Custard, Gelato-go Sarasota, Main Street Creamery, American Honey Creamery and Coffee Co. and Orange Octopus. -AC Joitta Berkey (on Rise & Nye’s): Great ice cream with good flavor variety! Great mission. Win on both counts. Sam Fernandez (on Kookie’s & Kream):This was probably some of the best ice cream I’ve had. They don’t sleep on the fillings/toppings. Erica Garland (on Big Olaf): Nice people. Great ice cream! Jim Meyd (on Detwiler’s): I chose Detwiler’s Ice Cream as the best local ice cream simply because it is. The quality and variety of flavors is second to no one. The fact that the ice cream stays hard in the freezer tells you the high quality of the butter fat in the ice cream. My absolute favorite is the coconut almond. When you remove the lid, the preview for what is in store for you is present right away. Right on the top is a circle of all the ingredients of the ice cream. In that circle is that fabulous ice cream, large pieces of almonds, coconut, and generous flakes of dark chocolate. Every spoonful of this ice cream has them in it. This is a great representation of all their ice cream. No matter the flavor, it is well represented in every spoonful. Platinum Winner- Rise & Nye’s / Gold Winner- Kookies & Kream / Silver Winner- Big Olaf / Bronze Winner-Detwiler’s Farm Market. Photo of Rise & Nye’s ice cream sandwich by Wyatt Kostygan.
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And . . . a great selection of specialty foods, specialty cuts, stocks, soups. This is the best meat market in town. Eric Homeister (on Detwiler’s Farm Market): I feel confident that I’m getting high quality meat for a consistently good price. I don’t feel the need to play the “on sale” game of waiting for the sale at other stores. Also they do so much volume that it’s always fresh. Steve Grantham (on Alpine): Been going to them for years. Great products, very accommodating, and friendly employees. Platinum Winner- Southern Steer Butcher / Gold Winner- The Butcher’s Block / Silver Winner- Detwiler’s Farm Market / Bronze Winner- Alpine Steakhouse.
BEST LOCAL CATERER Zildjian Catering If you think cooking for the family is hard, try cooking for a Thanksgiving dinner or family reunion—time to call in reinforcements. Putting food on the table and your stress to rest is Platinum pick ZILDJIAN CATERING while MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET has the goods for Gold. MICHAEL’S ON EAST takes Silver for its savory sides and newcomer ATRIA CAFE is a Bronze winner for their breads. Find your next feast at Honorable Mentions Cornerstone and Company and Tapas and Fun.-AC Jennifer Heath (on Zildjian Catering): I appreciate the love and hardwork that Alyson and her team put into each job. The food is delicious. Eva Saunders (on Morton’s): Excellent selection. Marlane Wurzbach (on Morton’s): For a small gathering or a large event, Morton’s has been winning our hearts for decades. Christine Clary(on Michael’s On East): Always first class. Weyli Angus (on Atria Cafe): From office parties, baby showers to weddings. They do it all and have a beautiful presentation. Platinum Winner- Zildjian’s / Gold Winner-Morton’s Gourmet Market / Silver Winner- Michael’s On East / Bronze Winner- Atria Cafe.
BEST LOCAL JUICE CROP Juice When you don’t have time to eat a salad for lunch—drink one. Juices have been a mainstay on the health-food circuit for years now that the nutrient value and flavors have only become better with time. Sarasota residents looking to jumpstart their diet can turn to these spots for the ultimate boost in brain foods. CROP JUICE beets the competition for a Platinum win while GREEN ZEBRA CAFÉ was the apple of voters’ eyes taking Gold. SARAFRESH JUICE was a squeeze for Silver and CLEAN JUICE pear-fect choice for Bronze. Other favorites can be found at Honorable Mentions ionie Retreat and Organic Raw Food Cafe, Good Fortune Juicery & Kitchen and Vibe Sarasota. -AC Rucel Pletado (on CROP): Love that they are all organic and community minded. They have great juice and customer service. Gina Robles (on Green Zebra Café): Excellent selection of juices and smoothies. The kick shot is my favorite. I love all their juices. Friendly service, awesome atmosphere. Very happy place. Kim Livengood (on SaraFresh): Lynn of SaraFresh is so passionate about what she does. Her juices are seriously super fresh and delicious. Whenever I feel like I need a healthy boost, she’s my first thought. Edith Richman (on Clean Juice): The best! Fresh, delicious and the staff is very friendly, smiling and happy which makes it inviting and makes me want to come back for the great service. Platinum Winner- CROP Juice / Gold Winner- Green Zebra Café / Silver Winner- SaraFresh / Bronze Winner- Clean Juice.
BEST FARMERS MARKET Sarasota Farmers Market
Freshly baked goods straight from the fields to your fridge is the kind of magic that can be found at a farmers market. Homemade lotions, soy candles and uniquely flavored honey are typical treasures in the tents of the various markets around town. SARASOTA FARMERS MARKET was a Platinum hit while DETWILER’S FARM MARKET foraged for Gold. THE MARKET AT LAKEWOOD RANCH marked their spot for Silver and PHILLIPPI FARMHOUSE MARKET found friends with a Bronze win. Check out Honorable Mention Downtown Bradenton Public Market. -AC Tyler Nathanson (on Sarasota Farmers Market): The downtown Sarasota farmers market has such great energy! It’s always alive and bustling with life. Monaca Onstad (on The Market at Lakewood Ranch): Love love love this market. Small-town feel but big time variety. Crystal Cervantes (on Phillippi Farmhouse): We love that it’s where the locals go. All vendors appear to come from Manasota and truly support the local community. Other markets make this claim but it is apparent that there are more from other counties represented then from Sarasota/Manatee or Charlotte county and it is not for lack of local small businesses/vendors. Platinum WinnerSarasota Farmers Market / Gold Winner- Detwiler’s Farm Market / Silver Winner- The Market at Lakewood Ranch / Bronze Winner- Phillippi Park Wednesday Market.
BEST LOCAL GROCER Detwiler’s Farm Market When you want that hometown feel and family-friendly service head to these favorites for Best Local Grocer. DETWILER’S FARM MARKET proved to be produce perfection with Platinum while MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET is a multi-generation hometown grocer taking home Gold with a plethora of well-heeled staples. -AC Marlane Wurzbach (on Morton’s Gourmet Market): My mother introduced me to Morton’s 25 years ago and even when we lived on Anna Maria Island, we’d drive down to buy their wonderful salads, soups, bakery items, cheeses . . . everything! Love their High Roller sandwiches. Platinum Winner- Detwiler’s Farm Market / Gold Winner- Morton’s Gourmet Market.
BEST LOCAL BREAD C’est La Vie You better baguette we’ve got a ton of bread-ily baked goodness this year for the competition of Best Local Bread. Topped with homemade jam, butter or trendy avocado—let’s give a toast to this year’s winners. Last year’s champion C’EST LA VIE kneaded their way to Platinum perfection while readers put their crust in Gold winner PAISANO’S ITALIAN BAKERY. DETWILER’S FARM MARKET osour-doughed a Silver and voters loafed ATRIA CAFE for Bronze. -AC Pat Zaehe: (on C’est La Vie): Their breads and baguette are wonderful. One of few places that is not mass produced. Cakes and croissants are delicious too. Suzanne Lucas (on Paisano’s Italian Bakery): I go here every weekend. The selections are abundant, and the desserts are amazing . . so is the bread. Joitta Berkey (on Detwiler’s): Baked goods like Nana’s. Weylu Chang continued on page 84
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BEST BIKE SHOP Sarasota Cycle Maybe the most underrated way to get around town (in America) is by bike. You can take in the scenery, get some sun on your skin and skip traffic all while exercising. Honestly a perfect combination. These Sarasota shops will get your wheels in motion to hit the road. SARASOTA CYCLE takes Platinum while readers voted VILLAGE BIKES LAKEWOOD RANCH Gold to get you in gear. RYDER BIKES spun into Silver and Honorable Mentions Real Bikes and Pinnacle Wheel Works are ready to help with your next ride. -AC Steve Schlabach (on Village Bikes): Have dealt with them a few times, the last time I needed a few parts to finish building a bike, with the supply chain shortage they didn’t have everything I needed, but told me exactly what I need, didn’t sell me anything I didn’t need, even told me to check out one of the other local shops because they might have the part I was looking for. They took the time to explain how to install it, and made me feel valued as a customer. Phyllis Dawson (on Ryder Bikes): Ryders has been around a long time in this city and they are good to their customers and friendly. It’s not a chain store, so it makes a difference to the community who want to be treated like friends. Platinum Winner- Sarasota Cycle / Gold WinnerVillage Bikes, Lakewood Ranch/ Silver Winner- Ryder Bikes. Photo of Sarasota Cycle by Wes Roberts.
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(on Atria’s): There’s no place like it for fresh bread. The Rustic is so crusty and soft and the Hokkaido is like a pillow. Platinum Winner- C’est La Vie / Gold Winner- Paisano’s Italian Baker / Silver Winner- Detwiler’s Farm Market / Bronze Winner- Atria Cafe.
BEST LOCAL COOKIES Suncoast Cookies We all turn into a bit of a cookie monster when given a warm, gooey chocolate chip treat. Baked to buttery bliss, the simple flour, sugar, egg combination that becomes cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Sarasota voted for the sirens of sugar and SUNCOAST COOKIES sweetened the deal for the Platinum pick. CCSWEETS, LLC hot Gold fresh out of the oven while KOOKIES & KREAM is an un-batch-able Silver winner. Last up is SIMPLY SWEETS SRQ crumbs in for a Bronze win. Other spots to roll your dough are Honorable Mentions Honey Badger Baking Company, Cakes by Ron, Detwiler’s Farm Market, Sweet Doctors and SouthernDough Cookies. -AC Amber Keim (on Suncoast Cookies): These are the most inventive and exciting cookies I’ve ever had. Suncoast Cookies always offers something you would have never expected from a cookie, and they always deliver on deliciousness. Grace Sullivan (on CC Sweets): These cookies are one of a kind! They are created with such an eye for detail and I love how each cookie is unique. This baker/decorator is beyond capable of creating very complex and beautiful designs, not to mention the cookies taste amazing. Michele Abreu (on Kookies & Kream): Amazing combinations, lots of creativity, and overall amazing flavor. You can tell he puts his love into his creations. Valerie Bernhard (on Simply Sweets): Amazing, beautiful homemade cookies made by a very sweet familyowned business. Platinum Winner- Suncoast Cookies / Gold Winner- CC Sweets / Silver Winner- Kookies & Kream / Bronze Winner- Simply Sweets SRQ .
BEST FRIED CHICKEN
Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village If there is one food that virtually everyone on the planet is going to like—it’s fried chicken. Juicy, moist, crispy, crunchy—there’s no delicious adjective that doesn’t fit and while Florida might not be considered the southern staple for this feel-good food, Sarasota has some spots winging it to the next level. YODER’S RESTAURANT & AMISH VILLAGE plucks into Platinum while DER DUTCHMAN is a golden fried Gold winner. SHORE ST. ARMANDS spices its way to Silver and MADE RESTAURANT drumstick’d its way onto readers plates for Bronze. -AC Jack Hoza (on Yoder’s): If you know you know. Suzanne Lucas (on Der Dutchman): OMG... just typing this and thinking about it makes me want to go get some of their fried chicken. Heavenly! Sarah Seay (on Shore St. Armands): With the honey Tabasco and mac and cheese. So juicy and delicious. Alyssa Holcomb (on MADE ): So many fried chicken options, so little time… perfect place to nosh on my favorite dish before catching a flick. Platinum Winner- Yoder’s Restaurant and Amish Village / Gold WinnerDer Dutchman / Silver Winner- Shore St. Armands / Bronze Winner- Made Restaurant.
BEST LOCAL SANDWICH Anna’s Deli Sandwiches have the rare culinary freedom to be anything they want as long as it’s between two slices of bread. Hot pastrami with spicy mustard, cold cuts with mayonnaise, Philly Cheesesteaks with marinated peppers, chicken salad with grapes—not a single overlap in flavors or ingredients and yet each one shares the same name in the end—sandwich. ANNA’S DELI had voters vying for a bite with a Platinum win while MAIN BAR SANDWICH SHOP grubbed it’s way to Gold. NELLIE’S DELI MARKET & CATERING was an easy slice for Silver and SOUTHSIDE DELI toasted their buns to a Bronze victory. Take a bite out of Honorable Mentions Corkscrew Deli and Deli Deli Sandwich Co.-AC Caylyn Wells (on Anna’s Deli): You just can’t beat the original Surfer. Liza Rojas (on Main Bar): Famous Italian. Babette Bach (on Southside Deli): Incredible service and super consistent good fresh food. Platinum Winner- Anna’s Deli / Gold Winner- Main Bar Sandwich Shop / Silver Winner- Nellie’s Deli Market and Catering / Bronze Winner- Southside Deli.
BEST LOCAL CUPCAKE Cakes by Ron The miniature version of everyone’s favorite birthday treat, the cupcake makes the case for smaller but mighty. CAKES BY RON had readers hooked on first bite and plated their way to Platinum with a sweetly substantial hundred plus vote lead while SIMPLY SWEETS SRQ bakes up Gold. SWEETS BAKEHOUSE sugar and spiced a Silver victory and CCSWEETS, LLC frosted a fourth place win for Bronze. Honorable Mentions include Cupcakes A Go Go, Sweet Doctors and Hometown Desserts -AC Chandra Riccio (on Cakes by Ron): Absolutely hands down the best of the best! Their Boston Cream cupcake is epic and I would fight anyone that said otherwise! Dan Fago (on Simply Sweets): Their cupcakes are a work of art and taste amazing. Ashley Parker (on Sweets Bakehouse): Not only are Sweets Bakehouse cupcakes delicious and the perfect combination of moist flavourful cake and classic light but decadent buttercream frosting, the owner/baker Tara Allison is a true artist who makes beautiful and creative cupcakes and cakes. She is our go-to for birthdays and family celebrations. Kim McArthur (on CC Sweets): Edible Artistry at its finest. Platinum Winner- Cakes by Ron / Gold Winner- Simply Sweets / Silver Winner- Sweets Bakehouse / Bronze Winner- CCSweets.
BEST LOCAL PIE
Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village Pie is the oft forgotten dessert. A bit retro, sometimes savory and arguably acceptable at breakfast—it’s hard to put pie strictly in the dessert box. Sarasota sweet-tooths seem to love pie berry much and came out in droves to vote for YODER’S RESTAURANT & AMISH VILLAGE as the Platinum winner who had a whipped-cream-whopping three hundred vote lead. Voters gobbled up DER DUTCHMAN for Gold and wanted a slice of FLORIBBEAN FLO’S for Silver. Occu-pie-ing the Bronze spot is DUVAL’S FRESH. LOCAL. SEAFOOD. -AC
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Linda Fean (on Yoder’s): Best banana cream pie I’ve ever eaten! Joitta Berkey (on Der Dutchman): Peanut Butter pie for the win every time. Ginger Savalli (on Duval’s): They have an awesome key lime pie; so good! Platinum WinnerYoder’s Restaurant and Amish Village / Gold Winner- Der Dutchman / Silver Winner- Floribbean Flo’s / Bronze WinnerDuval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood.
BEST LOCAL WINE SHOP Sarasota Wine Co. Sip back and relax, these Sarasota wine shops know just the grapes to face any work related wrath. With a staggering four hundred votes ahead, SARASOTA WINE CO. will have you on cloud wine as the Platinum victor. SEAGRAPE WINE COMPANY is a grape pick for Gold and MICHAEL’S WINE CELLAR crushed it to win Silver. Winning the bottle for Bronze is SIESTA KEY WINE BAR. Honorable Mention Sarasota Wine & Spirits is another spot to stop for a glass. -AC Justine Fitzgerald (on Sarasota Wine Co.): Joe and Brooke are kind and knowledgeable! They host great events and make everyone feel welcome and make choosing wines feel accessible and fun. They have a great selection and you can tell they love their business and their customers. Jane Berg (on Seagrape Wine Company): The shop owner is so knowledgeable, makes wine approachable and affordable. Always has a great selection and is sampling new stuff. Can always find something excellent to try. Molly Klauber Biter (on Michael’s Wine Cellar): Michael’s has an incredibly well-curated selection with extremely knowledgeable staff. They offer delivery as well. John Georgenson (on Siesta Key Wine Bar): Amazing wine, vibe and owners! Love this little gem! Platinum Winner- Sarasota Wine Co. / Gold WinnerSeagrape Wine Company / Silver Winner- Michael’s Wine Cellar / Bronze Winner- Siesta Key Wine Bar.
BEST LOCAL DONUT Five-O-Donut Co. What is with breakfast and circular foods? Bagels, pancakes, sausage patties and the always delicious donut. Glazed, frosted, old-fashioned the delectable donut never disappoints and can turn a mundane morning into one filled with some sprinkled sugar sunshine. FIVE-O DONUT CO was our readers choice for most a-glazing donut as the Platinum winner and PEACH’S DONUTS got the Gold. Sprinkling into Silver is GOLD STAR DONUTS and readers donut know what they’d do without Bronze winner THE FARM HOUSE. Check out Honorable Mention: Shipley Do-Nuts. -AC Debbie Char (on Five-O Donut): They are always on my most wanted list! Crystal Cervantes (on Peach’s Donuts): Have you seen the lines to their truck at the Farmers Market. Chandra Riccio (on Gold Star Donuts): Best doughnuts 30+ years running. Gold Star is a family tradition in our home. Their sour cream doughnuts are da bomb! Conner Young (on The Farm House): The donuts are amazing & the service is great. Platinum Winner- Five-O Donut Co / Gold WinnerPeach’s Donuts / Silver Winner- Gold Star Donuts / Bronze Winner- The Farmhouse.
BEST LOCAL FARM Albritton Fruit Farms Skipping the produce aisle all together for the farm-freshness of a just plucked carrot is easier than one might think looking around Sarasota soil bursting with local farms. The placeto-be during the pandemic ALBRITTON FRUIT FARMS U-pick blueberries planted themselves firmly as the Platinum winner with a hundred vote lead while WORDEN FARM was outstanding in their field as the Gold winner. Voters couldn’t sheep quiet about HOMESTEAD HYDROPONIC FARM, the Silver victor and GROVE LADDER FARM took Bronze. Look for Old McDonald at Honorable Mentions Dakin Dairy Farm Market & Cafe, Jessica’s, Organic Farm, Hunsader Farms and Geraldson’s Family Farm.-BM Emily Velazquez (on Albritton Fruit Farms): The Albritton Fruit Farms are not only providing an amazing product but when you buy from them you know you’re getting a lifetime’s worth of hard work in their fruit. The best quality and best people. Keera Belviy (on Worden Farm): The employees that work here treat their crop with care. So nice to see. Ann Goldstein (on Homestead Hydroponic Farm): They have the best local produce and have partnered with other local establishments to create a one stop shop Wednesdays and Saturdays in Sarasota. They are consistent, friendly and so deserving of this award. Sherrie McKinley (on Grove Ladder ): It’s clear Tim and Chelsea and family love farming. It’s evident in their quality protein products, their network of farmers who produce other goods, and the service they provide each customer. Platinum Winner- Albritton Fruit Farms / Gold WinnerWorden Farms / Silver Winner- Homestead Hydroponic Farm / Bronze Winner- Grove Ladder Farm.
PHILANTHROPY &GIVING BACK BEST LOCAL NONPROFIT Lost Pet Services Lending a helping hand to those who need it most is the backbone of any community. Sarasota is overflowing with friendly faces willing to step in when the going gets tough and these non-profits proved to be the ones people turned to most. LOST PET SERVICES took the Platinum place in people’s hearts with more than seven hundred appreciative voters while NATE’S HONOR ANIMAL RESCUE took the honor of Gold. Always there for children in need, CHILDREN FIRST landed Silver and LOVE4PAWS showcased how much Sarasotans treasure their pets with a Bronze win. Over a dozen Honorable Mentions were voted onto our list this year and they are: Blaze of Hope, Resilient Retreat Cat Depot, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties, Child Protection Center Inc, St. Vincent De Paul CARES, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, All Faiths Food Bank, Harvest House, All Star Children’s Foundation, The Twig Cares, Inc., The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Safe Place & Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), Crowley Museum and Nature Center and Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue . -AC continued on page 90
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BEST LOCAL ANIMAL NONPROFIT Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue Helping those that don’t have a voice of their own is what animal nonprofits are all about. Dogs and cats in distress can’t ask for help, so we have to step in and lift them up. Sarasota’s pick for the Platinum spot, NATE’S HONOR ANIMAL RESCUE received a whopping 800 plus votes, showcasing their achievement of taking exceptional care of our community’s critters. With the heartfelt goal of reuniting animals with their owners, LOST PET SERVICES won Gold for their hearts of gold. LOVE4PAWS secured Silver and CAT DEPOT was voted our Bronze winner for their commitment to caring for cats. Honorable Mentions include Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary, Humane Society of Sarasota County and Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue. -AC Doreen Quirk (on Nate’s Honor): I have been volunteering and fostering with Nate’s Honor for over 11 years. They give each animal that comes to them everything that is needed so the animal goes to the right forever home. Christa Cook (on Lost Pet Services): This group has helped me on numerous occasions with found dogs. The networking and support they offer is amazing. The dedication defies description and they are quick with advice and always go beyond what’s expected. So many people rely on this service to help reunite pets with owners. Kristen Kohler (on Love4Paws): They do amazing work and take extra special care of their rescues. They go above and beyond to make sure they are well taken care of and the right home is chosen. I adopted my dog from this rescue and will continue to do so in the future. I highly recommend. Ellie Levine (on Cat Depot): Cat Depot has found homes for over 1,000 cats this year. They are a fear free Shelter, and it shows! Those cats are happy and well cared for. They adjust to home life so easily because of all the steps the staff takes to make sure they’re happy. Platinum Winner- Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue / Gold Winner- Lost Pet Services / Silver WinnerLove4Paws / Bronze Winner- Cat Depot
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Vickie Wagner (on Lost Pet Services): They have helped so many lost pets get reunited with their owners. Reneé McFadden (on Nate’s Honor): Nate’s Rescue is one of the best shelters I have ever volunteered for. They are so busy, but they still find the time to be thankful and be kind to all of the people and employees that help them. Truly a remarkable shelter. Cammeron Cochran (on Children First): Children First’s vision creates an empowered community where every child and their family can grow and thrive beyond their wildest dreams. I have never come across a mission so wonderful. Meredith Cleveland (on Love4Paws): We adopted our dog from them last year. They were amazing. Melanie took such great care of Violet before we adopted her. They even put together a little “where are they now” for her litter. Loved it! Platinum Winner- Lost Pet Services / Gold Winner- Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue / Silver Winner- Children First / Bronze Winner- Love4Paws.
BEST LOCAL HEALTH NONPROFIT Resilient Retreat
Staying healthy while managing the rest of your life can be an overwhelming task. Whether dealing with an illness that inhibits your ability to work or caring for your mental health or enduring end of life steps, these Sarasota savoirs have stepped in to help countless people reclaim control of their needs by providing support and sympathy for those most vulnerable. RESILIENT RETREAT wins Platinum this year while TIDEWELL HOSPICE is close behind as the Gold standard pick for second. The Silver selection this year was SUNCOAST BLOOD CENTERS providing scientific support for our communities health matters. -AC Mandy O’Malley (on Resilient Retreat): They are providing innovative programs for the healing of the mind, body, and spirit from the impact of trauma in an authentic, caring, accessible way. Joan Burnell (on Tidewell Hospice): Tidewell Hospice was there for me during some of the most traumatic events of my life (losing family members). I think these people are angels on earth. Ernie Cash (on SunCoast Blood Centers): Great way to give blood that stays in our local community. They have a wonderful and professional staff. Platinum Winner- Resilient Retreat / Gold WinnerTidewell Hospice / Silver Winner- Suncoast Blood Centers.
HOME &DESIGN BEST HOME BUILDER— CUSTOM HOMES Voigt Brothers Construction
Bringing a home to life requires a skilled builder to, quite literally, put the pieces together. These builders are some of Sarasota’s best and readers voted VOIGT BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION Platinum to put everything into place. JOHN CANNON HOMES gets things up and running for Gold win while NUTTER CUSTOM CONSTRUCTION slides
wooden slabs into place for Silver. MILANO HOMES finishes out the list with a Bronze win. For all your building needs, look to Honorable Mentions Lee Wetherington Homes, Murray Homes Inc., Vertical | Design+Build, Jonas Yoder Custom Homes, Inc, Perrone Construction, Bruce Williams Homes and Kemick Builders & Consultants. -AC Christine Clary (on Voigt Brothers): They build amazing, beautiful, and quality homes! Olivia Duenow (on John Cannon): The professionalism of John Cannon Homes is unmatched. They are a joy to work with. And I love the family atmosphere of their business. Casey Colburn (on Nutter Custom Construction): Attention to detail. Discerning and demanding. Focus on customer and project success. Ferruccio Rossi (on Milano Homes): I absolutely love the homes by Milano Homes! It’s a nice modern style, full of energy and with a great vibe. It’s not the traditional “white cube” that comes to your mind when you think about modern style homes. Milano homes are so much more. It’s modern with a great Sarasota personality! I think it fully reflects the Sarasota spirit. I love driving through Sarasota and seeing Milano Homes in the neighborhood.Platinum Winner- Voigt Brothers Construction / Gold Winner- John Cannon Homes / Silver Winner- Nutter Custom Construction / Bronze Winner- Milano Homes.
BEST INTERIOR DESIGNER
April Balliette, DSDG Architects
Creating the mood and vibe of a house is key to feeling like it’s truly yours. Things as seemingly simple as a lampshade can make or break a room and with that type of pressure to perfect it’s time to call in an expert. Debating between egg-shell or pearl? Tossing up between carpet or hardwood—all these decor decisions can be helped along with one of the Sarasota design sensations. With a divinely designed three-hundred plus vote APRIL BALLIETTE-DSDG ARCHITECTS is the Platinum pick for choosing paint colors. COURTNEY PETRIN - SAVANNAH’S HOME AND DESIGN has the gears for Gold and TRADE MARK INTERIORS is here to help you select a sink with a Silver win. Rounding out the competition SOLSTICE PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE comes in Bronze. Other dedicated designers are Honorable Mentions Blu Interiors, Holly Dennis and Marie Bowman Interior Design -AC Anita Keitel (on April Balliette, DSDG Architects): April is wonderful to work with, and her designs are always creative and timeless. Bryce Tennison (on Courtney Petrin, Savannah’s Home): An absolute PRO in every sense of the word. If you want the absolute best, painstaking attention to detail, and someone who intentionally works her tail off to honor her craft . . . then Courtney is your “Go To!” Christine Wetzer (on Trade Mark Interiors): Creativity, professionalism, keen eye for detail and friendly demeanor. Always concentrated on their clients needs and dreams. Platinum Winner- Apirl Balliette, DSDG Architects / Gold Winner- Courtney Petrin, Savannah’s Home and Design / Silver Winner- Trade Mark Interiors / Bronze Winner- Solstice Planning and Architecture
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BEST LOCAL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Michael A. Gilkey, Inc.
A beautiful backyard can elevate any home from simple to spectacular. Lush green, tropical flowers, meditative stone gardens and romantic gazebos all can transport you from a regular backyard to the main character of your own movie. These experts have just the vision to execute your outdoor oasis. MICHAEL A. GILKEY LANDSCAPE ARCHITEC, takes the top spot for a Platinum win while DENNIS A. BARTH LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT guarantees a gorgeous garden in Gold. DWY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS is a backyard Silver here to help create your dream yard. -AC John Murray (on Michael A. Gilkey): He is the best designer in SRQ and he follows through to the finished job which always looks great. Tina Boucher (on Dennis A. Barth Landscape Architect): Authentic approach keeping Florida native species a focal point in all his work. Platinum Winner- Michael A. Gilkey Landscape Architect / Gold Winner- Dennis A. Barth Landscape Architect / Silver Winner- DWY Landscape Architects.
BEST HOME FURNISHINGS STORE Scavengers Marketplace SRQ
What could be more fun than accessorizing an outfit? Supersizing the stakes and adding those extra accents to a whole house! To deck out your new digs in the best decor look no further than these fantastic furnishing stores. They’ve got all your newest needs for comfy couches, top-notch tables and regal rugs. SCAVENGERS MARKETPLACE SRQ is a fan favorite for Platinum while DUTCHCRAFTERS AMISH FURNITURE gets Gold. MATTER BROTHERS FURNITURE & MATTRESS styles its way to Silver and BLU HOME has the goods for a Bronze win. Check out other shop spots at Honorable Mentions Pecky Interiors, Soft Square | Modern Furniture Store, Robb & Stucky and Clive Daniel Home. -AC Ruby Young (on Scavengers): The selection at Scavengers is truly amazing. I find unique vintage and antique pieces and also beautifully painted furniture. Sherri Mills (on DutchCrafters): High quality without high prices. Debbie Mason (on Matter Brothers): Matter Brothers is a wonderful organization. As a locally owned business, the owners get involved and engaged in the community. The staff is well trained and so helpful. I’ve purchased things for my home and for our new Tidewell Foundation offices. They made it easy and were fantastic at meeting what they promised! The merchandise is lovely, quality goods and the whole experience is really super. Meredith J Rushing (on Blu Home): The store is so beautifully done, it makes me wish I could actually live there! Wonderful people who are friendly and very knowledgeable helped me pick out several pieces over the past couple of years. They are always getting new things--one of my favorite places to shop in Sarasota. Platinum Winner- Scavengers Marketplace SRQ / Gold Winner- Matter Brothers / Silver Winner- DutchCrafters Amish Furniture/ Bronze Winner- Blu Home
BEST FLOORING STORE Jack Dean Flooring Planting your feet is much easier with good flooring and these Sarasota spots are laying the groundwork for a feelgood floor. Placing down perfect planks is Platinum pick JACK DEAN FLOORING while 6051 DESIGN SOURCE has a Gold victory. FLOOR & DECOR seals the deal for Silver and SHELLEY CARPETS will have you bounding down the halls with a Bronze win. Honorable Mentions include GC Flooring of Sarasota, Tile and Stone of Italy, 24-7 Floors Sarasota - Carpet and Wood Flooring, Florida Design Works Sarasota, Sticks & Stones Flooring and Fairfax Floors. -AC Kari Queen (on Jack Dean ): Family owned and operated, fair and honest. Lynn Hunter (on 6051 Design Source): Being an interior designer, I need to have a boutique tile store that caters to designers - and what makes 6051 stand out in my opinion! The amazing selection of products, with the personalized service of the best and most knowledgeable owners in Chris Dowling and Karl Reeves. The combination that they can offer installation and personalized service and the best products, is why I choose 6051 each and every day. Thomas Roesicke (on Floor & Decor): We loved the service and selection they offer for hardwood floors. We went with Bamboo and it improved our house immensely. Angela Massaro Fain (on Shelley Carpets): From selection of flooring styles, a vast array of options and pricing, to fast turnaround for delivery and installation, this family business works harder than most to make your flooring experience 100% perfect. We have used Shelly Carpets for three different residences; each time they worked quickly and met their commitment to the delivery date and our budget. Their work was flawless, and they left the homes(s) neat and clean. Platinum Winner- Jack Dean Flooring / Gold Winner- 6051 Design Source / Silver Winner- Floor & Decor / Bronze Winner- Shelley Carpets.
BEST KITCHEN DESIGNER
Solstice Planning and Architecture Though the living room might be designated for lounging about, it could be argued more people hang around the kitchen. The smell of sizzling onions and garlic for dinner, pancakes flipping in the morning as the scent of coffee brews through the house—all the smells and sounds of the kitchen beckon families together like a siren spell. Creating this amazing ambience wouldn’t be complete without a kitchen visionary, like these reader favorites. SOLSTICE PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE plans their way to a Platinum winning kitchen while just on their heels, last year’s top vote-getter CABEX CONSTRUCTION: DESIGN-BUILD REMODEL SARASOTA gets Gold. GILBERT DESIGN BUILD is a Silver star for picking out sinks and CAMPBELL CABINETRY DESIGNS INC. builds
breakfast nooks for Bronze. Check out Honorable Mentions Affinity Kitchen & Bath LLC,. O’Connor Cabinetry Designs, Cabinets Extraordinaire Sarasota: Kitchen & Bathroom, Remodeling and Maslar Renovation and Design. -AC continued on page 96
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BEST CHILDRENS’ NONPROFIT Step Up Suncoast, Inc. Protecting and supporting children is of the utmost importance, as they are the future leaders of our community. Sometimes, after being unfortunately dealt a bad hand or two, others need to step in and provide the support and care missing from their young lives. Sarasota’s nonprofits have become deviated advocates for this and have many organizations ready to lend a helping hand. First up, the Platinum pick is STEP UP SUNCOAST, INC. RISE AND SHINE EARLY LEARNING, while Gold goes to BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA AND DESOTO COUNTIES. Sliding into Silver is CHILD PROTECTION CENTER INC and there to better kids lives is Bronze winner FORTY CARROTS FAMILY CENTER. Honorable Mentions this year are Children First, All Star Children’s Foundation, The Twig Cares, Inc. and Easter Seals Southwest Florida. -AC Ty DeMeza (on Step Up Suncoast): They work to provide children with the education and opportunity to succeed at an early age. They also work to make sure families are given the assistance needed to ensure the best life for the children. Kat Carver (on Boys & Girls Clubs): They are incredibly dedicated to their mission, serving children who need them most in their community. Timothy Tudor (on Child Protection Center): They helped me and my family work through dealing with sexual abuse at nine years old by a relative. I’m now 31 and living a happy and healthy life thanks to CPC! Melissa Tomasso (on Forty Carrots): The need for children and family services during this time has never been so important. They provide counseling services for children as well as for parents. Platinum Winner- Step Up Suncoast / Gold Winner- Boys ad Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties / Silver Winner- Child Protection Center / Bronze Winner- Forty Carrot Family Center. Photo by Wyatt Kotygan of the Gold Winner—The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties. 94 | srq magazine_ APR22 live local
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Leslie Barbour (on Solstice ): The talents of Solstice aren’t limited to architecture. They bring design talent and thoughtfulness to a home that is unmatched by their peers. Their projects include beautiful fixtures, finishes, and furniture that make every space feel truly harmonious. Moreover, the kitchen as the heart of the home must be user friendly and Solstice works overtime to make preparing meals and entertaining a joy to experience. Platinum WinnerSolstice Planning and Architecture / Gold Winner- Cabex Construction / Silver Gilbert Design Build / Bronze WinnerCampbell Cabinetry Designs Inc.
Great variety of countertop surfaces. T Duckworth (on Affinity Kitchen): Affinity has great and experienced staff. They have a great turnaround time and no job has been too small for them. I have been working with them since 2010. Donna Mattern (on Tile and Stone of Italy): I purchased beautiful marble for my kitchen and the install was great. Very easy to work with and very accommodating. Platinum Winner- Planet Stone Marble & Granite, Inc. / Gold WinnerDistinctive Surfaces of Florida / Silver Winner- Affinity Kitchen and Bath / Bronze Winner- Tile and Stone of Italy
BEST CABINETRY Closet Tec Inc
BEST LIGHTING STORE Franklin Lighting
Boxes of pasta, heirloom ceramics, thrift shop saucepans—all these home items need a place to live. Luckily, Sarasota is home to some seriously talented cabinetry companies, starting with Platinum winner CLOSET TEC INC. Next up CABINETS
Unless you want to be kept in the dark, check out Sarasota’s favorites to light up your life. Whether you’re looking for a timeless chandelier or something funky and fun, these spots will brighten up your day. FRANKLIN LIGHTING knows watts up as the Platinum winner while readers felt the glow from Gold winner LYTEWORKS. BEE RIDGE LIGHTING has the spotlight on Silver with their third place win and LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE takes home Bronze. –AC
EXTRAORDINAIRE SARASOTA: KITCHEN & BATHROOM REMODELING secure a second place Gold win while YELLOW HOUSE CABINETRY stacks cabinets for Silver. Here to build out your next cupboard is Bronze best CAMPBELL CABINETRY DESIGNS. Look to Honorable Mentions Affinity
Kitchen & Bath LLC, Magnolia Cabinet Company, Cabex Construction: Design-Build Remodel Sarasota, Albrecht Cabinetry, Eurotech Cabinetry and Maslar Renovation and Design for more dazzling designs. -AC Chris Riley (on Cabinets Extraordinaire Sarasota): This company replaced our cabinets and did a wonderful job! Excellent customer service meanwhile provided an excellent product. Elizabeth Barfield (on Yellow House Cabinetry): They don’t leave out any details and have all the up to date materials possible. You get one on one service, modern technology with a down home feel. No need to look anywhere else. Platinum Winner- Closet Tec Inc. / Gold Winner- Cabinets Extraordinaire Sarasota: Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling / Silver Winner- Yellow House Cabinetry / Bronze WinnerCampbell Cabinetry Designs.
BEST GRANITE/COUNTERTOPS Planet Stone Marble & Granite, Inc.
With all the beautiful countertops to choose from, it’s easy to take for granite the amazing selections around Sarasota. PLANET STONE MARBLE & GRANITE, INC.places platinum while DISTINCTIVE SURFACES OF FLORIDA is an attentiongrabbing Gold. AFFINITY KITCHEN & BATH LLC sands and secures its Silver spot in the counter-culture while TILE AND STONE OF ITALY brings home the Bronze. Honorable Mentions include European Marble, Final Touch Counters and ICONIC Stone Design.-AC Samantha Bruno (on Planet Stone): They are amazing -I have done all the rooms in my house with them. Local and female owned. Angela Massaro-Fain (on Distinctive Surfaces of Florida): Excellent service, custom work with attention to detail that is clean, precise and always on time.
Cathy Allred (on Franklin Lighting): Friendliest, Family owned, people you’d want to know. Jane Jones (on Lyteworks): The customer service at Lyteworks has always been superb. I have worked with two different decorators and both were very helpful, forthright and knowledgeable. They know about bulbs and their hues; transformers and wattages . . . everything involved with selecting fixtures to last a lifetime. The customer experience is flawless. Platinum Winner- Franklin Lighting / Gold Winner- Lyteworks / Silver Winner- Bee Ridge LIghting / Bronze Winner- Light Up Your Life.
BEST BATHROOM FIXTURES The Plumbing Place
The humble bathroom is oft forgotten when dreaming up a new home, but it still deserves attention to detail like any other room. Bright bulbs can transform your getting ready routine from home-based to Hollywood and clawfoot tubs can add a touch of retro renaissance. THE PLUMBING PLACE plunges into Platinum while GORMAN’S BATH GALLERY is a stunning second place winner for Gold. FERGUSON BATH, KITCHEN & LIGHTING GALLERY sinks into Silver and HYDROLOGIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANY is a Bronze bathtub beauty. Also check out Honorable Mention Baths, Kitchens, More.–AC Charles Varah (on Plumbing Place): Their selection is a feast and lets you consider all range of possibilities and plenty that would not have crossed the mind or been evident in other showrooms. They are knowledgeable, helpful and experienced, we have loved every visit. T Duckworth (on Hydrologic): Absolutely beautiful showroom, very sparkly! Wide variety of products. Competitive pricing and a lovely experience with the staff. Platinum Winner- The Plumbing Place / Gold Winner-Gorman Bath Gallery / Silver WinnerFerguson Bath, Kitchen &Lighting Gallery / Bronze WinnerHydrologic Distribution Company
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BEST WINDOW COVERINGS Beginning to End Interiors
Getting your windows decked out can be a tricky task to figure out as a new home owner but these spots have got you covered. Placing Platinum is BEGINNING TO END INTERIORS while A I H CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS gets you set up with Gold. M & M WALLCOVERINGS & BLINDS is a shoein for Silver and WINDOW DECOR AND DESIGN beats the rest to Bronze. Check out Honorable Mention Country Store Interiors for all your window woes. -AC Platinum WinnerBegining to End Interiors / Gold Winner- A|H Custom Window Treatments / Silver Winner- M&M Wallcovering and Blinds / Bronze Winner- Window Decor and Design.
BEST POOL CONTRACTOR Sutherly Pool Services, Inc.
The perfect pool can transform a backyard from normal to next-level. Water fountains, slides, coves, shallow-pool lounge chairs—all these additions can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical vacation rather than just out your backdoor. SUTHERLY POOL SERVICES, INC.pools their votes for a Platinum win while SUPERIOR POOLS OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA dove into Gold. WATER DESIGNS OF SARASOTA swims in style to Silver and SPARKLING KLEEN POOLS & SPAS bounces off the diving board to Bronze. Check out Honorable Mention Gettle Pools Inc. -AC William Middleton (on Sutherly Pool): Sutherly pools remodeled my pool and it was better than I could ever have imagined. Travis went above and beyond to make sure my pool was exactly what I envisioned. I highly recommend this company. Kayla Hines (on Superior Pools): Superior Pools is my favorite because it is not just about getting another client. Superior Pools takes time to build a relationship with the client, they go above and beyond to make sure the client understands and is well educated in how the construction process will go. Everyone at Superior Pools is very nice and respectful. Julie Lemieux (on Water Designs of Sarasota): Professional, quality, care. John Vindalle (on Sparkling Kleen): The owner is very courteous and very knowledgeable and the staff walked me along through the process. Pool came out looking amazing and very beautiful. I constantly get compliments on it when friends and family come over. Platinum Winner- Sutherly Pool Services / Gold Winner- Superior Pools of Southwest Florida / Silver Winner- Water Designs of Sarasota/ Bronze WinnerSparkling Kleen Pools and Spas.
BEST CONTRACTOR, RESIDENTIAL HOMES Synergy Building Corp.
Overseeing a project as big as a house requires dedication and expertise. Here to help is Platinum pick SYNERGY BUILDING CORP. along with CABEX CONSTRUCTION providing the Gold standard for service. VOIGT BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION was the selected Silver victor and TRINITY CONSTRUCTION burst onto the scene for a Bronze win. Other home-worthy Honorable Mentions are Vertical Design + Build, Markley Construction and Edge Water Contractors. -AC
Kevin Bryon (on Synergy): Incredible quality and customer service. Christine Pelzar (on Cabex): Amazing design concepts and attention to detail! Dan Barzel (on Trinity): Highly responsive and responsible.Top quality work. Attention to detail. Passionate about their work. Platinum Winner- Synergy Building Corp. / Gold Winner- Cabex Construction / Silver Winner-Voigt Brothers Construction / Bronze Winner- Trinity Construction.
BEST PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPING
ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design Keeping your lawn luxurious is easier said than done in this Florida heat, but these landscaping companies are here to help make sure the grass is always greener on your side of the fence. ARTISTREE LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE & DESIGN makes plant perfection with a Platinum win while GRANT’S GARDENS creates gilded gardens as Gold. HARDY OUTDOOR INC. saves sun-bleached grass with a Silver win and BORDEN LANDSCAPE DESIGN wins Bronze. Honorable Mentions Hazeltine Nurseries, Inc. and Terry’s Tree Service are just a call away for all your landscape needs. -AC Julie Lemieux (on ArtisTree): Professional and great designs. Derek Jozwiakowski (on Hardy): Very friendly service, very detailed and personal. Does an excellent job, highly recommended. Platinum Winner- ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design / Gold Winner- Grant’s Gardens / Silver Winner- Hardy Outdoor Inc./ Bronze WinnerBorden Landscape Design.
BEST LAWN MAINTENANCE Greenway Lawn Service Inc
Keeping up with your lawn can be a yawn if you don’t have the proper tools, so these Sarasota specialists stay ready to step in. Yard Work doesn’t have to be hard work with these guys around, starting with Platinum winner GREENWAY LAWN SERVICE INC. Helping your gardens grow is Gold winner THE KEY GARDENER and TWIN BLADES LAWN CARE is a Silver victor. Besting into Bronze is G&G GARDEN AND LAWN CARE. -AC Blake Sliker (on Greenway ): Greenway is a great local family owned and run lawn care company! They are personal and professional and do a great job. Charlotte Bimba (on The Key Gardener): Absolutely the best in Sarasota. Complete attention to detail every visit. Knowledgeable, courteous and competent service is the norm and every concern is addressed in a timely manner. Eric is like having a personal gardener. Platinum Winner- Greenway Lawn Service / Gold Winner-The Key Gardener / Silver Winner- Twin Blades Lawn Care/ Bronze Winner- G&G Garden and Lawn Care
BEST FENCE INSTALLER H & Y Fence If you’re on the fence about who to call when you’re after that perfect white picket look—these installers have the inside scoop. H & Y FENCE places their way to Platinum and JAY’S FENCING gets Gold. FLORIDA FENCE AND PRECISION GATE & SECURITY, INC. are chain-linked together as our Silver winners while readers boasted about Bronze winner ROBERTSON FENCE. -AC continued on page 102
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BEST LOCAL ARCHITECT DSDG Architects, Mark Sultana Leave legos to the kiddos—these artistic wizards are shaping up some of the most marvelous homes in Sarasota. The building blocks to your dream home are just a drawing away with these reader favorites who will bring your imagination to life with sweeping views, stellar staircases and beautiful backyards. DSDG ARCHITECTS-MARK SULTANA paved his way to a Platinum victory while FAWLEY BRYANT ARCHITECTURE gets the Gold. WILLIAM TAGLAND wowed readers for a Silver place finish and JONATHAN PARKS AIA, SOLSTICE PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE took home the Bronze. Honorable Mentions include Vertical Design + Build, Sweet Sparkman and Echt Architects. -AC Charles Granatir (on Mark Sultana): Outstanding talent, professionalism and attention to detail. Kelly Loiczly (on Mark Sultana): My husband and I have been planning our vision for our retirement home for almost a decade. For years we have been saving notes on things we liked and disliked, magazine images, computer printouts, and even sketches we made (and I cannot draw to save my life). Last year we gave that stack, along with our “wish list” to Mark and his team. Over the course of the next few months, Mark took that stack and, miraculously, created our perfect home. It is everything we dreamt about and more. He really listened to what we wanted for our home and found a way to surpass my imagination. It truly is our dream home! We look forward to our future endeavors with Mark and his team while our home is under construction - set to break ground later this spring. Ian Dill (on Fawley Bryant): Their attention to detail, wonderful team, and personal touch help bring every project we have done with them to life. They never let us compromise on our design and hold everyone to the highest standard. They are a true force in the architecture world and I can’t wait for our next project together. Cindy Laitar (on William Tagland): Tagland has such amazing vision - truly an artist. Justyna Garden (on Jonathan Parks): Jonathan created a masterpiece which we call our home. He took time to know us and our esthetic, which resulted in a beautiful, warm home for life. Platinum Winner- Mark Sultana, DSDG Architects/ Gold Winner- Fawley Bryant Architecture / Silver Winner- William Tagland / Bronze Winner- Jonathan Parks, Solstice Planning and Architecture Photo of Mark Sultana of DSDG Architects by Wes Roberts.
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Yolanda South (on H&Y Fence): H&Y Fence installed a chain link fence for me years ago. They were one of a few that actually returned calls. They showed up promptly and when they said they would. The install was flawless and the worksite was cleaned. I would use them again. Sharon Owens (on Jay’s Fencing): Jay not only does fencing well, he is also a really nice person to deal with - I don’t think you can do any better than Jay’s Fencing. Jeanne Appleman (on Precision Gate): Always available, always answers your calls. Very patient with clients and does a thorough job. Platinum Winner- H&Y Fence / Gold Winner-Jay’s Fencing / Silver Winner- Florida Fence, Precision Gate and Security, Inc./ Bronze Winner- Robertson Fence.
BEST HVAC/AC COMPANY Tri County Too hot, too cold, just right? Finding the Goldilocks approved temperature for your house is key to enjoying your time inside. These HVAC/AC experts know just the tricks to maintain a perfectly balanced climate control to keep you calm on your couch. TRI COUNTY is hot, hot, hot with a four hundred point lead as the Platinum winner while BADGER BOB’S SERVICES AIR CONDITIONING, APPLIANCES, PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL kicks it into gear for Gold. COOL TODAY structures a Silver win and SEAN MCCUTCHEON’S AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING, INC. helps you beat the heat
with a Bronze win. Honorable Mentions include Veteran Air Heating & Air Conditioning, Aqua, Plumbing & Air - N. Tamiami Trail, Badger Bob’s Services Air Conditioning, Appliances, Plumbing, Electrical, Superior Heating and Cooling, Custom Air and Plumbing, D&D Air and J & J Air Conditioning. -AC Sheila Anderson (on Tri County): They care about their customers and their employees and have an incredible nonprofit to help the community. Betty Newcomb (on Badger Bob’s): I have used this Company since the 90s and they are quick to respond and very efficient with solving the problem I highly recommend. Chandra Riccio (on Cool Today): Best HVAC company hands down. My AC went out on a Saturday night and Cool Today came that evening and had a new unit for me the next day! And in Florida that’s everything! Lisa Comeau (on Sean McCutcheon’s): Finally found an honest and reliable AC company! They’re the first company in 21 years that I don’t feel like I’m getting taken advantage of, or the run around. Platinum Winner- TriCounty/ Gold WinnerBadger Bob’s Services Air Conditioning, Appliances, Plumbing, Electrical / Silver Winner- Cool Today / Bronze Winner- Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.
BEST ROOFING CONTRACTOR Roofing by Curry
Unless you want your whole house to have a massive skylight, one final step is needed—raising the roof. These contractors have just the right ratios to put the finishing touches on your house and Platinum pick ROOFING BY CURRY grabs the top spot. AVERY ROOF SERVICES gets Gold and WOLFF ROOFING LLC scales the ladders to Silver. Last, who better to call than Bronze winner GARY’S ROOFING SERVICE. Check out Honorable Mentions Len’s Roofing, Inc., Shue Kauffman Inc, Chappelle Roofing LLC and Crown Roofing & Waterproofing.-AC
Joe G (on Avery Roof ): They are nice, easy to work with, efficient, fair, and honest. Highly recommend. Christine Sutherly (on Wolff Roofing): We had our roof replaced by Wolff Roofing and they were a phenomenal company to work with. The owner, Ted, was super nice and helpful. The work was all done by his staff and was not subbed out to other people which I liked. We received a reasonable quote quickly and the job was done right away and they were fast and efficient. Very highly recommend it. Sheila Vincent (on Gary’s Roofing): Professional, punctual and job always completed on time. Gave me a 20 year guarantee on my barrel tile roof! Platinum Winner- Roofing by Curry / Gold Winner-Avery Roof Services / Silver Winner- Wolff Roofing LLC. / Bronze Winner- Gary’s Roofing Service.
BEST SOLAR CONTRACTOR Mirasol Solar Renewable energy is an incredible way to reduce, reuse and recycle with almost zero effort. Trading in conventional energy for naturally powered and carbon neutral power sources can make a huge step forward in the fight against climate change. So sit back, relax, and let the sun light up your house. MIRASOL SOLAR powers into Platinum while SOLAR ENERGY MANAGEMENT glows for the Gold. For the final win, REGION SOLAR sunshines it’s way to a Silver spot. -AC
BEST INTERIOR HOUSE PAINTING Brian Hardy Painting Services LLC
According to many psych studies, paint-colors can affect your mood dramatically, so finding an experienced painter to color your walls is more than a simple pick. Greens can make you feel calm and grounded. Blues inject energy into your day while yellows can lift a bad mood and increase happiness. These Sarasota picks have brushed up on all their tricks to whitewash your walls. BRIAN HARDY PAINTING SERVICES LLC paints their way to Platinum and MYERS PAINTING, LLC gets your walls ready with a Gold win. 5 STAR PAINTING SARASOTA takes a Silver victory CHRIS SHERK PAINTING, INC. brushes its way to Bronze. Honorable Mentions include G&B Painting and 3E Premier Painting.–AC Rebecca McLeod (on Brian Hardy): Was able to meet all my interior needs…stayed on schedule, and delivered a great quality. Grant Castilow (on Myers Painting): As a high-end custom home design builder for 20+ years in Sarasota, I have hired many painters. My first experience partnering with Josh and his team was on one of our coastal custom builds 8+ years ago. Their meticulous attention to detail and care and patience to do things right resulted in an exceptional end result for our discerning clients. Rachel Toomim (on 5 Star Painting Sarasota): Five Star Painting is a great company. They make sure that every job is done to the customers satisfaction, with supervisors present from the onset and approving of every job when finished. They make sure that each job is right. Platinum Winner- The Plumbing Place / Gold Winner-Gorman Company / Silver Winner- Ferguson Bath Kitchen and Lighting Gallery / Bronze Winner- Hydrologic Distribution Company
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BEST EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINTING
Snider’s Painting | Lakewood Ranch Painters Before anyone steps foot through your front door, they are greeted by the outside walls.Paint color is an important first step to giving guests an insight into your style. A light yellow home can be seen as inviting while a bright pink door lets visitors know you’ve got a zany side. Simple beiges and browns keep things seeming organized while a jet-black house will have all the neighbors talking. SNIDER’S PAINTING | LAKEWOOD RANCH PAINTERS is the Platinum pick while BRAENDEL PAINTING grabbed readers attention with Gold. D & D PAINTING & RESTORATION takes Silver and LERCH CUSTOM PAINTING bristles into Bronze.–AC Platinum Winner- Snider’s Painting | Lakewood Ranch Painters / Gold Winner- Braendel Painting / Silver Winner- D&D Painting and Restoration / Bronze Winner- Lerch Custom Painting.
Good News Pest Solutions There is nothing worse than a guest that overstays their welcome, but what about one who was never invited— moving in! The dreaded pest problem of any home can be zapped with these bug busters. GOOD NEWS PEST SOLUTIONS is your pest bet for a bug free-home at Platinum while KRIZEN PEST CONTROL gets rid of grubs with Gold. HUGHES EXTERMINATORS saves the day with Silver and ALL AMERICAN PEST SERVICES | TERMITES & BED BUG REMOVAL says goodbye to bugs with Bronze. Honorable
Mention Impact Pest Elimination is here to help as well .–AC Alicia Bradshaw (on Krizen): Ryan Krizen is not only a veteran to our country he is an exterminator to the pesky bugs! He has an outstanding company motto and he is a wonderful family orientated individual that deserves more than any reward! He makes SRQ proud to live here and love where we live. Ayla Zimanek (on Hughes): Hughes Exterminators is thorough, kind, prompt and professional. They are considerate of your schedule and are excellent communicators! They do a fabulous job. Carrie Collins (on All American Pest): Family owned and run business. Clean, precise and spot-on work. Platinum Winner- Good News Pest Solutions / Gold Winner- Kirzen Pest Control / Silver WinnerHughes Exterminators/ Bronze Winner- All American Pest Services | Termites & Bed Bug Removal.
ARTS &CULTURE BEST GALLERY
The Artful Giraffe If gallery gazing and galavanting is your groove, then Sarasota is the right town for you. Streets full of art-packed shops sit and wait for you to admire, appreciate and adorn your homes with the beautiful offerings local painters, sculptors and talents have to offer. THE ARTFUL GIRAFFE paints their
way to Platinum while ART UPTOWN INC glitters it’s way to Gold. Sculpting out the perfect Silver spot are GALLERIES OF RINGLING COLLEGE and ARTCENTER MANATEE busts into Bronze as the fourth place winner. Honorable Mentions Dabbert Gallery, State of the Arts Gallery and Ligon Fine Art have plenty more to feast your eyes upon. –AC Ellie Levine (on The Artful Giraffe): The Artful Giraffe displays art from over 300 local artists. And the showroom is set up in such a fun way! Every time you walk through, you see different pieces, depending on which way your head is turned. Mel Carlstein (on Art Uptown): Such a warm and inviting gallery, full of local artists with a wide variety of mediums. Tom Walker (on Galleries of Ringling College): Although the pandemic eliminated many of the in-person experiences, I was able to enjoy all of their exhibitions on line. Beautiful galleries. Angie Lukas (on ArtCenter Manatee): Three galleries with exhibits that change monthly featuring local, regional, national and international artists. Platinum Winner- The Artful Giraffe / Gold Winner- Art Uptown Gallery / Silver Winner- Galleries of Ringling College / Bronze Winner- ArtCenter Manatee.
BEST MUSEUM Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota Campus Florida may be known for its beaches but Sarasota is known beyond the surf for their famed arts and culture. Where best to spend a day off the sand? The Platinum pick MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS DOWNTOWN SARASOTA CAMPUS bloomed to victory easily with a hundred vote lead, while THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART caught art-
lovers attention with Gold. The sensational Silver winner this year is the SARASOTA ART MUSEUM and readers loved the many un-marine-able offerings at Bronze winner MOTE MARINE LABORATORY & AQUARIUM. For more magical museum musings check our Honorable Mentions The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature and Ringling College of Art and Design. –AC Amy Gorman (on Marie Selby): What a wonderful living museum! There are constantly new exhibits and events with knowledgeable volunteers. Donna Emley (on The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art): Exceptional collection of indoor galleries, outdoor sculpture and grounds, and temporary rotating exhibits. Ronni Blumenthal (on Sarasota Art Museum): Beautifully curated space. Platinum Winner- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota Campus / Gold Winner- The Ringling Museum of Art / Silver Winner- Sarasota Art Museum / Bronze Winner- Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.
BEST VISUAL ARTIST Karen Chandler With so much homegrown talent, or those who decided to make Sarasota their permanent studio, plenty of galleries around are filled with artwork from people just down the street. KAREN CHANDLER was our readers pick for Platinum while just two votes away MARO LORIMER paints the Gold. LIPSTICK LEX sashayed into Silver and legacy artist and arts ambassador TIM JAEGER bounded into Bronze. Honorable Mentions Brandon Thrift, Mary Lou Johnson and Matt Pecson had readers admiring their artistic flair. –AC continued on page 108
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BEST MARKETING/CREATIVE AGENCY Grapevine Communications There’s always a heated race to see which firm dedicated to spreading good words about a company can find their way onto a survey that’s based on word of mouth networking. A consistent master of messaging, GRAPEVINE COMMUNICATIONS shows up with Platinum again. ALYSSA GAY CONSULTING certainly got the word out enough to secure Gold. IAS MARKETING SERVICES wired into Silver. BRAND STORY EXPERTS narrated its way to Bronze. Honorable Mentions go out to Purple Fish Creative, The Eclipse Agency and Rohring Results. -JO Angela Massaro-Fain (on Grapevine): They continue to grow both revenue and staff, having doubled in size since new owner Allison Imre Perkowski took over in 2017. They are the most award-winning creative team in the area that is both creative, strategic and accountable. Grapevine offers the most diverse services an ad agency can produce in the local area, from copywriting, strategic marketing plans, and creative design to social media, digital and web design - Grapevine does it all. Jamie Stern (on Grapevine): My company, Beacon Aviation Insurance Services, chose Grapevine to create our new website. They did such an awesome job of listening to what we wanted. Even though they had no aviation knowledge, they provided some fantastic direction and we could not be happier with the results. I would recommend them to any business out there looking to increase their brand awareness and promote your services. Platinum Winner- Grapevine Communications / Gold Winner- Alyssa Gay Consulting / Silver Winner- IAS Marketing Services / Bronze Winner- Brand Story Experts. Photo of Allison Imre of Best Local Agency Platinum Winner Grapevine Communications by Wes Roberts.
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Kim Livengood (on Karen Chandler): Her pop art style is unique and vibrant. Esther Jensen (on Maro Lorimer): I love the tranquility of her paintings. Lisa Ropers (on Lipstick Lex): Unique interpretations with a kiss style. Tom Walker (on Tim Jaeger): His work is ever changing and additionally he’s a real community collaborator and advocate for the arts. Platinum WinnerKaren Chandler / Gold Winner- Maro Lorimer / Silver WinnerLipstick Lex / Bronze Winner- Tim Jaeger.
Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival With year round beautiful weather, it’s no surprise Sarasota is home to fantastic festivals. There’s nothing better than enjoying the outdoors with some live music, local food and amazing art on a cloudless weekend afternoon and these festive festivals hit all the right notes. HUNSADER FARMS PUMPKIN FESTIVAL pumpkin-spiced it’s way to Platinum while SARASOTA SALSA AND BACHATA FESTIVAL grooved its way to Gold. In Silver GIVING HUNGER THE BLUES sang the right tunes and SAILFEST breezed into Bronze. Honorable Mentions Bradenton Blues Fest and Thunder by the Bay have just the right stuff to fulfill your festive mood. –AC Phyllis Dawson (on Hunsader Farms ): Great for the whole family. James Kutch (on Sarasota Salsa): This weekend festival was filled with music, dancing, lessons and great and friendly people. I had so much fun I already purchased my ticket for next year. Kery and Dario (dance instructors) are great people. Danae DeShazer (on Giving Hunger): They are the largest charity music event in the Sarasota area. Who doesn’t love enjoying live blues and jazz music while giving back to the needy and hungry community? Megan Swick (on Sailfest): Community sailing festival produced by Sarasota Youth Sailing on City Island annually. We need more family friendly festivals like these that promote a good cause (sailing scholarships for our underserved youth), and offer healthy and accessible athletics to our community. Platinum WinnerHunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival / Gold Winner- Sarasota Salsa and Bachata Festival / Silver Winner- Giving Hunger the Blues / Bronze Winner-Sailfest
BEST STREET/WALL ART
Sarasota Chalk Festival, Avenue of Art Gone are the days of casting a downward eye at graffiti, instead, it’s given it’s rightful glory as the quirky, colorful street art that doesn’t let a silly thing like a lack of canvas stand in their way. No painting paper? No problem! That gray building over there has a 10 foot blank space just waiting for the next great mural. SARASOTA CHALK FESTIVAL, AVENUE OF ART enchanted readers to win Platinum with the humble chalk while KAREN CHANDLER captured everyone’s attention winning Gold. And BRANDON THRIFT didn’t let Silver slip anyones mind, taking home the third place spot for his street art.–AC
Ernie Cash (on Sarasota Chalk Festival): Just fantastic and breaktaking chalk art on the streets. Kendal Kiner (on Karen Chandler): Karen has done several murals in Sarasota. She’s fabulous! Corinna Cocchi (on Brandon Thrift): Amazing love art. Platinum WinnerSarasota Chalk Festival, Avenue of Art / Gold Winner- Karen Chandler / Silver Winner- Brandon Thrift.
FAMILY &CHILDREN BEST CHILDRENS ATTRACTION
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium As any babysitter or parent knows all too well, kids, cute as they may be, have the attention span of an adorable little goldfish with the energy levels of a rabbit who just drank a redbull. Crayons and paper only go so far, and we’re all trying to steer clear of the dreaded iPad—but thankfully, Sarasota has a seemingly endless supply of interactive, exciting and eye-opening attractions for your tiny tykes. The Platinum playtime pick this year is MOTE MARINE LABORATORY AND AQUARIUM—overflowing with marine and oceanic adventures. THE CHILDREN’S GARDEN planted themselves in second to take Gold while MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS DOWNTOWN SARASOTA CAMPUS bloomed into third for a Silver win. Another botantistic best, SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS will keep your kids occupied for hours as the Bronze winner. Anyone looking for extra adventures and attention keepers check out Honorable Mentions Big Cat Habitat, Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Suncoast Science Center / Faulhaber Fab Lab or The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. -AC Bridget McLaughlin (on Mote Marine): Mote never fails to offer something exciting. Whether it’s our family’s favorite, the octopus, or the otters playing or rescued baby sea turtles, Mote is fun and educational. Ronni Blumenthal (on The Children’s Garden): No gadgets, no screens. Encourages imaginative play! Candy Danaher (on Marie Selby Gardens): I’ve been a volunteer at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens since 2017. I was the Saturday morning volunteer in the Kids Corner until March, 2020, when it closed because of Covid. I got to know some families who visited multiple times (sometimes every week) because it was such a good place for rain-forest themed free play involving musical instruments, books, blocks, puppets, puzzles, coloring, dress-up, and stuffed animals. Since November, 2020, I have provided information for visitors to the Gardens, including children who have questions about plants, butterflies, and everything under the sun. My favorite incident involved a mother who asked me to explain to her young son why he couldn’t live at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. I sympathized with him. Unfortunately, the cafe and bathrooms close at 5 pm. T Duckworth (on Sarasota Jungle Gardens): I love to feed the flamingos here and just tootle around. The animal shows are great too. Platinum Winner- Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium / Gold Winner- The Children’s Garden/ Silver Winner- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens / Bronze Winner- Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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BEST SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER Bridget Ziegler With such broad interest in school board activity this year, we surveyed readers specifically on school board members this year. Sarasota County School Board Member BRIDGET ZIEGLER made the grade to win Platinum honors. Sarasota County School Board Member SHIRLEY BROWN meanwhile, earned high enough marks for Gold. Manatee County School Board Member CHARLIE KENNEDY earned a good evaluation and a Silver finish. Sarasota County School Board Member KAREN ROSE earned the accolades to round out our list in Bronze. -JO Lucy Murphy (on Bridget Ziegler): She listens to parents’ concerns and tries to stand up against the other board members who are opposed to listening to parental input. Melissa Tomasso (on Karen Rose): Karen Rose comes from education, first being a teacher and then administrator in the Sarasota Public School system. She understands the working relationship between teachers, administration and parents and values each one. Platinum Winner- Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler/ Gold Winner- Sarasota County School Board Member Shirley Brown/ Silver Winner-Manatee County School Board Member Charlie Kennedy / Bronze Winner- Sarasota County School Board Member Karen Rose.
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BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School Going to school as a kid is essentially a full-time job and for parents picking the perfect education can be overwhelming. Luckily, our readers make it easy to narrow it down by voting for their favorite private schools. In a landslide win, COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL - HERSHORIN SCHIFF COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL wins Platinum with over five hundred votes. CARDINAL MOONEY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL did the right calculations to end up our Gold winner. OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY proved to be the perfect playground as a Silver stand-out while SARASOTA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL spelling-
B’d their way to Bronze. Other sensational spots to send your new student are Honorable Mentions St. Martha Catholic School, The Classical Academy of Sarasota Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, The Classical Academy, NewGate School and Providence Community School. -AC Jamie Griffitts (on Community Day School): Unique project based curriculum that develops critical thinking and problem solving skills. The teachers know all of the students and the families, and the “whole” child is considered and thought of every day. Cora Thayer (on Cardinal Mooney): This school is my favorite because everyone is like a second family and the whole environment is super positive. Shelley Stone (on Out of Door): Worth every penny. My high schoolers can’t wait to get to school in the morning. Got to be doing a lot right for them to be motivated. Excellent college prep school, well rounded for arts and athletics, STEM program. Could not be happier with the opportunities and education my children have received. Brenda Musall (on Sarasota Christian): Family first school! Education is exceptional. Platinum Winner- Community Day School - Hershorin Schiff Community Day School / Gold WinnerCardinal Mooney Catholic High School / Silver Winner- Out of Door Academy/ Bronze Winner- Sarasota Christian School.
Latitude Pediatric & Family Clinic Scrapes, scratches, belly-aches and runny noses are all part of the journey of parenthood. Deciding where to bring your little ones when they feel sickly can be tricky, but our Platinum winner LATITUDE PEDIATRIC & FAMILY CLINIC has hundreds of scores of votes of confidence. WEISS PEDIATRIC CARE guarantees Gold-star guidance while DR. PATRICIA BLANCO secured a soothing Silver. In Bronze MEYER PEDIATRICS’S bandaids bested the rest. Honorable Mentions Comprehensive Childcare Associates, Dr. Katherine Keeley, Sueiro, Rene, MD and Dr. Virginia Good are here with helping hands. -AC Ashley Kozak (on Latitude Pediatric): Amazing group! So knowledgeable and willing to come alongside their patients to guide them in their health journey. Ethan Weiss (on Weiss Pediatric): Dr. Weiss combines compassionate care with expertise and a passion for continuing to evolve his practice along with the most up-to-date science. He and his team have been a rock and source of clarity throughout the pandemic. I can’t imagine what we would have done without them. Monica Sweeney (on Dr. Patricia Blanco): Dr. Blanco works so tirelessly for the children in our community. She is both a top pediatrician and a champion for our foster families and medically fragile children. I cannot think of a more deserving
pediatrician for this distinction. Hannah Gaunt (on Meyer Pediatrics): All our kids have been seeing Dr Meyer and his associates for years. Lovely office and caring staff. We won’t go anywhere else. Platinum Winner- Latitude Pediatric & Family Clinic / Gold Winner- Weiss Pediatric Care / Silver Winner- Dr. Patricia Blanco / Bronze Winner- Meyer Pediatrics.
BEST DENTIST FOR KIDS Dr. Si McAninch Baby teeth might not stick around long but they still need to be looked after and these favorite dentists have plenty of wisdom to be crowned the best.DR. SI MCANINCH flossed his way to the top spot taking home Platinum while SMILEWORKS KIDS DENTISTRY mouth-washed the others for a Gold victory. MEADOWS FAMILY DENTISTRY smiled their way to Silver and CHILDREN’S DENTISTRY OF LAKEWOOD RANCH brilliantly brushed their way to Bronze. -AC Kelsey Campbell(on Dr. Si McAninch): Fun office! I went when I was a kid and now my kids go there.Love his local involvement as well and involvement in Sarasota Little League. Chandra Riccio (on SmileWorks Kids Dentistry): SmileWorks takes the fear out of dental visits! Super amazing facilities and parents are permitted to stay with their kids if they want. Lisa Comeau (on Meadows Family Dentistry): Love them! Couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. They are so patient with kids, take the time to explain everything to the kids and parents and are just very caring. Cheryl Colon (on Children’s Dentistry): Dr Morgan is a gifted and caring dentist. He is a calming man when faced with dental emergencies. Always willing to go above and beyond with care. Platinum Winner- Dr. Si McAninch / Gold Winner- Smileworks Kids Dentistry / Silver Winner- Meadows Family Dentistry / Bronze Winner- Children’s Dentistry of Lakewood Ranch.
BEST ORTHODONTIST FOR KIDS Freeman Orthodontics
Kids and parents alike need to brace themselves for braces— especially for the agonizing task of picking the cutest colors for those pesky little bands. Making sure you have your facts straight to keep your teeth straight is what makes a great orthodontist and these folks were a tooth above the rest. FREEMAN ORTHODONTICS shows off their pearly whites in Platinum while VARONE ORTHODONTICS retained Gold for our second place winner. In a tongue-twisting three way tie, SCHINDEL ORTHODONTICS, DR. NITIN SALLAPUDI and CARROLL & SUTTON ORTHODONTICS all placed silver and HESS ORTHODONTICS was mint to be Bronze. -AC Erin Baran (on Freeman Orthodontics): Both of our kids had their braces done with Dr. Freeman, and they look amazing. Friendly staff, reasonable prices, would definitely recommend it. Kelly Mcgrew (on Varone Orthodontics): Dr. Varone and her staff are amazing! They offer first class service from beginning to end! Everyone that works there is extremely friendly, personable, and professional! They also do an incredible job keeping on schedule and move patients efficiently. Michelle Keffer (on Schindel Orthodontics): Dr. Schindler is patient, caring and a great orthodontist. Kathy James (on Dr. Nitin Sallapudi): From the moment you walk into the Sallapudi Orthodontics office you feel special: you are warmly greeted and encouraged to partake in the yummy array of beverages available to you as you watch a
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movie of the week while you wait to be seen. Once in the orthodontic chair, you feel as though you are the only patient they have that day--and you get to decide how those braces will look: you get to choose colors and ﬂavors and timelines that work for you. There are contests and drawings every month. Every year (except for when there’s a pandemic) they take over a movie theatre for their patients and their families to enjoy movies just for them! At the end of every school year they take over an ice cream shop to celebrate the beginning of summer for patients and their families. With all this individualized care and special treatment, you almost forget that the best reason to go to Sallapudi Orthodontics: the beautiful smile you get to keep forever. Platinum Winner- Freeman Orthodontics / Gold Winner- Varone Orthodontics / Silver Winner- Schindel Orthodontics, Dr. Nitin Sallapudi, Carroll & Sutton Orthodontics / Bronze Winner-Hess Orthodontics.
BEST KIDS-FRIENDLY MUSEUM
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Museums and kids can sometimes be a tough match— they are often pin-drop quiet, loaded with precarious priceless breakables and typically require the reading of a smallprint plaque to get the gist of the exhibit. Sarasota, however, is practically bursting at the seams with cultural content and has plenty of kid-friendly museums to expose your curious kiddos to the world of art and culture. An easy favorite at number one, MOTE MARINE LABORATORY AND AQUARIUM is our Platinum winner with oceanﬁlled fun. SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS nabs Gold while THE BISHOP MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND NATURE is the Silver pick for all things science. THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART is going for baroque as the Bronze winner for your pintsized person’s ﬁrst Picasso. Check our Honorable Mention Crowley Museum and Nature Center - Welcome Center / Museum for some more kid-friendly-fun. -AC continued on page 123
V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 D E N T I S T S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
BEST OF SRQ 2022 TOP 12 DENTISTS Who should you trust to operate miniature mining equipment in your mouth? Look no further than these Top 12 dental practitioners, as identiﬁed by the pearly white smiles of SRQ’s voters. The TOP 12 DENTISTS SRQ voters trust are: SRQ DENTISTRY, SARASOTA SMILE DESIGN, EXCEPTIONAL DENTISTRY OF SARASOTA, DR. PAUL JAWORSKI, DR. KENNETH SCHWEIZER, DR. LANCE KARP, DR. CORI S. HVIDEBERG, WATERSIDE DENTAL SARASOTA, EAST LAKEWOOD DENTAL-WAYNE L.FAULKNER, TINDAL PROSTHODONTICS, MR. MARY A. SANDERS AND MIRROR IMAGE DENTISTRY. -AC
Dawn Santillo (on SRQ Dentistry): Dr. Lirio and his entire staﬀ are kind, caring and compassionate. He is an outstanding dentist. Yvonne Parmann(on Sarasota Smile Design): Dr Back and Dr Paschke go above and beyond for their patients from warm smiles and blankets to aromatherapy! Then exceptional dentistry. It’s more like a spa! Lorraine Weisman (on Exceptional Dentistry of Sarasota): Throughout the pandemic this wonderful practice made sure patients felt safe with careful precautions taken. One feels understood and listened to. The oﬃce uses the latest developments and delivers service in a friendly manner. Becky Ostroﬀ (on Kenneth Schweizer DDS PAl): Kind and compassionate and pain free.
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 D E N T I S T S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS C E L E B R AT I N G 20 Y E A R S O F E XC E P T I O N A L D E N T I S T R Y
EXCEPTIONAL DENTISTRY OF SARASOTA Drs. Doan, Suarez, and Cole provide the ultimate in personalized, comprehensive cosmetic and restorative dental care using the very latest in modern digital technology. Whether it is a simple procedure to the most complex, our team can deliver precise and pain-free care where integrity will always come first.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE THAT SETS YOU APART? PASSION. We absolutely love what we do every day because not only are we passionate about the art and science of dentistry, but also level of engagement with each and every one of our patients. Being the best at something requires the passion to achieve the highest of excellence from our customer service to our clinical skills. From the moment of your first phone call, our team will take every step to ensure that all of your concerns are taken care of to the finest details. We make continuous investment in the latest digital technologies and education that provides us the flexibility to do same day dentistry or comprehensive restorative interdisciplinary dentistry with utmost care. At the end of the day, it is the passion for what we do that allows our patients feel that they are well taken care of in our unique dental family.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? PEOPLE. The Business of Dentistry is not just about teeth. It is about the connection to people in our care. Whether it is relieving pain or restoring a beautiful smile, it is about engagement to the ones that we are in service to. We love it when we can be a partner in someone’s healthcare and to achieve their goals. When we do, everyone wins.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE RECOGNIZED BY SRQ READERS AS TOP DENTISTS? PURPOSE. We are so grateful to have all three exceptional doctors in our practice to achieve this accolade. Being recognized by those who are under our care and from those who have seen our work in the community, we are truly humbled and honored. Each day, we treat one patient at a time and give them our fullest attention. When we are voted to be the “Best of SRQ Local”, it is a validation that we have a made a difference in
Exceptional Dentistry of Sarasota 1999 Lincoln Drive, Suite 102, Sarasota, FL
someone’s life. This is what matters and gives our team,
P (941) 365-4418
Linda, Karen, Suzanne, Taylor J, Rachel, Tiffany, Lindsey,
Taylor G, Knute, April, and Doina.
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2022 Best of SRQ Local Competition Methodology Every year, we invite our astute readers to ﬁrst nominate locally-owned businesses and individuals they believe are worthy of Best Of recognition in restaurants, dining, food, home and design, philanthropy, real estate, consumer services, professional services, community-wide leadership, health, beauty and wellness. In January, we invite our readers, local businesses and the community at large to join us in celebrating our Live Local. Love Local Mission by voting for their favorites, culminating in the buzzworthy special “Best of SRQ Local” awards feature published in the April 2022 edition of SRQ Magazine. Only locally-owned establishments may be nominated for the “Best of SRQ Local” Readers’ Competition, e.g. independent restaurants and locally-owned companies and boutiques. A select number of locally-owned franchises are also considered. Limited to one ballot per person. Readers are asked to register their ballot with their name, address and email. Ballots submitted without an email veriﬁcation cannot be counted. Incomplete ballots with too few votes overall or those with votes only in 2 to 3 categories will not be accepted. We hope to invite you to an in-person Best of SRQ Local Party later this year to celebrate the winners! Thank you for being a part of Live Local. Love Local!
V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
BEST OF SRQ 2022 TOP 12 REALTORS® Real estate certainly continued its ambitious stride this year with homeowners taking full advantage of either selling their existing homes and/or ﬁnding newer, larger houses to move into. Allow us to introduce you to the Top 12 Readers Favorite Real Estate Agents showing the best of what the regional housing market has to oﬀer: SHERRI MILLS, IVAN IANAKIEV, RYAN ACKERMAN, JUDY NIMZ, BRIAN LOEBKER REAL ESTATE, RYAN SKRZYPKOWSKI, JEANEEN WIEGAND, JOSEPH MCDONALD, HALIE ROBERSON, MARTY GARCIA, ASHLEY GUTTRIDGE AND DAWNELLE LANNERS, KATHRY WHITE AND CAROLYN CARINO,. -AC
Scott Slavens (on Sherri Mills): We have spent an enormous amount of time with Sherri, both in person as well as online. Her knowledge of the real estate market in the greater SarasotaVenice area is extraordinary. Her understanding of the various communities is very deep as well. Her honesty has provided us with a true trusting partnership in our eﬀorts to relocate to the area. Tony Kiev (on Ivan Ianakiev): I came to Sarasota to help my dying cousin and met Ivan by chance. It was a very diﬃcult time for me and he literally saved my life just by caring. Not many people do. Due to my cousin’s declining health, I decided it’s best to permanently move to Sarasota. I knew Ivan was a real estate agent and he was my go-to guy. He made the whole process as painless as possible. Louise Hauser (on Judy Nimz): Judy helped us in our home search when we lived 4,300 miles away. She introduced us to all the most wonderful places in Sarasota regarding restaurants, churches, shopping and neighborhoods). I’ve recommended her to friends who are moving to Sarasota.
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
DAWNELLE LANNERS AND ASHLEY GUTTRIDGE Dawnelle Lanners and Ashley Gu ridge’s mission at Legacy Home Connection is to positively impact the lives of clients and colleagues by building authentic lifelong relationships while providing the highest level of honesty, integrity and expertise in all things real estate. Their residential real estate company has grown quickly in the Sarasota/Manatee market. As they moved into 2022, Legacy expanded their organization into the commercial real estate world, and now looks to serve our community and beyond, in new and exciting ways. WHAT SETS YOUR BUSINESS APART?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT
When you get to know the two of us,
YOUR JOB? We get to have fun ev-
one character trait that will stand
ery day. We meet amazing people
out about us both is that we are ob-
and have the honor of helping them
sessed with the idea that we can al-
with what is often one of the largest
ways be better; as Realtors, as busi-
financial transactions they’ll make
ness owners and as humans. That
in their lives, and we’ve fallen in love
comes across in the way we run our
with the process of making that ex-
business. Every day, we are looking
perience exceptional for them. Even
for ways to create more opportuni-
when there are challenges, we find
ties for the people we interact with
joy in coming up with the solutions
and to elevate the experience of our
to overcome those challenges and
clients, because no matter where we
get our clients to the closing table.
are at, we will never stop wanting to
Some say this is a stressful job…for
grow and improve.
us, we’re having a blast, and we like to think our clients are too.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR
“IT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR US TO
SELL REAL ESTATE. WE WANT TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE SERVE, BOTH CLIENTS AND TEAM MEMBERS ALIKE.” Ashley Gu ridge,Team Co-Owner
Legacy Home Connection Keller Williams Classic Group M (941) 202-2331
SOMEONE LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE RECOG-
A PROPERTY IN THE CURRENT REAL
NIZED BY SRQ READERS AS A TOP RE-
ESTATE MARKET? In this market, you
ALTOR THIS YEAR? This recognition
absolutely need a highly skilled pro-
is incredibly humbling. One thing
fessional on your side who is not only
we decided when we started this
up to date with the latest market con-
company is that we would always
ditions, but also who is aggressive and
knows what it takes to win offers for
and true to ourselves, our families,
buyers and get top dollar for sellers in
and our faith. In a world that often
a real estate landscape that is rapidly
defines how people are supposed to
changing. The tactics that worked in
do things, and can be unforgiving
previous markets are not what is best
to those who break the mold, we’re
for buyers and sellers today, so you
grateful for the opportunity to do this
need an agent representing you who
business our way and for the support
recognizes the need to adopt new ne-
of our community.
3355 Clark Rd #103,
gotiation and sales techniques that
Sarasota, FL 34231
are specific to the unique market we
are in in 2022.
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
JOSEPH MCDONALD I know how special it is to call the Gulf Coast home; a diverse geography surrounded by endless beauty and thriving energy. I enjoy introducing the area to clients, educating them and sharing my experience of being a native Floridian in such a culturally rich community.
MY ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT was
After previous experience with Pre-
sparked by an early background in
mier Sotheby’s and Neal Communi-
the hospitality and services industry
ties specializing in new construction,
including four start-up businesses
I learned of the opportunity to join
in various states. Living away for a
Michael Saunders and Company. In
short period of time insighted a re-
addition to general residential sales,
newed appreciation for Sarasota, my
I completed the sellout of The Ris-
home town. My love for SRQ, cou-
don on 5th and 5th & Central, locat-
pled with my business acumen and
ed in the Rosemary District in 2021.
experience, led me to pursue a ca-
This unique opportunity highlights
reer in real estate after moving back
my experience when partnering
to the area.
with all clients - buyers, resale and
Known for genuine customer ser-
SERVICE AND FINDING WHAT BEST FITS MY CLIENTS’ NEEDS IS NOT A GOAL, IT’S A PASSION!”
new construction developments.
vice, honesty, integrity, and reliabil-
My home is located in Gillespie Park
ity with a passion for real estate, I
where I enjoy the downtown offer-
have earned the distinction as one of
ings of arts, dining and community
“Sarasota’s Top 12 Realtors” by SRQ
events. Additionally, I take advan-
magazine for the last three consec-
tage of several opportunities to vol-
utive years. Being a real estate pro-
unteer and give back to this wonder-
fessional continues to confirm that
providing first-class service to my clients in combination with finding the best fit for their needs is not a goal, it’s a requirement.
I’m honored to have been awarded top Realtor in SRQ Magazine’s “Best of SRQ Local” competition for the past several years and am dedicated to being your local realtor for years to come.
Michael Saunders & Company M (941) 375-9646 1605 Main Street Sarasota, FL 34236 firstname.lastname@example.org josephmcdonlad.michaelsaunders.com
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
RYAN SKRZYPKOWSKI “Real estate is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. I feel unbelievably grateful to be able to do this in the place that I love—with the people that I love, serving clients that we love. I want my clients to be able to refer me to their closest friends and family members and know that they will be taken care of.” Ryan considers it an honor for him and his team to be recognized by SRQ Magazine readers as a Top Realtor® for the fi h year running. Thank you, thank you!
RYAN SKRZYPKOWSKI’S commitment
and grow in efficiency and produc-
to live, work, and play at “Level 10”
tivity to ensure we offer the best ser-
each and every day has catapulted
vice out there” says Theresa.
his ever- growing influence both locally and nationally within the real estate industry. His constant embrace for greatness and innovation means he never apologizes for having big goals, not just for himself, but for every member of his team within the RSTS Group. This is the fifth year that the RSTS Group has been
“WE DON’T SET OUT TO MERELY SATISFY OUR CUSTOMERS, WE SET OUT TO DELIGHT THEM AND EXCEED ALL EXPECTATIONS.”
Along with hundreds of 5 star reviews on Google and Zillow, their clients boast of their energetic, thorough, and professional approach that focuses on making the entire real estate process a tailored experience for every single client, no matter what price of their home.
recognized within the best of SRQ.
“We operate in the service of our
The growth from Ryan and Theresa,
clients every hour of every day. De-
the husband and wife team, to the
livering on our promise, following
innovative 11 person powerhouse
through on every detail and always
that operates today, has fueled their
thinking from our client’s perspec-
success year after year. 2021 was an-
tive to ensure the highest level of
other record breaking year for the
trust is built and maintained well
RSTS Group. They were able to help
beyond the closing table,” says Ryan.
132 families buy and sell their home resulting in an astonishing sales volume of almost $90 million. As a Sarasota County top producer, Ryan ranks at 0.02% of all active agents for transactions and total volume. “Innovation is the fuel that keeps
our rocket heading upwards. It’s a
never ending quest to learn, improve
For the RSTS Group, it is a never-ending quest for improvement, efficiency and productivity. Its pursuit keeps them young, motivated, vibrant, and ever-evolving.
tion wholeheartedly, because without it, there is no forward progress.
Residential Real Estate M (941) 500 3872 443 John Ringling Blvd. Ste F Sarasota, Florida rstsgroup.com
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
SHERRI MILLS I’ve lived in Sarasota for 33 years and love this community more with each passing year. I taught Special Ed. before becoming a Realtor 20 years ago and what be er prep for real estate! Asking questions, listening, problem-solving and creative thinking has given me a loyal following that has made me a Top Producing Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company, a premier Luxury brokerage firm in the area.
MY MISSION There are a gazillion things to do from Day 1 to closing. My mission is to make the process look easy. It’s that simple. After 20 years of negotiating, staging homes to sell, dealing with vendors, working with lenders & attorneys, I realize the magic is in the minutia. It’s what my clients don’t know that’s happening behind the scenes that makes the process easy. Easy for them. Gratifying for me. A CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE Sherri was my Realtor® for the selling of my home and the purchasing of another. She was truly amazing for both transactions! Always knowledgeable and helped maneuver through the rough spots seamlessly. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for
“TO ME, THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS IN REAL ESTATE ARE YOU, YOU AND YOU.”
a bright, honest realtor. —Heather Chapell CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist)
Sherri Mills, Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE accredited) Michael Saunders & Company 1605 Main Street Sarasota, FL 34236 email@example.com www.sherrimills.com
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V OT E D O N E O F “S A R A S O TA’S T O P 12 R E A LT O R S” BY SRQ MAGAZINE READERS
HALIE ROBERSON Halie Roberson, a Sarasota resident for over 20 years, brings strong local knowledge and professionalism to the Sarasota Gulf Coast Homes team, a part of the Keller Williams on the Water Office in downtown Sarasota. Halie navigates every transaction with focus, compassion and enthusiasm, and readily draws upon her in-depth knowledge of the Sarasota and Manatee County markets. Her priority is to represent her client’s best interests, create a positive experience and fulfill their real estate goals.
“HALIE’S GOAL IS TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOURS.”
WHAT SETS YOUR BUSINESS APART? The Sarasota Gulf Coast Homes team mission is to deliver excellence and aim to exceed expectations in everything we do. In 2021, our team was honored to have helped 275 families with their real estate needs totaling over $131 million in sales. The Sarasota Gulf Coast Homes team earned the spot of the #1 Keller Williams team in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, #2 in the North Florida region and #6 in the entire state of Florida! Our team is educated on what it takes to be competitive and what it takes to win in today’s market because we stay on top of the ever changing market trends that we are seeing here in the Sarasota and Manatee areas.
Halie Roberson Sarasota Gulf Coast Homes Keller Williams on the Water M (941) 735-4707 1549 Ringling Blvd Suite 600, Sarasota, FL 34236 firstname.lastname@example.org halie.sarasotagulfcoastrealtors.com
JEANEEN WIEGAND My strong work ethic gave me the foundation to build Wiegand Realty into the accomplished brokerage it is today focusing on professionalism and exceptional service. My commitment, communication, persistence and a ention to detail earns me the continued referrals keeping us productive and successful. I am so grateful for the recommendations from my clients and customers. This is the greatest reward! I am very honored to be voted a Top Realtor in SRQ Magazine’s Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition. I absolutely love what I do and enjoy building relationships and everyday opportunities that encompass being in the real estate industry.
“MY STRONG WORK ETHIC GAVE ME THE FOUNDATION TO BUILD WIEGAND REALTY.”
WHAT SETS YOUR BUSINESS APART? We always do the unexpected and consistently deliver trusted service. The real estate industry is constantly moving forward and so are we. Our “toolbox” is full! We’ve built a good rapport with all our clients and customers in understanding what is expected of us and nothing is taken for granted.
Jeaneen Wiegand Wiegand Realty M (941) 232-0946 email@example.com wiegandrealty.com Wiegand Realty Sarasota jeaneenwiegand.sarasota
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BELOW RIGHT: Best Fitness Studio ChicaBoom Fitness Sarasota, photo by Wes Roberts.
Hannah Gaunt: (on Mote Marine): Nice facility and they are building a brand new location. My kids love to visit. Anne Rollings (on Sarasota Jungle Gardens): When looking for an authentic Sarasota, Florida experience, we always enjoy visiting and taking friends to Jungle Gardens and supporting a local, familyowned business. Appreciating the natural beauty that is our home and giving those who might be otherwise unaware the chance to experience Florida’s flora, fauna and species in their native habitat is so important in keeping Florida’s legacy vibrant. Catherine Clouse Ferrer (on The Bishop): Our family loves The Bishop because of the WOW’s we hear from our kids as they explore. The planetarium staff have fascinating programming, the manatees are mesmerizing, the visiting exhibits always thrill, and even if we have seen the collections a million times, we still discover something new each time we go. This is much more than a home-grown attraction, The Bishop is topnotch quality, curiosity inspiring, best-in-class museum experience. Betsie Bolger (on The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art): The museum itself offers much that is intrinsically fascinating to children, especially the miniature circus, while its grounds include the Bolger Playspace, a Europeanstyle playground designed to foster creative play. Furthermore, The Ringling offers its Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program as part of an outreach initiative that provides free Family Level memberships to underserved families. WEB Family memberships include free admission to the museum, guest passes and much more. Families engaged in the program learn how to make the most of a museum visit with their children–including how to spark children’s curiosity and find learning opportunities all around them. Platinum Winner- Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium / Gold Winner- Sarasota Jungle Gardens / Silver Winner- The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature / Bronze Winner- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
BEST PUBLIC PARK FOR KIDS Payne Park Circus Playground
Fresh air is good for the whole family, and Sarasota has plenty of parks to play in. PAYNE PARK CIRCUS PLAYGROUND is the Platinum pick for outside adventures while URFER FAMILY PARK grabbed Gold in the race for best place to run around. NATHAN BENDERSON PARK slides into Silver with their ample sidewalks for rollerblading and running and BAYFRONT PARK is the Bronze best. To continue the out-door occasions try Honorable Mentions Nokomis Beach, Casey Key, Florida, Red Rock Park and Colonial Oaks Park. -AC
BEST BEACH FOR KIDS Siesta Key Beach One could argue any beach is a kids beach, but there’s a special something about ones with ample bathroom space, showers to rinse off small sandy toes and lifeguards on duty to protect little wanderers. SIESTA KEY BEACH is plainly Platinum with well over a hundred votes, while longtime favorite LIDO KEY BEACH gets the Gold. Kid-friendly named TURTLE BEACH swims to Silver and NOKOMIS BEACH basks in their Bronze glowing win. Other spots to sun with your small beach-goers are Honorable Mentions Caspersen Beach, North Lido Beach, AMI and Whitney Beach. -AC Mary Ann Finkel (on Siesta Key): Shallow, calm waters and sand doesn’t get hot. Rebecca P. (on Lido Beach): Lido Beach is the best for kids because it’s just as pretty as Siesta but a much shorter walk from the parking lot to the water. When you’re at the beach with kids you usually have more than your fair share of stuff to carry all while keeping an eye on your kiddos. It also has bathrooms nearby, a snack bar and showers. Bridget McLaughlin(on Turtle Beach): Easy access. Great playground. Platinum Winner- Siesta Key Beach / Gold Winner- Lido Key Beach / Silver Winner- Turtle Beach / Bronze Winner- Nokomis Beach
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BEAUTY, HEALTH &WELLNESS BEST HOSPITAL
Sarasota Memorial Hospital Knowing where to turn during a medical emergency takes some of the panic away, and luckily Sarasota has plenty of top-notch nurses and doctors at the ready when things go wrong— or when you simply need a medical expert. SIESTA KEY BEACH was a knockout winner besting the rest of a Platinum win lead of over four hundred votes. Winning Gold is LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER while DOCTORS HOSPITAL OF SARASOTA will have you on the mend with a Silver win. Readers voted MANATEE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL the Bronze spot for getting better. Honorable Mention Blake Medical Center will have you back on your feet in no time -AC Barbie Osterling (on Sarasota Memorial): Not only is Sarasota Memorial Hospital great to the patients but the families, their doctors, nurses, support staﬀ, all employees! We have all used their service for the last 22 years. To see the growth, improvements, expansion is wonderful to see~ thank you! Liza Rojas (on Lakewood Ranch): The doctors & nurses provided me with excellent care. Nona Schrum (on Doctors Hospital): Small intimate facility, staﬀ is friendly and works very
hard. The nurses advocate for their patients and the doctors listen to their patient’s concerns. Heather Grabert (on Manatee Memorial): They have the best physical therapy department. Platinum Winner- Sarasota Memorial Hospital / Gold Winner- Lakewood Ranch Medical Center / Silver Winner- Doctors Hospital of Sarasota / Bronze Winner- Manatee Memorial Hospital.
BEST NURSING HOME
The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club
Everyone knows older means wiser but it also means needing a bit more assistance and these kind, caring and innovative nursing homes were stand-outs for our seniors. THE INN AT SARASOTA BAY CLUB was the Platinum pick to place your loved ones in their care while AVIVA SENIOR LIVING trailed behind by a mere two votes as the Gold winner for grandparents. SUNNYSIDE VILLAGE stakes their Silver claim and PLYMOUTH HARBOR ON SARASOTA BAY was a Bronze winner for watching over eldery loved ones. Honorable Mentions to heal and help were The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, Heartland Health Care and Rehabilitation Center-Sarasota, Freedom Village of Bradenton, Alderman Oaks, Cypress Springs Gracious Retirement Living, The Pavillion of Downtown Venice and Maris Pointe -AC Veronica Brandy (on Aviva Senior Living): Aviva has helped care for my mom both in independent
and now assisted living. The outstanding team both for direct caregivers and administrative support is what makes the diﬀerence. They have also been exceptionally diligent and supportive during the pandemic, keeping families informed and providing excellent care when we couldn’t. Rebecca Orum (on Sunnyside Village): Staﬀ who truly care about their residents. Platinum Winner- The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club / Gold Winner- Aviva Senior Living / Silver Winner- Sunnyside Village / Bronze Winner- Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.
BEST URGENT CARE FACILITY
SMH Urgent Care Center at Bee Ridge Rd and Fruitville Walk-In Urgent Care When something goes wrong unexpectedly or you need a quick medical ﬁx, these spots will step in to save the day. Platinum winners SMH URGENT CARE CENTER AT BEE RIDGE RD and FRUITVILLE WALK-IN URGENT CARE share the top spot while SMH URGENT CARE CENTER AT STICKNEY POINT RD got Gold. Another SMH location takes Silver with SMH URGENT CARE CENTER AT ST. ARMANDS and THE CENTER FOR URGENT CARE is a Bronze winner this year. -AC Platinum Winner- SMH Urgent Care Center at Bee Ridge Road, Fruitville Walk-In Urgent Care / Gold Winner- SMH Urgent Caer Center at Stickney Point Rd / Silver Winner- SMH Urgent Care Center at St. Armands / Bronze Winner- The Center for Urgent Care.
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BEST REHABILITATION FACILITY
Sarasota Memorial HospitalRehab Pavillion
Getting back on your feet requires people to help you stand up, and these rehabilitation centers know just the tricks to get you on the mend again. SARASOTA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-REHAB PAVILLION pulled ahead to Platinum while THE INN AT SARASOTA BAY CLUB stretched with success into Gold. ENCOMPASS HEALTH REHABILITATION HOSPITAL OF SARASOTA saved the day with Silver and PLYMOUTH HARBOR ON SARASOTA BAY bounded into Bronze. Other locations to lend
a hand are Honorable Mentions Manor Care Health Services-Sarasota and Brookdale Palmer Ranch. -AC Ellen O’Connell (on Sarasota Memorial HospitalRehab Pavillion): A few years ago, I needed a total knee reconstruction on my left knee. I was supposed to go home right after but we discovered that I would need a wheelchair, and the wheelchair wouldn’t ﬁt in my house. My doctor instead sent me to the Rehab Pavillion for 2 weeks. The staﬀ was wonderfully empathetic, and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. This past year my mom fell and broke her leg. She had a great experience, and even ended up leaving a week earlier than anticipated due to the staﬀ ’s excellent care with getting her up and mobile again. They were also great with following pandemic guidelines which
eased a lot of worries about my elderly mother getting sick. Platinum Winner- Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Rehab Pavillion / Gold Winner- The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club / Silver Winner- Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota / Bronze Winner: Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.
BEST PHYSICAL THERAPY Dr. Moscow & Associates
An injury can set you back but these phenomenal physical therapists can help feel good as new in no time. DR. MOSCOW & ASSOCIATES comes in as our Platinum winner while SIESTA KEY PHYSICAL THERAPY gets you working towards healing with Gold. SARASOTA CHIROPRACTIC, PHYSICAL THERAPY & MASSAGE slides into Silver and 360 ORTHOPEDICS is the Bronze pick. Honorable Mentions to call when you need to bounce back are David Stevenson Physical Therapy, FYZICAL Sarasota Downtown, Kennedy White Orthopedic Center, Sarasota Bay Club, Michael Via Therapy & Training, Axis Physical Therapy, Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay and Performance Physical Therapy. -AC Greg Stone (on Dr. Moscow): Cannot type enough good things about Dr Moscow’s oﬃce. It’s not just a quick adjustment and out the door, it’s about proactive muscle stretching and learning how to keep from needing adjustments. Great crew at this oﬃce and wouldn’t go anywhere else. Deonna Case
(on Siesta Key Physical Therapy): Professional staﬀ who listen to their patients. Julia Moessner (on Sarasota Chiropractic): This place has the best physical therapy department, in my opinion. They are friendly, engaging, and always looking out for the best interests of the patients! Melissa Tomasso (on 360 Orthopedics): I have had several surgeries over the years and the best certiﬁed hand therapist is at 360 Orthopedics Lakewood Ranch. Sangeetha is super friendly but works hard on accomplishing our goals. Time seems to ﬂy when we have therapy and it is rewarding to see that we have gained more mobility each week. Platinum Winner- Dr. Moscow & Associates / Gold Winner- Siesta Key Physical Therapy / Silver Winner- Sarasota Chiropractice, Physical Therapy & Massage / Bronze Winner: 360 Orthopedics.
BEST EYECARE PRACTICE
Center For Sight
There’s nothing cornea about it—eye care is important and this year our readers had their sights set on some spectacular practices. Platinum pick CENTER FOR SIGHT was an easy to see winner with a hundred votes while COASTAL EYE INSTITUTE -LAKEWOOD RANCH had their sights on second as the Gold winner. DR. RONALD DOCTOR has 20/20 vision as the Silver spot and UNIVERSITY EYE CARE bested the eye test for Bronze. Look out for
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Honorable Mentions Eye Center Inc. - Dr. Morgan, Gulfcoast Eye Center, Richard K Marschner Jr MD PA and Palm Coast Eye Center, PA. -AC Haley Guenther (on Center For Sight): Kind and genuine staﬀ. I love coming to Center For Sight for my vision care, I know I will be well taken care of. Platinum WinnerCenter for Sight / Gold Winner- Coastal Eye InstituteLakewood Ranch / Silver Winner- Dr. Ronald Doctor / Bronze Winner- University Eye Care.
BEST ACUPUNCTURE Freestyle Healing
Needles aren’t typically known for their calming or meditative properties, but done correctly the art of acupuncture can cure a variety of problems in a pinch. FREESTYLE HEALING knows just the prick to landing Platinum while FIVE PETAL HOLISTIC HEALING CENTER has needles defying gravity with Gold. SRQ ACUPUNCTURE & MASSAGE makes a sharp point for Silver and ADVANCED ACUPUNCTURE BY RACHEL TOOMIM AP breaks through the skin for Bronze. Check our Honorable Mentions Open Door Community Acupuncture and Integrative Path Therapies for all your pinpoint purposes. -AC Jacob Robles (on Freestyle Healing): The acupuncturists and massage therapists at Freestyle Healing are amazing, they have really helped me with my allergies and back pain. I cannot thank them enough. Denise Deserable (on Five Petal): Dr Angela Rauter
is a true healer! I am blessed to have been treated by her! She is a kind and deeply caring person. Thank you Dr Angela for all you do! I highly recommend her and her team. Kari Schroeter (on SRQ Acupuncture): Angie is very knowledgeable. Can immediately feel the beneﬁts. T Duckworth (on Advanced Acupuncture): Rachel has so much broad knowledge she can literally help with any ailment, from generalized stress to headaches and joint pain, PTSD. She is amazing. If you have tried acupuncture before, or have something going on that you are struggling to ﬁnd help with, consider getting an assessment from Rachel. It could change your life. Platinum Winner- Freestyle Healing / Gold WinnerFive Petal Holistic Healing Center / Silver Winner- SRQ Acupuncture & Massage / Bronze Winner- Advanced Acupuncture by Rachel Toomin AP.
Dr. Moscow & Associates Picking out the best chiropractor in town isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But you won’t have a bone to pick withus,ourreadershavegotyourback.DR.MOSCOW & ASSOCIATES know just the right postures to land Platinum while SPINE WELL CHIROPRACTIC stretches for Gold. REVITALIZE CHIROPRACTIC made all the right adjustments to take home Silver and SARASOTA CHIROPRACTIC, PHYSICAL THERAPY & MASSAGE backed into Bronze.
Other spots cracking on are Honorable Mentions The Roots Health Centers, Circle Chiropractic, Florida Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Clinics, Dr. Todd S. Hudson Holistic Health & Chiropractic, Manatee Wellness, Lakeshore Chiropractic and Penge Chiropractic. -AC Kendall Grossman (on Dr. Moscow & Associates): Dr.Moscow was the ﬁrst chiropractor I had ever been to. He made everything a breeze. I came in with an awful TMJ and his exercises and ideas helped a ton. Christine Aubrey (on Spine Well): They go above and beyond, natural healing place. Great experience and the best compassionate doctors. Brandon Terry (on Revitalize Chiropracticu): Diva the dog is the best mascot and the team takes care of you. Stacy Liszewski (on Sarasota Chiropractic): Dr Kim Walters is the most caring person you’ll ever meet. She is compassionate and will help you get the relief you need. Platinum Winner- Dr. Moscow & Associates / Gold Winner- Spine Well Chiropractic / Silver Winner- Revitalize Chiropractice / Sarasota Chiropractice, Physical Therapy & Massage.
BEST FITNESS COACH /STUDIO ChicaBoom Fitness Sarasota
Getting into shape can be overwhelming when starting from scratch, but whether a beginner or expert ﬁtness guru these ﬁtness coaches and studios will have you kicking into high gear.
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CHICABOOM FITNESS SARASOTA ran to the top of the list with a cardio-busting ﬁve hundred votes, while jogging just behind is groovy Gold winner FLY DANCE FITNESS. HOT YOGA 4 YOU helps you sweat it out at Silver and FLEX FITNESS TRAINING ﬂexes into the Bronze spot. Don’t miss Honorable Mention Bradenton Boot Camp & Fitness. -AC Alexis DaSilva (on ChicaBoom): Wendy and her team of trainers are absolutely phenomenal at what they do! I’m in the best shape of my life while being seven months pregnant. If that doesn’t tell you how great they are I don’t know what will. Working out at ChicaBoom for the last year and a half has been the best thing ever, completely life changing! Holly Marks (on Fly Fitness): Hands down the best local studio in Sarasota. Their classes are more unique than anything else in the area. I always leave class happier than when I ﬁrst walk in. The staﬀ and clients alike make beginners feel welcomed and encouraged. I’m just very happy this place exists at all! Jennifer Nuesi (on Hot Yoga 4 You): A place where I can go to get ﬁt not only physically but also mentally. Yolanda and the instructors are just so welcome and make the classes invigorating and fun. Mandy Stillman (on Flex Fitness): Dyan is the best! She strives for each of us to reach our goals and pushes us to be the best we can be! Platinum WinnerLeslie Vance / Gold Winner- Dylan Ulrich / Silver Winner- Patti Waller / Bronze Winner- Yolanda Nash.
Spa Hollywood, Brandy Parrott Specializing in all things skin care, these aestheticians will have you face red-carpet ready. SPA HOLLYWOOD’S BRANDY PARROTT tones the top spot with a Platinum win while LASTING LOOKS OF SARASOTA gets you glowing with Gold. FACEPOP SKIN CLINIC - SPA FACIALS LAKEWOOD RANCH & SARASOTA is your key to fresh-faced and feel good looks with a Silver win and BLUE DOOR SPA & SALON
moisturized their way to Bronze. Beat the blemish blues at Honorable Mentions Your Amazing Day Spa, Sirius Day Spa, Shore Rejuvenation Day Spa, Center For Sight-Sarasota, Rita Medical Elite, Sarasota Facial Aesthetics, Glow Up Aesthetics and Deanna Gerhardt. -AC Luisa Afonso (on Spa Hollywood): She’s so caring, knowledgeable, professional and amazing! Will go back to her time and time again. Jeanne McBride (on Lasting Looks): The owner, Mary, takes the time to provide excellent services to her clients. I have never walked out of there unhappy. You are truly relaxed and happy when you walk in and out of her spa. Alexis DaSilva (on FACEPOP): The aestheticians at FacePop truly love what they do and it shows! I came to see Cassie about two years ago with terrible cystic acne and through her facials, products, knowledge, and time we were able to get my skin 100% acne
free! I will forever be grateful for Cassie and her team of amazing aestheticians she’s put together. Lisa Fasanelli (on Blue Door ): Best facial ever! Platinum Winner- Spa Hollwyood, Brandy Parrott / Gold Winner- Lasting Looks of Sarasota / Silver Winner- FacePop / Bronze Winner- Blue Door Salon.
BEST LOCAL HAIR SALON Nuovo Salon Long, short, curly, wavy, buzzed—no matter what look you’re going for, these hair stylists and salons are a cut above the rest. NUOVO SALON permed their way to a Platinum win while THE CONFIDENCE FACTORY HAIR SALON took Gold. HAIR BY JIMMY J styled their way to Silver and RED FEATHER SALON braided their way to Bronze. Don’t forget about these hair-raising Honorable Mentions Intrepid Salon, Blue Door Spa & Salon, Spa Hollywood and E M V Beauty & Co. -AC Billy Shuttleworth (on Nuovo): Carla is amazing! I have been going to her for years and I honestly never leave unsatisﬁed. She is so attentive and makes sure to always ensure I am happy with my cut; as well as my eyebrows. Deyanira Frankland Araiza (on The Conﬁdence Factory): Conﬁdence and style are two things you will walk out of the conﬁdence factory with. Masterpieces are created in this salon. Liz Berry (on Hair by Jimmy J): Jimmy is the absolute best. I have moved out of the
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come back to town just to have him do my hair. Best cut and colorist ever. Sherrie McKinley (on Red Feather): Jen Wolforth is a masterclass of a human being, and she has the portfolio of hair shots to prove her prowess with the scissors and dye. Incredibly hardworking, she designed and built her salon’s upﬁt, will school you on the science of your hair’s unique needs, and then regale you on whatever amazing outing she’s been up to. Basically, she’s a ball of awesome. Platinum Winner- Nuovo Salon / Gold Winner- The Conﬁdence Factory / Silver WinnerHair by Jimmy J / Bronze Winner- Red Feathre Salon.
BEST MASSAGE Blue Door Spa & Salon The ultimate luxury, a long massage can release terrible built up tension leaving you feeling lighter, brighter and happier—bounding out with a bounce in your step. BLUE DOOR SPA & SALON kneaded their way into Platinum while SPA HOLLYWOOD had the Gold-den touch for a second place win. SPA LALI WELLNESS LLC didn’t rub anyone the wrong way and was selected for the Silver spot and MARCY YARBOROUGH hit all the right pressure points for Bronze. Look to these Honorable Mentions to take your stress away at Sirius Day Spa, Shore Rejuvenation Day Spa and Flow Massage and Wellness. -AC Scarlet Lake (on Blue Door): The therapists are all good and they have a complimentary sauna. Krysten Winter (on Spa Hollywood): Erika at spa Hollywood is absolutely
amazing. She is so good at what she does, I feel like I’m being taken to heaven every time I see her. It’s almost as if she knows exactly where the discomfort is and knows exactly how to ﬁx it. Mary Jomisko (on Spa Lali ): Joanna is such a caring person. She’s guaranteed to make you feel relaxed. Roslyn Price (on Marcy Yarborough): Marcy is not only extremely professional and accomplished, but she is caring and sensitive to your individual needs and preferences. She listens to what is bothering you, works on the area in need and can identify where you may not even realize the problem may lie. In addition, she is a genuinely delightful person. Platinum Winner- Blue Door Spa & Salon /
Rejuvenation Day Spa. -AC Courtney Barringer (on Sirius Day Spa): A truly a relaxing experience with the best professionals in town. Suzanne Jamison (on Blue Door Spa): So relaxing and peaceful. The entire staﬀ is so friendly and the service is impeccable. I’ve gone for facials, massages and pedicures and I’ve never been disappointed. Excited to continue trying all of their services! Erin Baran (on L. Spa): Have been seeing Joanna for years! My skin looks terriﬁc, friendly and helpful staﬀ and great all around! Taylor Albano (on Purify): Always clean, friendly staﬀ, great place to unwind and leave feeling rejuvenated. Platinum
Gold Winner- Spa Hollywood / Silver Winner- Sap Lali Wellness / Bronze Winne-: Mary Yarborough.
Winner- Sirius Day Spa, Salon & Mad Spa/ Gold Winner- Blue Door Spa & Salon / Silver Winner- L.Spa / Bronze Winner- Purify- An Urban Sweat Lodge.
BEST LOCAL SPA / DAY SPA
BEST MANICURE Paint Nail Bar
Sirius Day Spa, Salon & Med Spa There are all types of good days, but a spa day? That’s arguably the best. Facials, massages, mudwraps, salt-scrubs—the list of relaxing revelries goes on and on. This year, SIRIUS DAY SPA, SALON & MED SPA pampered their way to Platinum and BLUE DOOR SPA & SALON has the perfect girl’s day as Gold. Luxuriate at L. SPA, readers Silver selection, or be your best self at Bronze winner PURIFY AN URBAN SWEAT LODGE. Other spots to sit back and relax are Honorable Mentions Spa Hollywood, The Inner Circle Spa, Your Amazing Day Spa and Shore
The saying goes ‘put your best foot forward,’ but the nail art and designs these days we might need to change that ﬁnger. Glittery varnished nails can elevate any outﬁt with a simple sparkle. PAINT NAIL BAR polished their way to Platinum and BLUE DOOR SPA & SALON glistened their way to Gold. SPA HOLLYWOOD shimmered into Silver while SIRIUS DAY SPA, SALON & MED SPA added some bedazzle to Bronze. Honorable Mentions Sarasota Happy Nails & Spa and Pro Nails & Spa won’t fail your nails. AC Tami Hunter (on Paint Nail Bar): They’ve
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really helped me get my nails long and healthy. It’s such a fun place with great people. Everyone there is so sweet. Erica Nantais( on Blue Door): The nail technicians are so precise and such perfectionists. Zoë Stone (on Spa Hollywood): Outstanding service nails left shining and stunning. Kimberly Weller (on Sirius Day Spa): Very health focused and natural nail savvy. Platinum Winner- Paint Nail Bar / Gold Winner-
): The owner is just absolutely amazing, kind, helpful and relatable. Kind smiling faces and warm hearts anytime you are there. Melea Perez-Isidro (on Yoga Shack): Variety of classes, you always get what you came for and more. Platinum Winner- Hot
and her staﬀ are always kind and welcoming. Lashes are always done perfectly and the retention as well is amazing, even two weeks in, my lashes still look great. So glad I found her in SRQ. Wouldn’t trust anyone else with my lashes! Platinum Winner-
Yoga 4 You / Gold Winner- Pineapple Yoga + Cycle Studio / Silver Winner- Body Heat Hot Yoga / Bronze Winner- The Yoga Shack.
OMG Lashes / Gold Winner- Blue Door Spa & Salon / Silver Winner- Shore Rejuvenation Day Spa / Bronze Winner- Adri Glamour Lashes.
Blue Door Spa & Salon / Silver Winner- Spa Hollywood / Bronze Winner- Sirius Day Spa.
BEST EYELASHES OMG Lashes
BEST ALTERATIONS Aiko’s Alterations
Batting show-stopping eyelashes like the movie stars of yester-year used to require countless swipes of mascara. Now, one trip to an eyelash expert can leave you with Hollywood enviable eyes that last for weeks—same goes for killer eyebrows. OMG LASHES is a fan favorite with a ﬁfty point lead to Platinum whiley BLUE DOOR SPA & SALON is a fabu-lash Gold-en girl. SHORE REJUVENATION DAY SPA snags a sassy Silver and ADRI GLAMOUR LASHES, takes a brow for Bronze. -AC Becky Tassell (on OMG Lashes): Oliva is incredible. Not only is she a beauty herself but she is excellent at making others feel gorgeous inside and out. Terry Funko (on Shore): Friendly and caring staﬀ that use their years of experience to help with your needs from massage to facials, and lash work to body wraps. The house is a landmark and is very roomy and has a great feel. The best spa is Sarasota, hands down. Linley Margoshes (on Adri Glamour): Adrianna
Pants an inch too long? Dress a bit too big? Jacket pulling at the shoulders? All a piece of cake for these alteration artists taking our outﬁts from too small to tailored. AIKO’S ALTERATIONS pleat the competition for a Platinum win while MAGIC SCISSORS ALTERATIONS steamed the Gold pick for garments. CLASSIC ALTERATIONS sewed their way to a Silver victory and THE PERFECT DRESS OF SARASOTA kept everyone buttoned up for Bronze. Honorable Mentions Tony’s European Alterations and Alterations by Wendy McCann are also onestop-shops for all clothing needs. -AC Julie Adler (on Aiko’s): I took my wedding dress here for alterations and they did such an amazing job! It was no easy task and I was on a tight timeline, but they made room for me. It ended up ﬁtting perfectly for my big day and I couldn’t have been happier. Charles Varah (on Classic Alterations): Luda and her other seamstresses have always been easy
BEST YOGA STUDIO Hot Yoga 4 You The beneﬁts of yoga are tried and true for centuries now. Weight Loss, glowing skin, more energy—all helping to align your chakras. HOT YOGA 4 YOU helps you ﬁnd your center as our readers Platinum choice while close behind PINEAPPLE YOGA + CYCLE STUDIO ﬁnds the perfect pose for Gold. BODY HEAT HOT YOGA stretches and splits into Silver and THE YOGA SHACK bends into Bronze. Other spots to ﬂaunt your ﬂexibility are Honorable Mentions Get Bent Yoga Studio and ThaVma Yoga Sarasota. -AC Siobhan Fox (on Hot Yoga 4 You): Great community of people. Love the studio in every aspect. They make the days oﬀ the mat that much better, mind, body and soul. Kayla Fassio (on Pineapple Yoga ): Claudia and her team make every class fun and unique! I love the atmosphere of the space as well. Tamara Golus (on Body Heat
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to work with, reliable, and professional in every respect. Their ﬁnishing work has been great, they are always on time and they charge a fair rate for a quality piece of work. When I sent my youngest son with two suits needing alterations Luda excelled at getting the ﬁt just right so it looked modern and tailored! Made a world of diﬀerence. Platinum Winner- Aiko’s Alterations / Gold Winner- Magic Scissors Alterations / Silver Winner- Classic Alterations / Bronze Winner- The Perfect Dress of Sarasota.
BEST WELLNESS CENTER Salt of the Earth Sarasota
Gyms, spas, yoga studios—we’ll do anything these days to feel our best and these Sarasota staples are unique, supportive and health-centered places to round out your wellness journey. SALT OF THE EARTH SARASOTA swooped in for a Platinum peace of mind win, while RESILIENT RETREAT grounded readers for Gold. TOTAL BODY WELLNESS was a Silver winner and FIVE PETAL HOLISTIC HEALING CENTER made us feel our best with a Bronze win. -AC Jane Gill Watt (on Salt of the Earth): Body and mind focused experience that has balanced me physically and emotionally. Justyna A (on Total Body Wellness): Great customer service. I’ve used their Cryo T-shock, teeth whitening and massage services. Very pleased with all of them. I’m a customer for life
and I can’t recommend them enough. Nadia Miller (on Five Petal): Dr Angela was a great instrument to bring healing to my condition. She is knowledgeable, super connected, patient, and an outstanding professional. The Center has such good energy and a great sanctuary for peace and healing. Platinum Winner-Salt of the Earth Sarasota/ Gold WinnerResilient Retreat / Silver Winner- Total Body Wellness / Bronze Winner- Five Petal Holistic Healing Center.
CONSUMER SERVICES BEST CAR DEALERSHIP Cox Chevrolet If you need new wheels, there’s a range of car dealerships on Tamiami Trail to choose from. But the top choice for our readers is to roll into south Bradenton and start talking prices with COX CHEVROLET this year’s Platinum winner. Roaring to Gold was SARASOTA FORD. Lovers of luxury rides motored in force to propel WILDE LEXUS OF SARASOTA to Silver, where it tied with COX MAZDA, sister dealership to the winner. AUDI SARASOTA and WILDE HONDA squealed in to tie for Bronze. Encore Motor Cars had enough fuel with readers to merit an Honorable Mention. -JO Erica DiSanto (on Cox Chevrolet): I have bought ﬁve cars and just ordered my sixth. There is never any
hassling or pressure. They have great prices and are extremely professional.I have consistently used them for auto body, car dealer and service for 20plus years. It’s the only place we go. Wilson Westlin (on Cox Chevrolet): Best of the best of the best. The Cox family are humble, helpful and just plain out awesome people. The whole entire operation from sales to service to body shop to customer service makes for an awesome car dealership. Brock Leach (on Wilde Honda): The team at Wilde Honda service department is highly professional, oﬀer knowledgeable advice and deliver on all their commitments. We’ve been a customer for many years and never once been disappointed. Platinum Winner- Cox Chevrolet/ Gold Winner- Sarasota Ford / Silver Winners- Wilde Lexus of Sarasota, Cox Mazda / Bronze Winner- Audi Sarasota, Wilde Honda.
BEST PRIVATE GOLF COURSE Laurel Oak Country Club
As readers took a swing at ranking the region’s ranges, LAUREL OAK COUNTRY CLUB won Platinum by a long shot. But THE CONCESSION GOLF CLUB in Bradenton swung into Gold. THE FOUNDERS GOLF CLUB in Sarasota and the RITZCARLTON, SARASOTA MEMBERS GOLF CLUB
in Lakewood Ranch both shot the same score and tied for Silver. Meanwhile, TPC PRESTANCIA in Sarasota made it onto the leaderboard with
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Bronze. Honorable Mentions go to the Esplanade Golf and Country Club at Lakewood Ranch and to The Oaks Club in Osprey. -JO Patricia Goldwater (on Laurel Oak ): This club is by far the best run facility in the area. The staﬀ is outstanding. It has a well-maintained golf course, tennis courts and some of the best pickleball courts in the area. As a recent new member, the decision to join has been a terriﬁc one. Liz Taft (on Laurel Oak): Laurel Oak has the best golf courses in Sarasota and the best tennis courts. The clubhouse has been remodeled and it seems like everyone wants to have their wedding there. Platinum Winner- Laurel Oak Country Club / Gold Winner- The Concession Golf Club / Silver Winners- Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Members Golf Club, The Founders Golf Club/ Bronze Winner- TPC Prestancia.
BEST LOCAL VETERINARIAN Animal Health Center
There are plenty of purr-fessionals to send your fourlegged friends when they need a check-up and these vets had everyone wagging their tails. Readers saw the pet-ential in our Platinum winner ANIMAL HEALTH CENTER and barked it from the rooftops. We have to give a round of a-paws to Gold winners FOREST LAKES ANIMAL CLINIC and CLARK ROAD ANIMAL CLINIC. Our readers think that SARASOTA ANIMAL HOSPITAL has just the right cat-itude to take home
Silver while FRUITVILLE VETERINARY CLINIC was their purr-fect pick for Bronze. Honorable Mentions in the cat-egory of Best Veterinarian are Best Friends Animal Hospital, Beneva Animal Hospital Inc and Gulf Gate Animal Hospital. -AC Barbara Branning (on Animal Health Center): Animal Health Center provides excellent care for my rescue dog, Buddy. Each employee cares greatly for supporting health and well being for my little dog. I’m so grateful for them all. Liza Rojas (on Forest Lakes): Dr Howard Small is truly one of a kind. Suzanne Lucas (on Clark Road): These are some special folks. Everyone who works with you is compassionate, eﬃcient, and helpful. Carrie Collins (on Fruitville Veterinary): Dr. Pepper and his staﬀ are so sweet. There is no other vet for your fur babies. Platinum Winner- Animal Health Center / Gold Winner- Forest Lakes Animal Clinic, Clark Road Animal Clinic / Silver Winner- Sarasota Animal Hospital / Bronze WinnerFruitville Veterinary Clinic.
BEST PET RESORT AND BOARDING Bayside Pet Resort
Whether it’s the winter howl-idays or howl-o-ween, sometimes you can’t take your pet-friend on vacation with you. When booking your hotel, here are the best places to pam-pur your animals while you’re away. BAYSIDE PET RESORT, SARASOTA paws-itively Platinum coming in at the top spot while one of their
other locations, BAYSIDE PET RESORT, OSPREY nabbed Gold. ACE PET RESORT barked up the right trees and won Silver and BAYSIDE PET RESORT, LAKEWOOD RANCH did it again with a Bronze win. Other paw-some spots are Honorable Mentions K9 Korral, Pet Paradise Lakewood Ranch, Fur Nanny PPHC, Animal House Doggie Bed & Breakfast and Dog World Sarasota. -AC Kori Mulholland (on Bayside, Sarasota): My puppy loves going to Bayside. He has a blast playing with the other dogs and his behavior’s improved immensely since we started training with John. Suzy Borgs (on Bayside, Osprey): Everyone I encounter at Bayside Pet Resort in Osprey is so kind and caring. They treat my pets as if they were their very own. Melissa Tomasso (on Ace Pet Resort): I love that my little and big dog can room together when I board them plus receive one on one cuddle time, but the best is big dog outdoor play. My dog absolutely loves it at ACE Pet Resort. Pauline Parrish (on Bayside, Lakewood Ranch): Aubrey Bird is an amazing groomer. Have been going here for years. Always takes great care of our dogs and makes great suggestions for grooming that works for your dog. Platinum Winner- Bayside Pet Resort, Sarasota / Gold Winner- Bayside Pet Resort, Osprey / Silver WinnerAce Pet Resort / Bronze Winner- Bayside Pet Resort, Lakewood Ranch.
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BEST LOCAL PET SUPPLY STORE
BEST RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
BEST MOVING COMPANY
When the going gets ruﬀ sometimes you need to shop it out—and who better to spoil than your ﬂuﬀy fur-ever friends. These Sarasota spots have all the best treats and tricks for your animal companion whether they’re covered in ﬂuﬀ, scales, feathers or fur! WET NOSES GROOMING SARASOTA was a pup-tastic Platinum choice while PET SUPPLY CENTER growled to a Gold victory. DOGPERFECT - THE LANDINGS OF SARASOTA snaked their way to Silver and the DOGPERFECT - LAKEWOOD RANCH location bull-dogged a Bronze spot along with HOLISTIC FOR PETS - SARASOTA. Readers also loved a-meow-zing Honorable Mention Three Dog Bakery & Grooming. -AC Simon Stone (on Wet Noses): They are the kindest hearted people whose love for dogs shines through everyday. Pam Ricker (on Pet Supply ): Very helpful in anything we need for our dogs. They help with donations to diﬀerent rescues and do a lot for the animals. Very caring and go out of their way to help you. Madelein Joubert (on DOGPerfect, The Landings): Best place in town to buy food and give you doggies a bath. Staﬀ are always so lovely. This is the only place I go for my dogs. Platinum Winner- Wet Noses / Gold Winner-
Where better to settle down than the sunny, sandy shores of Sarasota. With an abundance of sunshine, fresh seafood and fun—Florida is a favorite retirement spot for endless reasons. PLYMOUTH HARBOR ON SARASOTA BAY was voted the Platinum place to practice paradise living while SARASOTA BAY CLUB went for Gold. THE GLENRIDGE ON PALMER RANCH and SUNNYSIDE VILLAGE are relaxing comfortably in the Silver spot while DISCOVERY VILLAGE AT SARASOTA BAY is basking in Bronze. -AC Esther K. Jensen (on Plymouth Harbor): It has everything one can wish for. George Johnson (on Sunnyside Village): We have been privileged and blessed to be residents of beautiful Sunnyside Village for more than six years. The care and concern of our staﬀ has been exemplary and we would recommend it as an ideal home for retired seniors. Cassidy Junot (on Discovery Village): Quality of care, longevity of staﬀ, beauty of property and an amazing company to work for. Platinum Winner- Plymouth Harbor
Once you ﬁnd that perfect home, who can you trust to move you in? Our readers have you covered there too. PAMPERED MOVES got the big lift to Platinum in our survey. Then SUNSHINE MOVERS beamed into Gold. With a smaller number of votes to pack, YARNALL WAREHOUSE still found a good spot to settle down in Silver, and MANASOTA MOVERS clocked in with a Bronze ﬁnish. -JO Mary Jomiski (on Pampered Moves): They’re a familyowned business that cares about its customers.
Wet Noses Grooming Sarasota
Pet Supply Center / Silver Winner- DogPerfect, The Landings / Bronze Winner- DogPerfect, Lakewood Ranch and Holistic for Pets, Sarasota.
Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay
on Sarasota Bay / Gold Winner- Sarasota Bay Club / Silver Winners- The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, Sunnyside Village / Bronze Winner- Discovery Village at Saraosta Bay.
Platinum Winner- Pampered Moves / Gold WinnerSunshine Movers / Silver Winner- Yarnall Warehouse / Bronze Winner- Manasota Movers.
BEST NEW APARTMENT BUILDING The DeSOTA
You don’t need a million dollars to ﬁnd a nice piece of multi-unit housing real estate. The region in recent years has seen a boost in quality apartments. Tops with our readers is THE DESOTA, which climbed the stairs all the way to a Platinum ﬁnish. LYRA SARASOTA APARTMENTS leases Gold. ARCOS and SOLAIRE APARTMENTS share an address with the Silver placing and the RESERVE AT VENICE shows at Bronze. -JO RJ Moon (on DeSota): Great location! Beautiful building. Always clean. Friendly staﬀ. Kori
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Mulholland (on Reserve at Venice): This is my 12th apartment complex and, by far, the best place I’ve ever lived. It’s extremely dog-friendly and even has small private yards for many of the ground ﬂoor units. A total game changer for those of us with dogs who can’t aﬀord the cost and maintenance of a house and full yard. Platinum Winner- The DeSota/ Gold Winner- Lyra Sarasota Apartments / Silver Winner- Arcos, Solaire Apartments / Bronze WinnerReserve at Venice.
BEST NEW RESIDENTIAL CONDO St. Regis Longboat Key
With so many high-rises popping up on our skyline, what condominium towers over the rest? Our readers praise ST. REGIS LONGBOAT KEY, elevating it to Platinum. THE COLLECTION CONDO ON 2ND STREET SARASOTA landed in Gold. Meanwhile, MARK SARASOTA jumped to Silver and BAYSO SARASOTA had enough of a foundation to secure Bronze. -JO Matt Kihnke (on The Collection Condo): Without question the best boutique residence in Sarasota. So perfectly designed to captivate its downtown location. Ken Jucha (on Bayso Sarasota): Great design, awesome amenities and location, location, location! Platinum WinnerSt Regis Longboat Key / Gold Winner- The Collection Condo on 2nd Street Sarasota / Silver Winner- Mark Sarasota / Bronze Winner- Bayso Sarasota.
BEST NEW HOME NEIGHBORHOOD
Laurel Oak Estates
Home construction remains a major part of the region’s economy, with subdivisions in the region giving numerous options to buyers. Where’s the best place to get a new home in the Sarasota-Manatee area? Our readers suggest LAUREL OAK ESTATES, the winner of Platinum this year by a substantial margin. ARTISTRY SARASOTA BY KOLTER HOMES comes in at Gold in our reader poll. BAY LANDING BY D.R. HORTON and PROMENADE ESTATES ON PALMER RANCH BY D.R. HORTON sold enough readers to merit a tie for Silver with two communities from “America’s Builder.” -JO Platinum Winner- Laurel Oak Estates / Gold Winner- Artistry Sarasota / Silver Winner- Bay Landing / Bronze Winner- Promenade Estates on Palmer Ranch.
BEST LOCAL CAR DETAIL Xcelleration Detailing
Cruising through paradise, our readers know the value of having the hubcaps glean in the Florida sun. We posed the question this year of who best can handle upkeep on the region’s ﬁnest automobiles. XCELLERATION DETAILING came out in the lead by a mile to snag Platinum. After that, JOHNNY’S CAR WASH wiped the ﬂoor of any competitors for Gold and SKYWAY DETAILING swept up enough
votes for a Silver ﬁnish and wax. -JO Tony Daum (on XCelleration): These guys do a phenomenal job. They’re always going above and beyond, giving their very best every time. Platinum WinnerXcelleration Detailing / Gold Winner- Johnny’s Car Wash / Silver Winner- Skyway Detailing.
BEST RUG AND CARPET CLEANER Overturf’s Floor and Fabric Care
A clean carpet means a happy home. Whether it’s carpet, shag or some fancy oriental rugs you need undusted, our readers have you set for your next cleaning needs. OVERTURF’S FLOOR AND FABRIC CARE shined as the Platinum winner. In Gold, SWEENEY CLEANING pleased the voters. IDEAL CARPET & TILE CLEANING SOLUTIONS scrubbed up with Silver and MONTGOMERY’S CARPETS PLUS COLORTILE had the support to
secure Bronze -JO Betty Burton (on Overturf’s): We have used Overturf’s for our rug cleaning, both in-home and in their shop. They also clean upholstered chairs and tile and provide excellent service. They are very professional and courteous from the oﬃce staﬀ as well as the technicians. Platinum Winner- Overturf Floor and Fabric Care / Gold Winner- Sweeney Cleaning / Silver WinnerIdeal Carpet & Tile Cleaning Solutions / Bronze Winner- Montgomery’s Carpets Plus Colortile.
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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BEST CPA FIRM Miles & Thirion Properly counting large sums of things can be hard work. With thousands of responses to this year’s Best Of survey, we know. But who boasts the best bean-counters in the region? Readers tell us it’s MILES & THIRION the Platinum winning CPA ﬁrm this year. Next on the spreadsheet is Gold winner STERLING TAX & ACCOUNTING with KERKERING BARBERIO ﬁlling in the Silver. WHITE SANDS FIRPTA & TAX SOLUTIONS calculated its way into Bronze. Honorable Mentions go to Jim Gay CPA; American Accounting; Piper Hawkins & Co; Suplee, Shea, Cramer & Rocklein; Mauldin & Jenkins; CPAs & Advisors, Womeldorph CPAS; Timm & Timm; Natherson & Co; and, RMD Tax Solutions. -JO Karen Atwood (on Miles & Thirion): Janice Gore is a master at what she does and is so customer focused. Amber Livingston (on Sterling Tax): Excellent customer service and superior quality of work. Jennifer Pilato (on White Sands): You get a team that really cares and goes above and beyond with research as well as expertise. Platinum Winner- Miles & Thirion / Gold Winner- Sterling Tax and Accounting / Silver Winner- Kerkering Barberio/ Bronze Winner-White Sands FIRPTA & Tax Solutions.
BEST FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Glenn Scharf of the Scharf Group In a region rich with millionaires young and old, it’s a big business helping individuals make sense of what to do with their dollars. Readers endorse GLENN SCHARF OF THE SCHARF GROUP as this year’s best investment with a Platinum ﬁnish. FULL SPECTRUM FINANCIAL GROUP and WESTSHORE FINANCIAL GROUP’S JENNIFER CARDONA AND GREGORY JACK end up tied for Gold. CHRISTOPHER GARCIA
secured Silver and plenty to take to the bank. MARINER WEALTH ADVISOR and HART & HART FINANCIAL SERVICES end up together with Bronze. -JO Edward Di Pietro Jr. (on Glenn Scharf): I have known Glenn for years and the thing that sets him apart is his integrity and his willingness to learn. I have gotten to know him through the years and he and his business partner are always transparent, understanding and willing to hear clients and their concerns. Secondly, Glenn has a willingness to learn. Glenn and his business partner know everything, but as we all know the world adapts, and so does Glenn. Don Steiner (on Full Spectrum ): I’ve had my investments with them for nine years and they have never failed to make money with them. I’m completely satisﬁed with them. By them I mean Steve and Jessica. Shauntelle Hoﬀman (on Westshore Financial Group’s Jennifer Cardona and Gregory Jack):
Jennifer and Greg oﬀer a holistic approach to wealth management and focus their time and attention to educating their clients by using easy to understand concepts. They are attentive, approachable and are invested in helping others to succeed. They have been instrumental in helping my business grow and connecting me with others in the community and I am truly grateful for them. Jennifer Gallagher (on Westshore Financial Group’s Jennifer Cardona and Gregory Jack ): The “Dynamic Duo,” Gregory and Jennifer, are two of the most amazing ﬁnancial advisors I have ever met. They explained things to me in a way that I could completely understand how my ﬁnancial future will work out. They truly care about their clients and put their clients needs ahead of theirs. Platinum Winner- Glenn Scharf of the Scharf Group / Gold Winner- Full Spectruym Financial Group, Westshore Financial Group’s Jennifer Cardona and Gregory Jack / Silver Winner- Christopher Garcia / Bronze Winner- Mariner Wealth Advisors, Hart & Hart Financial Services.
BEST LOCAL INSURANCE AGENCY Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency | Al Purmort Insurance
How’s this for insurance? The Platinum award comes in at a tie with PURMORT & MARTIN INSURANCE AGENCY in side-by-side with AL PURMORT INSURANCE, just in case someone with no Purmorts
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in charge tried to take the prize. ATLAS INSURANCE and VALIANT INSURANCE AND INVESTMENT GROUP also tied for Gold. DEES INSURANCE GROUP kept its proﬁle and exposure low with a Silver ﬁnish, while HART & HART FINANCIAL SERVICES claimed Bronze. Honorable Mentions included Brown & Brown of Florida; Wells & Associates Insurance Agency; The Peeples Insurance Agency; and CIA Carter Insurance Agency. -JO Virginia Jones (on Purmort & Martin): Russ and his team are always ready to help! Kind, courteous and knowledgeable. Nick Bobbitt (on Purmort & Martin): Great service, competitive rates, provide personal connections throughout Sarasota. Platinum Winners- Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency, Al Purmort Insurance / Gold Winners- Atlas Insurance, Valiant Insurance and Investment Group/ Silver Winner- Dees Insuranve Group / Bronze Winner- Hart & Hart Financial Services.
BEST LEGAL FIRM Lurhhsen Goldberg You can’t litigate your way to the top in this court of public opinion. But the attorneys at LURHSEN GOLDBERG hold enough sway with our massive jury that they easily won Platinum this year. In Gold, was AFFORDABLE ATTORNEY GERLING LAW GROUP CHARTERED while BERLIN PATTEN gave voters enough cause of action to vote them into Silver. Bronze honors were shared between DAN DANNHEISSER and ICARD MERRILL CULLIS
TIMM FUREN & GINSBURG in at Bronze. Honorable
mentions go to Hale Law; Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen; Ulrich, Scarlett, Watts & Dean; Fergeson Skipper; and, Dunlap Moran. -JO Jessica Cathcart (on Luhrsen Goldberg): Julie Luhrsen helped me so much after my accident. She was there the next day explaining the whole process to me and helping me ﬁgure out what I needed to do next. For the next year, she provided weekly updates on the progress of my claim and helped me get as much as she could in my settlement. I highly recommend her and her team if you need a personal injury attorney. Angela Boscarino (on Luhrsen Goldberg): Everyone there is super nice and extremely knowledgeable. Neil Lyons is especially helpful. Platinum Winner- Lurhsen Goldberg / Gold Winner- Aﬀordable Attorney Gerling Law Group Chartered / Silver Winner- Berlin Patten / Bronze Winner- San Dannheisser, Icard Merrill Cullis Timm Furen & Ginsberg.
BEST LOCALLY-BASED BANK Sabal Palm Bank
Want an honor you can take to the bank? Our readers recommend SABAL PALM BANK as the local institution to store your money with their Platinum ﬁnish. GULFSIDE BANK came in with a second-place portfolio of votes, enough to get one of our nice Gold certiﬁcations to hand alongside all the ﬁnancial
credentials. -JO Sharon Owens(on Sabal Palm): Moving from Minnesota nine years ago, Sabal Palm Bank was very helpful in getting a mortgage; I’ve banked with them every year since and they are so helpful and friendly. Platinum Winner- Sabal Palm Bank / Gold Winner- Gulfside Bank.
BEST CREDIT UNION Suncoast Credit Union
Perhaps a sign of the increasing diversity of options in the ﬁnancial world, the survey actually saw far more votes in this category than in traditional banking. SUNCOAST CREDIT UNION cashed in with the most votes to win Platinum, followed by ACHIEVA CREDIT UNION with the Gold win. The USF FEDERAL CREDIT UNION had enough ballots in the lockbox to secure Silver. Honorable mentions include GTE Financial Credit Union, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union, Lakewood Ranch Store and Everence Federal Credit Union. -JO Karen Jones (on Suncoast Credit Union): I am a customer of Suncoast Credit Union. They gave me a car loan when my bank would not, for that I am thankful. Greg Jack (on Achieva Credit Union): I have worked with clients who bank there. I have seen the care the employees take and the positive feedback clients have given about their services. Platinum Winner- Suncoast Credit Union / Gold Winner- Achieva Credit Union / Silver Winner- USF Federal Credit Union.
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BEST NEW BUSINESS IN 2021
BEST CONFERENCE/MEETING FACILITY The Westin Sarasota
Entrepreneurship for years has generated business and created jobs on the Gulf Coast. What are some of the hottest new businesses licensed to sell? UNDERDOG CUSTOM MOUTHGUARDS, a sportsfocused dental product made in Sarasota County, chomped onto Platinum. CCSWEETS, a Sarasota cake shop, baked up a Gold ﬁnish. Bradenton boat tour agency BIG WILI WATER ADVENTURES coasted into Silver. Meanwhile, Bronze winner, YOUR SPACE BETTER BY SARASOTA PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZERS gathered together enough support to get on the shelf with Bronze.. Readers gave Honorable Mentions to Montero Styles, Motel Therapy, Little Miss Sunshine Mobile Spray Tanning and Hair by Jimmy J.-JO Apollo Lirio (on Underdog): Amazing business whose focus is to make customized professional grade sports mouthguards available to athletes of all ages at aﬀordable prices. Curtis Bishop (on CCSweets): The cookies are so ﬂavorful and are also the most intricate and beautiful designs I have ever seen.
From corporate conventions to business retreats, Sarasota’s hospitality industry oﬀers plenty of special spaces for big events. Our readers say the amenities at THE WESTIN SARASOTA raised the bar, with the hotel venue high-rising it to a Platinum ﬁnish. LAUREL OAK COUNTRY CLUB swung into Gold, and LAKE VENICE GOLF CLUB drove its way into Silver. -JO Felicia McDermott (on The Westin Sarasota): The Westin Sarasota has held some beautiful weddings there and organized large conferences. Their rooftop view is incredible and they hold events up there as well. Event attendees can enjoy relaxing at the pool, the spa, dining on the rooftop or at the Evoq restaurant while they are at the hotel. The location is also perfect for attendees’ access to a variety of local restaurants and attractions. Platinum Winner- The Westin
Underdog Custom Mouthguards
Platinum Winner- Underdog Custom Mouthguards / Gold Winner- CCSweets / Silver Winner- Big Wili Water Adventures / Bronze Winner- Your Space Better by Sarasota Professional Organizers.
Sarasota / Gold Winner- Laurel Oak Country Club / Silver Winner- Lake Venice Gold Club.
BEST LOCAL CHAMBER
Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance At the core of any local business community is a solid chamber. Whether it’s business servicing, networking or advocacy, our local organizations oﬀer what business owners need for success. In a ﬁrst
place Platinum ﬁnish, readers recommend joining the LAKEWOOD RANCH BUSINESS ALLIANCE, one of the youngest contenders. THE GREATER SARASOTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE took the Gold. MANATEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE networked its way to Silver while the SIESTA KEY CHAMBER shined in Bronze. Honorable Mention goes to the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. -JO Allison Imre(on LWRBA): Full disclosure, I’m this year’s Chair of the Board for the Alliance. Since I became involved with LWRBA I’ve felt a strong sense of community. Their tagline, The Power of Connection, deﬁnes the true spirit of the organization. Lakewood Ranch is the hub of our region bridging Manatee, Sarasota and beyond and the Alliance aligns itself with that culture of collaboration. Lisa Lawler (on LWRBA): I am ‘new’ to Florida and one of the ﬁrst events that I attended was the LWRBA Holiday Social. I knew maybe a handful of people, yet everyone made me feel so welcome and took time to talk with me and get to know me and what I do. Many times, it can be so hard to go into a large group of people that already either know everyone or have their groups they are a part of, but the Alliance team took me in with open arms. Catherine Clouse Ferrer (on Manatee Chamber): At every level, the Chamber excels at thinking strategically, innovating and delivering results. Their programs are informative, their events are
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fun, and their committees are eﬀective. We are lucky to have such a powerful Chamber working on our behalf. Platinum Winner- Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance / Gold Winner- Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce / Silver Winner- Manatee Chamber of Commerce / Bronze Winner-Siesta Key Chamber.
BEST PLACE TO WORK Liberty Savings Bank
Employees can choose to be picky these days. Which workplaces have what it takes to make workers want to leave their home computer stations and actually interact with co-workers in a professional environment? LIBERTY SAVINGS BANK grabbed Platinum. The youth-aiding BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF
bounced into Gold. The rewarding work of CHILD PROTECTION CENTER secured Silver. GRAPEVINE COMMUNICATIONS took Bronze. Honorable Mentions go to Proplogix, Blue Door Spa & Salon, Resilient Retreat, Brand Story Experts and Cabex Construction Design-Build-Remodel Sarasota. -JO Sandy Perrine (on Liberty Savings Bank): This is a privately owned bank that cares about the employees. It’s a great place to work. Richard Appell (on Liberty Savings Bank): Most employees have over ﬁve years with the company, many with over 10 years. Very good HR department and people in that department know their regulations and help out
employees. Libby Exline (on Boys & Girls Clubs): I have never loved a job so much. What I do and the people I work with are everything you could hope for in a job and more. Robert Holzler (on Grapevine): I have been here eight years and look forward to many more. Fun place to work with great people. Platinum Winner- Liberty Savings Bank / Gold Winner- Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties / Silver Winner- Child Protection Center / Bronze WinnerGrapevine Communications.
BEST NETWORKING GROUP Sarasota Word of Mouth
If success is really about who you know, let our readers introduce you to the best networking opportunities in town. SARASOTA WORD OF MOUTH hob nobbed its way into a Platinum ﬁnish. The LAKEWOOD RANCH BUSINESS ALLIANCE connected with enough voters to ﬁnish Gold. In third place, the SWAT NETWORKING - SUCCESSFUL WOMEN ALIGNING TOGETHER group landed Silver. BNI BUSINESS BY THE BAY rounded out the winner’s circle with a
Bronze ﬁnish. -JO Junior Garcia (on Sarasota Word of Mouth): This networking group has changed my life. From all the beneﬁts it’s had for my business but also all the members in the group. Hands down by far the best group. Karen Atwood (on BNI): This is by far the best networking group I have ever participated in. The professionalism, comradery, honor and
enormous amount of business that is passed among members with a ‘Giver’s gain’ mentality is marvelous. If you are thinking about how to grow your business, consider a visit. Platinum WinnerSarasota Word of Mouth / Gold Winner- Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance / Silver Winner- SWAT Networking—Successful Women Aligning Together / Bronze Winner- BNI Business By the Bay.
BEST VIDEOGRAPHER MakSchu Productions
The kids in the A/V Club grew up to be the coolest practitioner of service in a streaming video world. So who’s the best person to hire to capture your own work in UHD quality? The Oscar (Platinum ﬁnish) goes to MAKSCHU PRODUCTIONS. JOHN VARGUES OF VIBE CHAOS PRODUCTIONS moves into a Gold frame in second. The team at CINECOM earns enough votes from the reader academy to open at Silver while BILL WAGY pulled in enough box oﬃce votes for Bronze. It’s an Honorable Mention for Todd Chastain Films.-JO Ferenc Beleznay (on MakSchu): Top quality live-streaming and always top notch video services! Sheila Vincent (on Bill Wagy): I have worked with Bill and known him well for close to 20 years. He is a thorough professional talented with everything. He is without equal in my opinion. Platinum Winner- MakSchu Productions / Gold Winner- John Vargues of Vibe Chaos Productions / Silver Winner- CineCom / Bronze Winner- Bill Wagy.
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PEOPLE &COMMUNITY BEST BUSINESS LEADER Klark Kelley A good business environment is only as good as its rainmakers. Who do business readers in this region consider the greatest leaders? KLARK KELLEY of Scavengers Marketplace tops our list of movers and shakers in ﬁrst place. ALLISON IMRE of Grapevine Communications and this year’s Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance chair, networks into second place. Dr. JEFFREY MOSCOW represents the medical ﬁeld in third place. JOE MENNA of Cabex Construction, meanwhile, build enough support for a fourth place win. -JO Jeﬀ Woods (on Kelley): Klark was born in Sarasota and is a veteran. He runs a business which aﬀords an opportunity for others to sell their goods and art without excessive overhead and risk. He has also inspired and supported many others in opening their own (similar) stores. Platinum Winner- Klark Kelley / Gold Winner- Allison Imre / Silver WinnerJeﬀrey Moscow / Bronze Winner- Joe Menna.
BEST NONPROFIT LEADER Patty Giarusso
The independent sector provides a major pillar in this philanthropy-rich region. Some leaders in the nonproﬁt world stand out for our readers.
PATTY GIARUSSO OF LOST PET SERVICES shows in ﬁrst place in our poll. JENNIFER ROMINIECKI OF MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS grows enough support for second. PAGE KNOEBEL OF SATCHEL’S LAST RESORT inspired enough votes to win third place this year, while BILL SADLO OF THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA AND DESOTO COUNTIES picks up the votes to
win fourth place. Honorable Mentions go to Sidney Turner of Resilient Retreat, Douglas Staley of Child Protection Center, Philip Tavill of Children First, Jessica Hays of Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Angela Massaro-Fain of Sisterhood for Good, Susie Bowie of Manatee County Foundation, Gene Jones of YMCA of Southwest Florida and Geri Chaﬀee of Dreamers Academy Sarasota. -JO Chris Aaron (on Giarusso): Patti is simply amazing. She and her organization are responsive at all hours of the day and night helping those who have lost pets or found animals. She has amazing reach into the community and in rescue groups when a found animal is in need of a temp foster till an owner is found which helps keep lost dogs out of our crowded shelter system. There isn’t anyone in the area that has the impact she has. Amber Bankes (on Giarusso): There was a pitbull stray dog that was reported in a large, wooded, fenced area and spotted several times over the course of a year but nobody could ever get to him. It was across
the street from my job and I came across the dog myself, not knowing the whole back story, until I reached out to Lost and Found Pets. Patty then ﬁlled me in. Thankfully, once I discovered him, I was able to work with him to build his trust and get him to eventually come out of the area he was living in. Patty oﬀered to come meet me, to chip scan him and I actually was able to line up a home for him. She oﬀered to cover the initial vet visit and x-rays (he had noticeable hip discomfort) so that the family could make sure all was well, without enduring the cost, while they were oﬀering to rescue him. He has now been with his new family for over a year and turned into such a great dog. Suzanne Atwell (on Rominiecki): When one thinks of Sarasota, names like Ringling, Palmer, Crosley, and yes, Selby come to mind. These great families are not just footnotes in local history books. Their indelible footprints, and commitment to Sarasota has evolved as we have as a community. Selby is part of our identity and a valuable resource for the entire region, indeed for the State and the Nation. Dale Barshinger (on Knoebel): Page certainly has a passion to rescue dogs and cats. On top of the fund raising and the overall running of the sanctuary, she does lots of work that is normally done by volunteers. She takes animals to vet visits and is often at oﬀ site events to help setup and take down when over.
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She has the most compassion of anyone I know. Linnea Appleby (on Knoebel): She believes that every pet is adoptable when given the proper care and training. Satchel’s takes the animals that truly have nowhere else to go and will be killed because of ﬁxable medical or behavioral problems. A record number of animals are being heartbrokenly surrendered because their owners can no longer aﬀord their care, or they have been forced to move and cannot take their beloved pet with them. Platinum Winner- Klark Kelley / Gold Winner- Allison Imre / Silver Winner- Jeﬀrey Moscow / Bronze Winner- Joe Menna.
BEST FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS Scavengers Marketplace SRQ
Mom-and-pop shops help create the character of a community. For our readers’ thoughts, none does that better than SCAVENGERS MARKETPLACE SRQ our Platinum ﬁnisher. DR. MOSCOW & ASSOCIATES seems to have straightened enough voters’ backs to show up in Gold. THE BAZAAR ON APRICOT & LIME and its vendors land the market in Silver. EXCELLENCE PERFORMANCE rounds out our winner’s list in Bronze. Honorable Mentions went to Detwiler’s Farm Market, Lokey’s Escape Rooms, Toale Brothers Funeral Home, Sarasota Wine Co., Hart & Hart Financial Services and Orange Octopus. -JO Tim Adcock (on Scavengers):
I frequent all three locations, so I have met the whole family. The owners, Klark and Sherry, are incredibly kind and helpful. Their son Austin always brightens my day. And if you are lucky, Uncle Mike will play a song on his guitar while you shop. Scavengers is my happy place. Platinum Winner- Scavengers Marketplace SRQ / Gold Winner- Dr. Moscow & Associates / Silver Winner- The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime / Bronze Winner- Excellence Performance.
BEST FAITH LEADER Rev. Dr. Kenneth Blyth of St. Armands Key Lutheran Church
More than leading a community, a group of religious ﬁgures lead it in worship. Rev. Dr. KENNETH BLYTH of St Armands Key Lutheran Church earned enough praise to win our survey this year. RANDY BEZET pastor at Bayside Community Church, holds enough esteem with readers to rise to second place. Dr. CHIP BENNETT, Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church, and Father CHARLESTON WILSON, at Church of the Redeemer, come in on our reader survey at third and fourth place respectively. Honorable Mentions go to Chris Romig, senior pastor of Venice Presbyterian Church, Mark Alt, pastor at The Bridge Church, and Tom Hodge, pastor at 1st Baptist Church. -JO Platinum Winner- Rev. Dr. Kenneth Blyth / Gold Winner- Randy Bezet / Silver Winner-Dr. Chip Bennett / Bronze Winner-Father Charleston Wilson.
BEST MANATEE COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIAL Carol Whitmore Elections will be held later this year to show where the whole community stands, but as far as our readers are concerned, Manatee County Commissioner CAROL WHITMORE stands above all other compatriots in Manatee politics with her Platinum ﬁnish. Behind her, U.S. Rep. VERN BUCHANAN turned out the vote to win Gold. Two other Manatee County Commissioners VANESSA BAUGH and REGGIE BELLAMY came in Silver and Bronze respectively. Meanwhile, State Rep. Tommy Gregory and Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie earn Honorable Mentions. -JO Platinum Winner- Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore / Gold Winner- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan / Silver Winner- Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh / Bronze Winner- Manatee County Commissioner Reggie Bellamy.
BEST SARASOTA COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIAL Bridget Ziegler In Sarasota County, it’s School Board Member BRIDGET ZIEGLER who polled the highest with our readers, winning Platinum. Sarasota Mayor ERIK ARROYO got out the votes to come into Gold. U.S. Rep. VERN BUCHANAN who represents Sarasota and Manatee counties, made it onto the list for both, coming in Silver in Sarasota County. Sarasota
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City Commissioner JENNIFER AHEARN-KOCH, meanwhile, pulled oﬀ a Bronze ﬁnish in this race. Honorable Mentions go to state Sen. Joe Gruters, Sheriﬀ Kurt Hoﬀman, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, Sarasota City Commissioners Hagen Brody and Kyle Battiem state Rep. Tommy Gregory and Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler. -JO Molly Biter (on Bridget Ziegler): She’s a phenomenal person. Dedicated to our community and her children. I don’t know how she does it all with such grace. Kim Githler (on Erik Arroyo): I have seen his caring for our community and citizens over many years. He is a family man and a steward. Platinum Winner- Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler/ Gold Winner- Sarasota City Mayor Erik Arroyo / Silver Winner-U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan / Bronze WinnerSarasota City Commissioner Jennifer Ahearn-Koch.
BEST LOCAL POLITICIAN Bridget Ziegler When the contest opens up to all politicians in the region, Sarasota County School Board Member BRIDGET ZIEGLER still wins Platinum in our general election. State Sen. JOE GRUTERS brings in the votes for Gold. Congressional competitors VERN BUCHANAN and MARTIN HYDE tie for Silver. Sarasota Mayor ERIK ARROYO polled at Bronze. Honorable Mentions go to state Sen. Jim Boyd, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler, staet Rep. Tommy Gregory, Manatee
County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh and Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier. -JO Eileen McGrath (on Bridget Ziegler): Bridget is committed to ﬁghting for the rights of students and families in our community. Chandra Riccio (on Joe Gruters): Joe has been a staple in the Sarasota community for as long as I can remember. He’s ﬂipped the script in this town with his politics. Carroll Bailey (on Martin Hyde): He tells the truth. Platinum Winner- Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler/ Gold WinnerState Sen. Joe Gruters / Silver Winner-U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, Martin Hyde / Bronze Winner-Sarasota Mayor Erik Arroyo.
BEST 2021 COMMUNITY ACCOMPLISHMENT Legacy Trail Of all the good deeds, successes and bold moves made in the region in the last year, what stands out as the greatest accomplishment in Sarasota and Manatee counties? Views diﬀer, and opinions come in strong. But the bulk of our readers see the extension of LEGACY TRAIL as the achievement that stands above all. Having GOV. RON DESANTIS in the Governor’s mansion also inspires pride in enough readers that the statewide leader wins second place in this poll. The #SAFEARTSSARASOTA INITIATIVE ties with THE CHALLENGE FOR CHANGING LIVES -DIAMOND CIRCLE-CHILDREN FIRST for third place. Meanwhile, BLOCKING JOE BIDEN’S VACCINE
MANDATES lands as a fourth place accomplishment this year. Thomas Morgan (Legacy Trail): It is important to support passive, non-fossil fuel based activities for tourists and locals alike. The trail, as a free-to-use-space is the kind of egalitarian project that I think our tax dollars should support. Something accessible to any and all residents and visitors. Sharon Kunkel (on #SafeArtsSarasota): The arts sector is one that has suﬀered terribly throughout the pandemic— with area stages completely dark for many months. I think the arts organizations that created the #SafeArtsSarasota initiative were being brave and responsible in their eﬀort to keep artists and staﬀ employed and keep their doors open while striving to provide the safest possible environment for patrons and the community. Bravo!
BEST 2021 BLUNDER Anti-Vaxxers
But what of the biggest screw-ups? Regardless of the votes against mandates as an accomplishment, more votes for blunder identiﬁed ANTI-VAXXERS as the community’s faux pas of the year. Yet implementing MASK MANDATES also shows up high, taking second place in our pandemic-dominated blunder list. ROUNDABOUTS, with special mention of the road at U.S. 41 near the Ringling bridge, made its traditional entry to this list in third place. Meanwhile, the SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOLS MASK MANDATE
earned particular mention to land in Bronze. SRQ
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