SRQ Living Lakewood | SEPT22

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Fall 2022

Below: CEO Andy Guz of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Waterside— honored by the readers of SRQ Magazine as the LWR Best Neighborhood.



Reflecting on Growing Accolades

Choosing The Ranch

At Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, we remain steadfast in our mission to provide quality care to the members of our community. We believe that collaboration between patients and their medical teams results in better outcomes and care. Reflecting on the past few months, I am proud to say we have added more recognitions to our growing list of accolades. We join other elite hospital from across the U.S. in Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals 2022 List. Our cardiac programs excel, and have the recognitions to prove it. I am proud that we received two American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines and Mission: Lifeline achievement awards for demonstrating commitment to following up-to-date research-based guidelines for the treatment of stroke and heart attack care. This ultimately leads to more lives saved, shorter recovery times and fewer readmissions to the hospital. We also received The Joint Commission’s Acute Heart Attack Ready Certification for the ER at Fruitville.This designation recognizes hospitals that meet standards denoting the highest level of commitment to consistent and optimal heart attack care. These are just a few of the accolades and awards our hospital receives throughout the year. Without the support of our patients and the community, we would not be able to meet these milestones and recognitions. Your health is what motivates us to do our best every day. Always feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts or questions. Visit to send me an email. Thank you for choosing Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and be well.

Welcome to Living Lakewood, SRQ Magazine’s celebration of all things “Ranch.” This September, our readers recognize the “Best of SRQ Local” winners from our inaugural Lakewood Ranch special section— thank you for your votes and participation in sharing the love with our honorees. In this issue, local restauranteur, Poona Maini, owner of Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine, tells the amazing story of her journey from a small village in India to now running a thriving culinary destination and Eddie Yzeiri, manager of Apollonia, reminisces about his parents running El Greco Cafe on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Both are a reminder that Lakewood Ranch is young enough as a community that basically everyone has come from somewhere else—that’s one of its biggest strengths. Andy Guz, CEO of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center shares thoughts on providing healthcare services to a community that continues to grow with record-setting speed. And, entrepreneur Karen Medford, owner of Sirius Day Spas, shares the moment when she decided to leave her safe corporate position and set off on her own. Many new faces and families have made Lakewood Ranch their home in the past few years—-it’s a privilege to capture some small part of that surge in the page of Living Lakewood.




SRQ MEDIA | Executive Publisher

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LIVING LAKEWOOD Below: Lamb Shank Osso Bucco from Apollonia Grill with Marcho

Farms lamb, seasoned and slowly braised with vegetables, fresh herbs and red wine over mashed potatoes. Right: LWR Best Casual Dining Platnium winner Craft Growlers presents its To Go & Tasting Room Prop and Peller Pretzel and 4 Craft Beer Taster.

FEATURES Lakewood Ranch | Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition, 10 Our readers have spoken! The 2022 Best of Lakewood Ranch competition has wrapped and we are so excited to share the winners. Trailblazer | Getting Sirius, 16 Meet entrepreneur Karen Medford, owner of the Sirius Day Spas on her journey in launching her business. Trailblazer | Medical Forefront, 22 Andy Guz, the CEO of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center has spent the majority of his career in the hospital industry, empowering the work culture and getting out into the communities he serves. Navigation, 24 A listing guide to dining in the Lakewood Ranch corridor. Greece to India, 28 Wowing University Park patrons for nearly a decade with its fresh Mediterranean cuisine, Apollonia Grill in the Cooper Creek area is the pride of the Yzeiri family. Poonam Maini has walked a triumphant path to where she is now—from growing up in a small village in India to pioneering the successful Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine on Cooper Creek Boulevard. 6 | srq magazine_ LIVING LAKEWOOD FALL 2022 live local


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This page: Seared amberjack

on mushroom-infused risotto with crispy vegetables at Lucky Pelican, honored as Best Overall Restaurant. Photo by Wes Roberts.


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BEST OF SRQ LOCAL Lakewood Ranch


LWR | BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT Lucky Pelican The dreaded “what should we have for dinner” conversation is easily put to rest with these winners. Lakewood Ranch voters picked their Platinum prize with LUCKY PELICAN while they gushed over Gold winner ATRIA CAFE. Finish the night with something sweet at Silver sensation WICKED AWESOME ICE CREAM EMPORIUM INC or have a seafood feast at Bronze winner SPEAKS CLAM BAR - ITALIAN & SEAFOOD - LAKEWOOD RANCH. There are plenty more places to pick from looking over Honorable Mentions Grove, Cassariano Italian Eatery Lakewood Ranch, Nancy’s Bar-B-Q at Lorraine Corners, Libby’s, Bourbon and Bones Chophouse and Thai Spice & Sushi. -AC Gabriele Harris (on Lucky Pelican): Great fresh food. Local. JD DeVries (on Wicked Awesome Ice Cream Emporium Inc): Delicious treats and great hospitality. Lisa Grasso (on Speaks Clam Bar - Italian & Seafood - Lakewood Ranch): Incredible food and great service every single time! Platinum WinnerLucky Pelican / Gold Winner- Atria Cafe / Silver Winner- Wicked Awesome Ice Cream Inc / Bronze Winner- Speaks Clam Bar-Italian & Seafood-Lakewood Ranch.


Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room Getting dolled up for dinner is all good and fun, but when you can’t quite commit to the glitz and glam, these cool and casual spots are the perfect fit for jeans and a t-shirt type attire. Readers loved CRAFT GROWLERS TO GO & TASTING ROOM for Platinum and just two votes behind ATRIA CAFE cruised in for a second place Gold. LUCKY PELICAN made quite the impression popping up again for LWR in Silver and ED’S TAVERN battled for Bronze. Don’t miss Honorable Mention Bourbon and Bones Chophouse.-AC srq magazine_ LIVING LAKEWOOD FALL 2022 live local | 11


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Courtney Barringer (on Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room): Great casual local spot. Easy going and the simple but delicious menu makes this a favorite place. Aiko M (on Lucky Pelican): I find the seafood at Lucky Pelican to be fresh and their recipes are always very flavorful. I feel their pricing is good for what you get in both taste and portion size. They have a nice happy hour to help with the long waits. Long wait times due to the crowds wanting to eat there. I always recommend Lucky Pelican as a good seafood location. Adrian Morell (on Ed’s Tavern): Ed’s Tavern has a laid back atmosphere. The employees, patrons, food and drinks are great. Platinum Winner- Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room / Gold Winner- Atria Cafe / Silver Winner- Lucky Pelican / Bronze Winner- Ed’s Tavern.

LWR | BEST BREAKFAST+BRUNCH Station 400 Starting the day off right can be as simple as a great plate of eggs and bacon. Lakewood Ranch has plenty of places to jumpstart your joy, starting off with pancake-slinging Platinum winner STATION 400. A true favorite making it onto several Best Of winning categories this year ATRIA CAFE wins one more Gold spot and ANOTHER BROKEN EGG CAFE cracks its way to Silver. Find biscuits and bacon at Bronze winner GROVE. -AC Courtney Barringer (on Station 400): Locally owned and operated Station 400 is always consistent with food, pricing and staff. Kathy James (on Another Broken Egg Cafe): Another Broken Egg restaurant is the “Holy Grail” of pleasurable dining experiences for breakfast or brunch! Not only do they have an over-the-top menu filled with an incredible variety of foods and flavors to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, their servers are so attentive and friendly and you get all this for a super reasonable price. What more could you want? Oh yes, and it’s conveniently located too! (Try the Biscuit Beignets for a really unique indulgence!) Platinum Winner- Station 400 / Gold Winner- Atria Cafe / Silver Winner- Another Broken Egg / Bronze Winner- Grove.


Mainstay - Lee Wetherington Homes Finding an oasis to call your own can be tricky but these home models showcase the best. Platinum Winner MAINSTAY - LEE WETHERINGTON HOMES takes the top spot this year while KORINA, JOHN CANNON HOMES is close on their heels for a second place Gold win. Rounding out the category for Silver is THE RIVIERA, KEMICK BUILDERS AND CONSULTANTS CONCESSION MODEL. -AC Gabriele Harris (on Mainstay - Lee Wethington Homes): Great floor plan, beautiful design and attention to detail. Jane Jones (on Korina, John Cannon Homes): I really loved that Korina model. The wine room especially; you could see all the bottle labels. If you go into any subdivision with model homes and there is a Cannon model, their quality will stand above all others. 12 | srq magazine_ LIVING LAKEWOOD FALL 2022 live local

Above left to right: Lee Wetherington Homes’ Mainstay model earned the readers’ top votes for LWR Best Model Home. Station 400 made it to the finish line first for LWR Best Breakfast+Brunch, photo by Wyatt Kostygan

The unique custom features and specifically the ceiling details make them a clear ‘best model home’ winner. Platinum Winner- Mainstay, Lee Wetherington Homes / Gold Winner- Korina, John Cannon Homes / Silver Winner- The Riviera, Kemich Builders and Consultants Concession Model.

LWR | BEST NEIGHBORHOOD Waterside at Lakewood Ranch A home is where the heart is but also where your kids can make lifelong friends down the street and a barbeque invitation is only a mailbox away. Being surrounded by a community of kind and inviting people is just as important to making a home as picking out the right paint color. With new developments constantly popping up around Lakewood Ranch, these neighborhoods were standouts. Readers voted WATERSIDE AT LAKEWOOD RANCH a Platinum paradise while THE LAKE CLUB was a feel-good Gold. Voters sang the praises of Silver selection MALLORY PARK AT LAKEWOOD RANCH BY DIVOSTA HOMES and ESPLANADE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB AT LAKEWOOD RANCH became a Bronze-winning best. Check out Honorable Mention Bridgewater for a neighborhood delight. -AC Lucinda Fingado (on Waterside at Lakewood Ranch): Waterside has great proximity to UTC I75 and downtown Sarasota. The homes are beautiful and on large lakes. The developments are within walking distance to downtown Waterside. The downtown was well designed with restaurants situated on a large lake with multiple areas to wine dine shop and exercise. Amy Gorman (on Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch by Divosta Homes): New houses and townhomes in a carefully planned location with much thought and detail put into the planning. Great recreational facilities-walking paths, pool, spa, grills and parks. Platinum Winner- Waterside at Lakewood Ranch / Gold Winner- The Lake Club / Silver Winner- Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch by Divosta Homes / Bronze Winner-Esplanade Golf and Country Club at Lakewood Ranch.

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This page, clockwise: Readers voted Rick Chang of Wagner Realty as the

LWR Best Lakewood Ranch Realtor specializing in the Lakewood Ranch community. The Mall at University Town Center earned top marks for the LWR Best Shopping destination. 15 Craft Beer Taster from Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room, honored with the LWR Best Casual Dining award.

Helping a community grow is key to its success and these places showed their true colors as wonderful community partners. YMCA LAKEWOOD RANCH BRANCH is pleased to take home Platinum while only a three votes away the Gold goes to FAWLEY BRYANT ARCHITECTURE. This year’s Silver winner was SIRIUS DAY SPA. -AC

Weyli Angus (on Rick Chang, Wagner Realty): Personable, dedicated and a deal maker. Linda Sines (on Lisa Tarjanyi): Tarjanyi Home Sales make you feel like you are family from the start and wants the absolute best for you. They go the extra mile to make the process truly enjoyable. Angela MassaroFain(on Tina Ciacchio, Lakewood Ranch Realtor, Michael Saunders & Company): The ultimate professional who cares about your success and the purchase or sale of your home. Smart. Strategic. Hardest working Realtor I have ever worked with. Platinum Winner- Rich Chang, Wagner Realty / Gold


Winner- Lisa Tarjanyi / Silver Winner- Tina Ciacchio, Lakewood Ranch Realtor, Michael Saunders & Company.


Rick Chang, Wagner Realty

Look no further than these housing experts for all your needs when looking over your housing must-haves checklist. Lakewood Ranch voters know they can trust RICK CHANG, WAGNER REALTY with his expertise as the Platinum winner while others got their Gold-star guidance from second place winner LISA TARJANYI. Sliding into Silver is TINA CIACCHIO, LAKEWOOD RANCH REALTOR, MICHAEL SAUNDERS & COMPANY who can help you sign on the dotted line. Honorable Mentions Barbara A. Milian PA, Lakewood Ranch Realtor- Michael Saunders & Company and Kathy White Realtor: ICON Premium Realty are also ready for housing help. -AC


The Mall at University Town Center Clicking through a computer catalog of clothes will never have the same appeal as finding the perfect dress in real life and modeling it for the mirrors in the dressing room. Lakewood Ranch residents turned to Platinum pick THE MALL AT UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER to fill their baskets while others grabbed goods at Gold winner COOPER CREEK PLAZA. Silver winner SIRIUS DAY SPA was a third place treat to take yourself out for a day of window shopping. -AC

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Getting Sirius

Below: Trailblazer Karen Medford shares her story of launching Sirius Day Spas

ENTREPRENEUR KAREN MEDFORD has been the owner of the Sirius Day Spa since 2018—with locations in Lakewood Ranch and UTC—and her desire for innovation continues to grow. She built her two spas from the ground up, and has hired and managed a staff of 40 people. Prior to her current venture, Medford worked for the Laboratory Corporation of America/ Integrative Genetics for nearly a decade, managing revenue of more than $41 million, and generating nearly $1 million in new revenue as a women’s health clinical specialist. 16 | srq magazine_ LIVING LAKEWOOD FALL 2022 live local


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Below: One of Sirius Day Spas’ most popular treatments is Morpheus8 RF Microneedling (below) and Body Contouring.



BUSINESS? I always frequented local spas in my business travels as a way to “tune up” for my meetings. All that was great until I had a family, and then being on the road wasn’t so much fun anymore. In my travels, I heard an ad on the radio for a brand-new concept: one spa for all your needs. It was on Sirius XM for a business called Sirius Day Spa. What are the odds?! My husband and I signed on for three franchise locations. Then we realized that there wasn’t much of a benefit to a franchise if you were among the first. Brand recognition was simply not there, and I was spending a ton of money on advertisements and networking every chance I had. After seven months, and just opening the second location at UTC, we discovered the parent company was going in another direction and changing the name. A year of developing a brand that I was truly proud of was about to be changed. It was time to separate and become an independent brand. After a few months, the dream came true. Sirius Day Spa was independent and the name was ours.

IN AN ORIGINAL WAY? We trust in our team’s recommendations, analyze and ultimately decide on bringing in new devices, skincare lines or equipment. For example, as per the advice of our lead esthetician, we brought on machines with the works: microcurrent, LED light therapy, ultrasound treatments, etc. It has been our goal every year to continue to innovate and develop. This led to the addition of the medspa team after two years, as well as the latest advancements like IPL machines, Diamond Glow, Morpheus8 RF microneedling, body contouring and laser hair removal.

like I am working harder than ever, it is truly what I love. My dream is for my daughters to see that hard work pays off and I hope to have a legacy to leave them. HOW DO YOU MANAGE A SUCCESSFUL WORK/LIFE BALANCE? We have a yearly

sponsorship with the Sarasota Polo Club so, from December through May, our family packs up every Sunday and heads to the green beach. Even though it is practically across the street, we pack up a day’s worth of picnic food, bubbly, juice boxes, and our lanai furniture to set up our reserved space.



ENTREPRENEUR? Family, family, family. My husband has always been an entrepreneur and I respected him for working hard yet always making time for the kids. He was truly the inspiration for me and gave me the courage to take the leap from the corporate world. He continues to grow his businesses and is always there to support me. It was the best decision I ever made, and even though I feel

AND FOCUSED? Truly, I don’t know what

I would do without yoga—whether it is hot yoga or Vinyasa; it is truly my saving grace. Not only does it keep me physically fit and reduce anxiety, but I feel like my best ideas come out of a yoga class. It brings clarity to my mind by helping me see something that was previously “clouded.” LL

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MEDICAL FOREFRONT ANDY GUZ, THE CEO OF LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER, has spent the majority of his career in the hospital

industry—empowering the work culture and getting out into the communities he serves. Guz has been the Chief Executive officer of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center since 2016. He was previously the CEO of a hospital in Pennsylvania, and has worked in executive roles at hospitals throughout the United States. Guz is a board member for the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee County, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, and the Sloan Alumni Association Board of Directors at Cornell University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Sarasota, active in the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and Manatee Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Marshall University and a Masters of Health Administration from Cornell University. Guz lives in Lakewood Ranch with his wife Tami, and daughters Ava and Lana. SRQ: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR WORK AS THE CEO OF LAKEWOOD RANCH MEDICAL CENTER? ANDY GUZ: I oversee

the strategy and operations for the hospital, our outpatient physician clinics (Lakewood Ranch Medical Group), and the freestanding Emergency Department (ER at Fruitville). The best way I describe my job is putting the right resources in the right places in order to meet

the needs of our patients. This includes the people, equipment, facilities and strategy of the entire organization. DO YOU HAVE A VISION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

LWRMC will continue to be the leader for healthcare in Lakewood Ranch and beyond. Our challenge, like most organizations in Lakewood Ranch, is to continue continued on page 24

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DINING Another Broken Egg Café

A neighborhood favorite, Another Broken Egg offers breakfast and lunch. Get the very french toast topped with bananas, berries, walnuts, cinnamon and whipped cream for a sweet morning, and throw in a mango mimosa to make it even sweeter. Broken Egg offers two-forone specials on domestic beers and house wines on Friday a ernoons. 6115 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch, 941-388-6898, @anotherbrokenegg,

Apollonia Grill

The family at Apollonia Grill creates memorable Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on perfectly-grilled meats and vegetables such as the Apollonia kebabs in lamb, filet mignon or chicken. Featured dishes include the lamb shank osso bucco, moussaka and short rib-ravioli. For accompaniments to the main course, try the robust fisherman’s stew and the roasted beets with whipped feta. 8235 Cooper Creek Blvd, University Park, 941-359-4816, @apolloniagrill

ATRIA Bread+Coffee

ATRIA Bread + Coffee opened just last year with a focus on artisan sourdough breads made with whole grains. Using minimal ingredients, all bread loaves are milled in-house every morning for breakfast and lunch service and for full service catering which includes gourmet breadboard options, artisanal toasts and housemade spreads. The cafe itself encompasses a modern yet welcoming interior with specialty coffee and tea beverages, as well as baked pastry goods including muffins, cookies, scones and more.4120 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, 941-751-1016,,

Casa Maya Mexican Restaurant

Find authentic south-of-the-border flavors with a genuine Mayan emphasis at this casual dining locale. A Guadalajara favorite, signature molcajetes serve up steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops or fish in a heated volcanic stone, mixed with grilled onions, peppers and homemade salsa and fresh tortillas. 8126 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-9449, @casamayalwr,

Cra Growlers To Go and Tasting RoomCheck out the first cra beer

and growler pub in Sarasota/Manatee. It is both a spot to purchase and fill 64- and 32-ounce growlers from over 45 taps to take home with you, and a casual place to hang out and down a pint as well as delicious sandwiches, beer bites and shareable items. Its cra taps are filled with a wide array of brews, ranging from Belgian-style ales to ciders, IPAs and a big selection of Florida beers. 8141 Lakewood Main St., N103, Lakewood Ranch, 941-822-8131. @cra growlers2golwr, cra

DimSum King

Conveniently located in the UTC area, DimSum King offers a delicious assortment of small, medium and large traditional Chinese dishes and, most famously, “dim sum all day,” as their mo o declares. With its comfortable atmosphere and expansive menu, this is the perfect spot for a family dinner, date night or anything in-between. 8194 Tourist Center Dr., Bradenton, 941-306-5848,

Ed’s Tavern

The friendly, neighborhood sports bar—complete with a full menu and outdoor seating area, is right next door to the movie theater. Enjoy finger foods and classic bar bites with friends while watching the game, or take a date to the cinema and follow it up with everything from burgers and flatbreads to wings, chili and entrees like the smoked pulled pork pla er, jumbo shrimp and house smoked ribs. Don’t forget to explore the rotating taps, free to play trivia nights and live music on weekends. 10719 Rodeo Dr., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0400, @edstavernlwr,

LIVING LAKEWOOD continued from page 22 expanding along with the community, and we have some exciting things planned for the near future. I moved here in 2016 and, since then, there are so many more people who live and work in the community. We will continue to add more services and specialties to meet the needs of our community. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST REWARDING ASPECTS OF THE WORK YOU DO? AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? I believe there are three things that a healthcare organization must focus on in order to gain the trust of patients and their physicians: safety, quality and kindness. We must always prevent harm to patients, practice the highest quality of medicine and treat everyone well. LWRMC has been one of the most awarded and accredited hospitals in this area, including being named “Top General Hospital” by Leapfrog Group and one of Newsweek’s “Best Maternity Hospitals,” and it is because we do those three things well. I am proud to work with people who share that vision and practice it every day. I also enjoy hearing from community members whenever they’ve had a great experience with one of our physicians or interactions with the hospital. One of our biggest challenges is maintaining that level of culture as we continue to grow. Every new person that is brought into the organization has their own personality and experiences, and we want to hire the best of the best. Hiring the right people is just as, if not more, important than the policies and procedures of an organization. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT WORKING IN LAKEWOOD RANCH? The sense of community. I like to say that “no one is originally from Lakewood Ranch,” which means that we all chose to live here. I think that brings a certain level of pride within the community. It also means that everyone moving here has to find a new healthcare home, which is what we strive to be.

The Granary

Established in 2015 this local breakfast and lunch spot boasts a reputation to not disappoint. Serving traditional dishes with both modern and delicious twists, hand-cra ed caffeine, mimosas and a selection of pastries you will find something to enjoy whatever time of day you visit. Whether you indulge in a decadent breakfast of pancakes or benedicts, or fish & chips, fresh salad, soup or sandwich for lunch, there’s something here for everyone. Ideal for families and is dog friendly. 2547 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, 941-746-2000,

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO DURING YOUR NON-WORK TIME? I volunteer on several not-for-profit boards and

community civic groups. I enjoy those because it brings people from various backgrounds and industries to provide resources to local residents who face financial challenges. While there are many well-off people in Lakewood Ranch, there are certainly many who need some assistance. Organizations like the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund and Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, among others, help fill those gaps. My wife, Tami, is a professional violist and plays with the local symphony orchestras. We have two daughters, Ava and Lana, who are active in competitive softball and soccer, so most of my time after work and on weekends is spent at the fields or at tournaments. LL

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Grove Restaurant

This latest offshoot from the restaurateurs behind the famed Pier 22 offers a wide variety of cuisine—all with a focus on locally-sourced and fresh ingredients. Seafood lovers will find their fill amongst Shrimp N’ Grits, Stuffed Lobster and Scallop Benedict, while those craving red meat can’t go wrong with the Roast Duckling, New Zealand Rack of Lamb or the Wild Game of the Day. Save room for dessert or an a er-dinner coffee or cocktail. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-893-4321, @grove_lwr,

Hana Sushi Lounge

Roll up expecting an artful mix of raw and refined traditional Asian cuisine—and don’t leave disappointed. Say “Aloha” (shrimp, tempura, cream cheese, mango and coconut) to “Godzilla” (spicy tuna, asparagus, eel and avocado) and “King Kong” (shrimp tempura, kani, cream cheese, scallions, spicy tuna, eel and avocado) and leave feeling “Soul Good” (shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, asparagus, salmon and garlic). For those thinking outside the roll, check out the poke bowl selection and bento box specials. 8126 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-1290, @hanasushilounge,

Inkawasi Peruvian

Homestyle cooking in the Peruvian style brings ceviches, empanadas, yucca and more elements to the menu, as well as chifa—a culinary tradition fusing Cantonese Chinese with Peruvian food. The Tallarin Saltado, for example, unites wok-prepared Peruvian flame noodles with green onions, snow peas, peppers and napa cabbage, complete with chicken, beef or seafood. The Amazonian fried rice is a dish you have to try, and the Lomo Saltado is a perfect mixture of two worlds. 10667 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941-360-1110, @inkawasiperuvianfood,

Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie

Like their Hillview location, Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie in Lakewood Ranch plates lunch and dinner daily, and celebrates with weekend brunches. The locale stylishly serves seasonal New American cuisine with sides of excellent service. If their crispy brussel sprouts, Joe’s meatballs, and kale caesar aren’t enough

to sell you, some of their best bo les are available half off all day on Wine Wednesdays. 8445 Lorraine Rd., 941357-1570,

Lucky Pelican Bistro

Not only is this upscale seafood spot known for its iconic hot and cold selections, including a raw bar and fish market, innovative specials, but its ambience is enough to make this fan favorite your local go-to for lunch, dinner or takeout. 6239 Lake Osprey Dr., Sarasota, 941-907-0589,

a colorful, upbeat modern cafeteria space. Select your choice of sushi rice, brown rice, noodles or mixed greens for your base, add proteins such as salmon, Krab, tuna, BBQ or baked chicken, shrimp or vegan and vegetarian options and choose to “roll it” or “bowl it”. Pacific Counter is the passion project of three long time friends who wanted to bridge the gap between the West Coast and East Coast with counter creations— they opened their first brick and mortar location in St. Petersburg, FL — the Lakewood Ranch location is their second location.11581 E State Rd 70 #109, Bradenton, 941-739-8039.

Main Street Tra oria

Find classic, Italian fine dining with an eye for artful presentation at this central hotspot. There is a bar serving Margherita Flatbread and Fried Ravioli, and casual favorites like the Meatball Sub and MST Burger. Or go full Italiano and order up the Pollo Milanese, Salmon Piccata, MST Gnocchi or Frui i Di Mare. 8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-1518, @mainstree ra oria, mstra

McGrath’s Irish Ale House

Paris Bistrot

This family-owned-and-operated bistro serves traditional French cuisine, directly from “Grandma’s recipes books.” Signature menu staples remain the authentic French Onion Soup, Nicoise Salad, Foie Gras, and a vast variety of quiches and dessert crepes, with many chocolate, fruit and ice cream accoutrements. 8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-388-0564, @parisbistrotlwr,

This neighborhood ale house offers the true taste of Ireland right here in Lakewood Ranch, where community is family. Patrons can enjoy a blend of traditional European family-inspired dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner in a contemporary atmosphere. Kick back with your loved ones for happy hour specials Monday through Friday, and let McGrath’s bring a li le piece of Ireland to you. 8110 Lakewood

Pinchers Crab Shack

Main St., Bradenton, 941-210-4398,

10707 Rodeo Dr., Lakewood Ranch, 941922-1515, @officialpinchers,

Nancy’s Bar-B-Q Lorraine Corners The hype is right. Only

Nancy prepares pork shoulder with her secret-recipe 14-ingredient dry rub, cooks it in a barbecue oven for more than 15 hours, and serves it up in a casual and friendly se ing (it’s not called Nancy’s for nothing). The only BBQ open every day, Nancy’s celebrates Free Friday Happy Hour Buffets, Family Meal Deals, and live music every Friday and Saturday night (and alternate Sundays). 14475 State Rd. 70E, Lakewood Ranch, 941999-2390.

Pacific Counter

A fresh fusion of chef-inspired cuisine and cultures, serving up a mainland mix of coastal classics in the form of sushi bowls and burritos in

Vibrant, handpainted signs and tropical parrots abound at this downto-earth seafood shack. Decide between a boatload of mussels or addictive crab-and-cheese dip with a kick to start off your meal. Load up on shrimp scampi with secret family spices or jumbo lump crab cakes, before topping your meal off with homemade Key lime pie or a dreamy chocolate cake ice cream shake.


The fast-growing Florida franchise is on a mission to bring fresh, whole foods, rooted in real ingredients. With a trendy, fast-casual approach, the modern hangout is a go-to for a healthful lunch of salads, wraps, bowls and cold-pressed juices. SoFresh is also a great option for diet-specific preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, keto, paleo and gluten-free. 11569 FL-70 #106, Bradenton, 941-769-9550, @welovesofresh, lakewood-ranch.

Speaks Clam Bar

With a secondary location on St. Armands, and having just announced

a third in central St. Petersburg, it’s no wonder this local seafood spot is award-winning. While enjoying its vibrant bar scene and assortment of sea and land dishes, you’ll feel connected to Sarasota Bay without having to make the commute. 8764 East State Rd. 70, Lakewood Ranch, 941-2327646, lakewood-ranch.

Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine

This authentic restaurant serves Sarasotans a traditional Indian dining experience in a laid-back atmosphere. Tandoor’s curry is based on an old family recipe, and they use only the finest ingredients to prepare dishes that are as healthy as they are delicious. Having catered to the community since 2001, they continue to offer dine-in lunch specials Tuesday through Sunday, 50 percent off all bo les on Tandoor Tuesday, and to-go lunch boxes. 8453 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton, 941-926-3077,

Thai Spice & Sushi

Explore the authentic tastes of Thailand for lunch and dinner at this local favorite. Prepare your taste buds to experience an infusion of Thai flavors in their house-made curries and sauces, and an ever-changing variety of daily soups. Top off your meal with a slice of coconut cake (a family recipe). 8209 Natures Way #111, Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-4747,

Truman’s Tap and Grill

Established in 2021, Truman’s serves classic American eats in an inviting, warm atmosphere with a neighborhood feel. You can enjoy sports games over drinks at the bar or a casual meal in the restaurant dining room. This sizable tavern is open daily for lunch and dinner, and hosts Trivia on Tuesdays, half off all premium bo les of wine on Wednesdays, Bingo on Thursdays, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. 11161 East State Rd. 70 #100, Lakewood Ranch, 941-755-1800,

Zenobia Mediterranean and Kebab Grill Toting an impressive

assortment of vegetarian appetizers, lunch specials and authentic dinner pla ers for the entire family, this Middle Eastern gem is guaranteed to satisfy your Mediterranean cravings with classics like falafel, baba ghanouj, house-made hummus and shawarma.

1857 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, 941-900-2722,

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Greece to India

GRILLING UP A STORM OF CULINARY DELIGHTS FOR UNIVERSITY PARK PATRONS FOR NEARLY A DECADE with its fresh Mediterranean cuisine, Apollonia Grill in the Cooper Creek area is the pride

of the Yzeiri family. “Apollonia was opened with a vision to bring authentic Greek Mediterranean food to our area. We wanted to offer high-quality recipes but in an approachable and friendly setting,” says Eddie Yzeiri, Apollonia’s manager, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. “Cooking Greek and Mediterranean food is familiar to me because it’s the food I grew up with. A lot of our recipes are family recipes or dishes that have evolved and improved over time.” Eddie Yzeiri and his family also owned El Greco Café on Main Street in downtown Sarasota before launching the Apollonia locale in The Shoppes at UTC. Running a restaurant has always been a collaborative effort.

Above: Apollonia’s manager Eddie Yzeiri; Meze platter featuring chicken skewers, gyro meat, hummus, tzatziki, spanakopita, goat cheese peppadews, beets, greek olives, aged feta and grilled pita.

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“My mother and father opened the restaurant every morning—making the soups, sauces and getting the restaurant started. When we got in there, the kitchen was ready for cooking and the dining room was ready for guests to come in,” Eddie Yzeiri says. “I worked in the kitchen and my brother worked in the dining room. Both of our wives played a key role in welcoming guests and ensuring that they had a positive experience.” Today, at Apollonia, those roles have evolved, especially since the start of the pandemic. “When restaurants shut down during COVID, it was a very scary time. Our entire family depended on the success of the restaurant; there was no other income,” Eddie Yzeiri says. “But we made it through, being there for each other and staying strong. Our team has grown but we are still involved in the day-to-day operations.” As a follow-up to the 2013 opening of the first Apollonia, the Yzeiris started a second location in The Landings in 2019. The Apollonia menu, at both locales, is rich with beloved items. “Our Lamb Shank Osso Bucco (braised leg of lamb with vegetables, herbs and red wine) is a dish that is quite labor-intensive to make and the end result is this flavorful, super tender and delicious shank that is memorable,” Eddie Yzeiri says. “The Saganaki Cheese is always a guest favorite—not only very tasty but it comes with a show by lighting it on fire in front of guests.” Lamb chops, kebabs, branzino, lobster pasta and moussaka are also among the steadfast staples. But there’s always more to come. “We’re very excited for the future. We’re planning to do a renovation in the restaurant at The Shoppes at UTC,” Eddie Yzeiri says. “Along with that, we intend on revamping our menus, and introducing some new and exciting dishes. We’re always continuing to improve.” LL

This page: Poonam Maini of Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine on Cooper Creek Boulevard, photo courtesy of James Corwin Johnson Photography.


growing up in a small village in India to pioneering the successful Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine on Cooper Creek Boulevard. Maini initially launched Tandoor on Clark Road in 2001 before relocating to The Shoppes at UTC in 2013, and the restaurant will be moving to an expanded space this fall. But doing all this—on her own—has not been an easy endeavor. “My motivation to work hard was providing a life for my children,” Maini says. Maini grew up in a village called Garhdiwala in India and entered an arranged marriage when she was in her teens (she even gave a TED talk about her experience a few years ago in New York). She came to the United States in 1989 and eventually settled in Florida, but started Tandoor after her divorce. Maini had three children to support (Milen, now 34; Shamini, now 31; and Shubi, now 24), and her daughters worked with her as servers and hosts in the flagship location. Now her son, Shubi, co-runs Tandoor with his mother. This family culinary tradition has a lengthy history. “I grew up eating the types of items I serve now at Tandoor. My dad was a very passionate cook—not a professional cook but he loved cooking,” Maini says. “I love cooking. As a young girl, when I had to pick a chore, I picked cooking. I just loved being around my dad in the kitchen.” Butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, lamb rogan josh, tandoori chicken and spicy biryani—all dishes with familial roots—are some

of Tandoor’s cherished specialties. And Maini is as involved in the restaurant industry as she is in the nonprofit sphere. She founded the Share Care Global organization in 2017—an initiative that supplies healthy food and educational opportunities to poor people in her home village in India (especially women and children). The organization also helps teach women how to become entrepreneurs. Maini hopes to one day open a hospital and orphanage in the village, too. “Every meal we sell at Tandoor, it provides a meal to someone in our food shelter; that’s about 400 meals a day,” Maini says. “Before I die, even if there are five people who say ‘Poonam helped change our lives,’ that gives me purpose. I work very hard every day because I know how many people depend on Tandoor—not just my 20 team members but also the people we help in India. That inspires me to work harder. It brings me peace and makes me happy.” LL

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