Comings and Goings

By staff May 12, 2008


Adios, El Habanero; ciao, Galileo's.

By Judi Gallagher


Restaurants and food-related businesses just keep going…and going these days. As you may have heard by now, El Habanero closed its doors last weekend after the rise in food costs and insurance took the last of the profit margin for these hardworking folks. Expect more of these in the coming months as food costs continue to soar; however some businesses are doomed from the start because of poor food consistency and irregular service.


The closing of Petrella Brothers, for example, was not a surprise, as they seemed to struggle with putting out a good product from the beginning. It reminded me of the downfall of Anti Pastas on Cattleman a few years back; if you spend all your energy on the décor and marble tiles and forget about the basics of the restaurant business—good food and friendly, organized service—no masterpiece on the wall can keep you going and build a loyal following.


Good news, though: A sign on the former Uva Rara restaurant over by Burns Court reads that Galileo is coming soon. Galileo’s was a favorite spot for years over at the boatyard on Stickney Point Road. Chef Tom Harvey is bringing his New World Italian cuisine closer to downtown diners, and I have no doubt this will be a home run. Please, Tom, make sure you put the Gorgonzola-crusted hanger steak and veal Parmesan on the new menu—we can’t live without them! Stay tuned for an opening date and the possibility of the original Galileo staying open on Stickney Point as well.


More good news if you are looking for an amazing array of fresh dried herbs, teas and spices. Spice Girls opened in the Chili’s shopping plaza where Flanagan’s wines used to be (the wine shop moved over to a space with C’est Cheese across the Trail). While I didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy some fresh-steeped green tea, I did scan the shelves and promised myself a longer visit soon. Spice Girls (4141 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231)

Assorted spices and customization options at the new Spice Girls shop.

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