As rumored for months, C’est La Vie!, downtown Sarasota’s well-loved French bakery and café, is heading east, with a second location set to open soon in the Cooper Creek shopping plaza near I-75. The restaurant is taking over the former home of John Dough Bakery & Cafe, in the strip near Total Wine. Expect salads, quiches, sandwiches, omelets and, of course, plenty of bread and butter.
The new C’est La Vie! is located at 8527 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton.
Also new in the east: Jpan Sushi & Grill, which recently opened a second location in the University Town Center district near Blaze Pizza. The new restaurant isn’t a strict copy of the popular midtown Sarasota
Japanese restaurant. Owner and head chef Daniel Dokko is adding robata cuisine to the menu. The Japanese grill technique uses ultra-hot white charcoal that emits only a little smoke to quickly sear meat without overcooking it. I’ve long enjoyed Jpan’s lunchtime bento deals—I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish over coals.
The new Jpan is located at 229 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota.
Signs in the windows originally proclaimed that Lila (pronounced “lee-la”) would open on Main Street in spring 2016, an estimate that was quietly updated to summer 2016 well after the solstice had come and gone. As of press time, the restaurant, a casual vegetable-focused eatery from the team behind the Rosemary District’s excellent Pomona Bistro & Wine Bar, was still a few weeks away from an opening, with no menu yet released. If anyone can make vegetables exciting, it’s executive chef Ryan Boeve and pastry chef Arthur Lopes.
Lila is located at 1576 Main St., Sarasota.
The Baltimore Snowball Factory in downtown Sarasota has closed, but that doesn’t mean the region is entirely bereft of Charm City’s signature treat. Factory owner Eric Garfield this summer announced that he’s taking his snowballs mobile, serving cold delights from a van he takes to breweries, parks, kids’ functions and more. Never had a snowball? It’s a unique delight, blending shaved ice, flavored syrups and marshmallow. It’s part snow cone, part milkshake, all B-more.
So what’s taking over the old Snowball Factory location? Gelato. A company named Gelato-Go signed a lease for the space in late July.
Follow Baltimore Snowball Factory at facebook.com/baltimoresnowballfactort.
Just like Lila, Boca Kitchen Bar Market was scheduled to open this summer and just barely made the cut, with an opening weekend planned for September 2. The restaurant, which pledges to use local produce and goods, will offer brunch, lunch and dinner.
Boca Kitchen Bar Market is located at 19 S. Lemon Ave., Sarasota.
Longboat Key’s Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub is undergoing a facelift, with major renovations that began in early August. The eatery, part of the Chiles Restaurant Group, is getting a brand-new kitchen this fall, and construction of a new dining room will take place next May, with a mod take on Old Florida style. Don’t fret: The restaurant is staying open for lunch and dinner during the renovations.
Mar Vista is located at 760 Broadway St., Longboat Key.
Two new burger chains joined the local fray this summer: Smashburger opened along University Parkway in June, while BurgerFi debuted in August outside the University Town Center mall. BurgerFi’s claim to fame is its dedication to hormone- and antibiotic-free hamburgers, as well as its revered French fries. With excellent local options like Shakespeare’s English Pub and S’macks Burgers & Shakes still going strong, it’s worth wondering: Does Sarasota need this many burger joints? Going by the crowds and raves that greeted Smashburger and BurgerFi this summer, maybe we do.
Smashburger is located at 2805 University Parkway, Sarasota. BurgerFi is located at 257 N. Cattlemen Road, #90, Sarasota.