Sundays are made for casual meetups, lounging in the sun and refueling with eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary. At downtown Sarasota's Art Ovation Hotel, you can do all three, thanks to its Brunch & Brushes special.
The hotel launched the weekly event in September. Diners are invited to indulge in a huge spread of brunch food and drinks in the hotel's Overture Restaurant, and with the cost of brunch, they also gain access to the hotel's gorgeous rooftop pool.
Most Art Ovation events have an arts tie-in, too, and so does brunch. Painters work on their images in the restaurant dining room, while a pianist works the keyboard out front in the lobby. Artist Karen Chandler was working on a canvas on one recent Sunday. She was surprised when someone first suggested painting live to her. "Why would anyone want to watch someone paint?" she says with a laugh. "It's so boring!" But Chandler enjoys working in public and interacting with diners and hotel guests. "I really like it," she admits.
The food and drink spread changes each week, but you'll find a number of standbys. You can expect a prime rib carving station, biscuits, eggs Benedict, roasted potatoes, some kind of chicken and fish, plus bowls overflowing with fresh fruit and salad ingredients. The make-your-own Bloody Mary bar is equally stocked. You can select your own type of vodka and tomato juice and toss in cocktail onions, pickled okra, bacon, capers, freshly grated horseradish, Sriracha and more. To make your own mimosa, you can pick from different bubblies and fruit juices.
Brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the fun continues until 5 p.m. on the hotel's rooftop, which anyone paying for brunch can access. Even if you have a pool at home, it's an indulgent treat to float on the top floor, with sweeping views of downtown all around you and plenty of shady lounge chairs in which to while away an afternoon. It's your chance to play tourist, so live it up.
Brunch is served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Overture Restaurant inside the Art Ovation Hotel, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, and the rooftop pool can be used until 5 p.m. The experience costs $34 for adults and $15 for kids. For more info, call (941) 316-0808 or visit the hotel website.