Mike Martin says the idea behind Reef Cakes, his new restaurant, is to offer a healthful upgrade to traditional crab cakes, with cakes made out of snapper, grouper and shrimp that are baked and seared and then served as part of a flavorful bowl or sandwich. The fast-casual restaurant, which is slated to open in Southside Village on Monday, March 1, is "100 percent customizable," says Martin, with flavors that borrow from all over the world.
The so-called "reef cake" options include an Asian-flavored salmon cake, a grouper cake with Jamaican jerk seasoning, a New England-style lobster cake, a Cajun-flavored snapper and shrimp cake, and a Maryland-style crab cake. You can also pick from a selection of basic fish filets or a chicken, turkey, beef or veggie burger. Then select a "bed" (a salad green or a bun) and add in whatever flavorings and extras you like.
Stumped by the big list of options? Reef Cakes smartly offers a handy list of suggested combos. In addition to the cakes, the restaurant will serve a number of appetizers and side dishes, like baked "adult" fish sticks, a seafood-focused "charcuterie" board, roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts and more. The most expensive thing on the menu is just $20, and the restaurant pledges that 1 percent of all purchases will be donated to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. The eatery will offer indoor dining, as well as takeout and online ordering.
Reef Cakes has no deep fryer or microwaves, part of Martin's pledge to offer fresh, light food. "What I wanted to do was offer the community a healthy lunch alternative," says Martin.
Reef Cakes will be located at 1812 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, and will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more info, call (941) 444-7968 or visit the restaurant's website.