The logo for the restaurant Meliora, which is scheduled to open in Sarasota in roughly a month, is a flower with eight petals. The petals represent chef Drew Adams and his wife, Lisa; his business partner Bruce Pike and his wife, Shelby; and the two couples' four children.
"We're all in it together," says Adams.
Adams, who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, made a name for himself working in a number of kitchens in Washington, D.C., including Michelin-starred places like Plume, Rose's Luxury and The Dabney. Pike, meanwhile, ran Pike Productions, an event production company in D.C. that worked with places like the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.
Last year, Adams tried to open a restaurant in D.C., but the Covid-19 pandemic squashed those plans, and an attempt to purchase a cheese shop in Pennsylvania also fell through. Adams and his family vacationed in Sarasota in June 2020, and fell in love with the area. Speaking with Pike a couple weeks later, he pitched him on the idea of moving to Sarasota together and opening a restaurant, and Pike said yes.
"We wanted something different," says Adams. "We wanted a new challenge."
Meliora will be located in the former home of Blasé Southern Style, which closed in June. Adams describes the food as "new American," with a menu that will include "some pasta dishes, a lot of seafood and a lot of pork."
The dishes will mostly be small plates, with a handful of bar snacks and entrées, too. A sample menu includes dishes like cobia with fermented hot sauce and herbs; triggerfish with a fish sauce caramel, squid ink, butter lettuce and Meyer lemons; sweetbreads with mushrooms and Marsala; and a carbonara pasta made with bucatini, guanciale, Champagne and a duck egg.
The restaurant will serve beer, wine and cocktails, and will offer both traditional service, as well as seating at a chef's table that will allow a view into the kitchen and interaction with the staff. According to Adams, the name Meliora means "being better, wanting to do better and always moving in a forward direction."
"We want to be a part of the community," says Adams. "We just want to come down and do something fun and cool."
Meliora will be located at 1920 Hillview St., Sarasota, and will be open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.