It’s no secret that there's a lack of late-night options for snacks in Sarasota, but the Office Bar SRQ is doing its part to combat that fact with a hot-food vending machine. Bar patrons can accompany their drinks with a variety of snacks, ranging from White Castle cheeseburgers to pretzel dogs and even mojo pulled pork with rice and beans—all of it heated up and served from a machine.
It's called Smart Bistro. To use it, guests make their selections from an easy-to-use touchscreen menu with ample-sized pictures of dishes that even the most alcohol-steeped partier wouldn’t be able to miss. The machine accepts credit cards, so with a quick tap and a swipe you’ll be on your way to enjoying piping-hot treats.
“They are here pretty much every day restocking it, because we sell out,” says Office Bar co-owner Gina Pinto. "Sometimes, at 1 to 2 in the morning, there are people that get hungry. No restaurants are open and this is the perfect solution."
But is it any good? The pretzel dog may lack its distinctive crunch, but makes up for it by being filled with hot cheese. Perhaps not an ideal lunch while sober, but a pleasant surprise after a long night. The steamed buns, meanwhile, are reheated perfectly and are pillowy-soft, with a sticky gingery filling. A tempting treat any time of day.
Impatient eaters don’t have to wait long for their food to be delivered, with most options cooking in just under a minute. The convenience does come with a higher price tag, with a side of macaroni and cheese costing $5.95 and a full entrée at $12.95. However, this quick and easy option “saves a trip to 7-11 on the way home,” says Pinto.
Office Bar SRQ is located at 1989 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, and is open 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday and noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info, call (941) 955-3843 or visit the bar's website.