Lunch didn’t become a fixture of American life until the 1850s, when industrialization and urbanization began standardizing the daily schedules of workers all around the country. It was a long time coming, but we took to the concept with gusto. Before long, lunch counters and cafés sprang up on nearly every block, with a standard repertoire of sandwiches, salads and soups we’ve come to love and expect. But as times have changed, lunch has evolved far beyond soup and a turkey sandwich. We spent weeks chowing down in the middle of the day and compiling our best bets for lunch. No matter where you live and work—Anna Maria Island, downtown Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch or Bradenton—you have plenty of lunchtime restaurants to choose from. Craving Indian? A quinoa bowl? A burger? This guide will steer you to the right place, and you can either bolt in and out in a hurry or linger with a good friend. It’s lunchtime. Let’s eat.

In This Feature:

Where to Eat Lunch in Downtown Sarasota

From vibrant veggies to perfect pho, here's where to grab your midday meal downtown.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

5 Great Spots for a Midday Meal in Mid-Sarasota

From seafood to salads, there are plenty of options for a delicious and filling lunch in this neck of the woods.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Pizza, Curry, Turducken—Oh, My! Here's Where to Eat Lunch in South Sarasota

A sandwich made out of pizza dough? Delicious tacos? Sign us up.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Hungry on University Parkway? Here's Where to Fill Your Belly

Fast-casual deals abound, from 99-cent raw oysters to mix-and-match grain bowls.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Where to Eat Lunch in Manatee County

World-class barbecue, seafood and more await in Sarasota's neighbor to the north.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

8 Killer Sandwiches

We scoured the region for the tastiest of this lunchtime favorite.

10/25/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

A Day in the Life of a Jimmy John's Delivery Driver

Intrepid food reporter Cooper Levey-Baker finds out what it's really like delivering all those sandwiches.

10/26/2018 By Cooper Levey-Baker

The Real History of the Cuban Sandwich

Spoiler alert: It doesn't come from Cuba.

10/26/2018 By Scott Mahler

Sad Desk Lunch, Be Gone!

Take your midday meal from bad to rad with these simple upgrades.

10/26/2018 By Megan McDonald