Michelle’s Brown Bag Café, 32 S. Osprey Ave., (941) 365-5858, michellesbrown bagcafe.com. A high-ceilinged, sunny space just off Main Street in the five-year-old Rivo Commerce Center. Light-colored wooden furniture, colorful chalkboard menus and a few picnic-inspired touches warm the building’s clean, contemporary look.
Very popular with lawyers, bankers and other suited professionals who work on Upper Main Street, plus a few laid-back retirees from nearby Laurel Park.
Between the line at the register to place your order and the time it takes to make your food, you might—might—wait 15 minutes, depending on the size of your party. If that’s not quick enough, call ahead for swift, well-packaged takeout. (There’s also free delivery to downtown locations.)
Simple but creative inventions (with locally inspired names like “Selby Gardens” and “Bradenturkey”) in sandwich or salad form, including some hearty vegetarian options. The stellar sandwiches feature Boar’s Head meats and co-star some interesting accompaniments, like homemade herbed stuffing and cranberry relish on the turkey-based “De Soto,” or the “Longboat Brie,” with ham, brie cheese, baby greens, cucumber, tomato and homemade mango chutney (both $7.95). There’s also the acclaimed “Harbor Master” lobster roll with capers and dill mayo (market price), as well as a variety of other sandwich-fillers, from chicken salad to marinated Portobello mushroom.