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What’s In Store For 2024? These Originals Have The Right Ingredients!


From restaurant expansions to revamped menus, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals are serving up plenty more in 2024. Check out what’s new and exciting at these four locales this year. 


The Breakfast Company

Restaurateur Dimitri Syros said the eatery – which currently has locations in Braden River, The Landings, and University Town Center (UTC) – might add another spot later this year. The team is exploring launching a Greek fast-casual restaurant to “pay tribute to our Greek roots from El Greco Café,” he said. For now, The Breakfast Company’s UTC location is hosting a series of special events throughout the spring, including a Yelp-members-only prefix dinner, a Greek night, a salsa night, and a reggae night. “And we’re launching a new catering company that will expand our usual breakfast/lunch/bakery fare to offer more refined options,” Syros said. “We’re also offering monthly specials that are seasonally based so, for March, we have corned beef hash, Reuben sandwiches, and Guinness pancakes.”


Michael John’s

Chef/owner Michael Auer of the French-American steakhouse in Bradenton has announced the restaurant’s fourth expansion in 17 years: The Jordan Lounge (or “The J Lounge,” as guests have come to call it). “The lounge and new entrance were created to give our guests a more comfortable space to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or a brief wait while their table is being prepared,” Auer said. “The lounge is named after a wonderful friend and mentor, Jennifer Jordan, who has been part of the management team for over 25 years.” The space features a Brazilian walnut bar that accommodates nine guests and a 15-person velvet banquette seating area with candle-lit cocktail tables. There is a nightly tapas menu (with crispy calamari and tangy pepper relish, and French Mussels Mariniere), as well as regular favorites to enjoy, such as the Filet Mignon Cheeseburger and the Filet Mignon Bacon Bleu Burger. On the beverage side are draft beers, classic cocktails, signature martinis, and a curated list of rare bourbons and tequilas.


MADE Restaurant

Chef/owner Mark Woodruff said that, ever since the Travel Channel team visited MADE five years ago, the business has never been better at the Modern American eatery in downtown Sarasota. The Food Paradise episode entitled “Cranked-Up Comfort Food” has since aired on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, too. “It just aired again two or three weeks ago, and it features our Pork on Pork on Pork Mac-n-Cheese and our Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast,” Woodruff said. “We filmed every aspect of how to create both dishes that morning with the Travel Channel, and then they filmed the entire dinner service that evening. It was an extremely busy night, it had a huge impact, and we got a huge amount of business afterward. So now they’re replaying it, and we continue to get business from it every time it airs, which is fantastic.” Additionally, MADE just dropped a new menu about two months ago for fall and winter, and Woodruff plans to change it up again for spring and summer.

                                                                          Tsunami General Manager Jason Klamson, and owners Samuel Ray and Jeffrey Karasawa

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill

Co-owner Samuel Ray launched the second location of Tsunami in Lakewood Ranch in late January as a follow-up to the downtown Sarasota locale, and he put his whole heart into the new décor. “I studied Asian culture and history, trying to create a truly authentic space. I acquired an entire shipping unit filled with locally sourced, kiln-dried lumber from my friend, arborist Jason Bennet (owner of Native Tree Service) when searching for 10-inch-by-10-inch-by-nine-inch beams to build an authentic torii gate,” he said. “I also discovered the traditional Japanese art of Kumiko, and I was able to master several patterns that symbolize protection, luck, and good health that encase the entire restaurant in positivity.” The sushi bar is made from a 150-year-old live oak tree that grew next to a classic plantation-style home in Laurel Park. In the dining room is a massive, 18-foot-in-diameter chandelier that Ray custom-built for the space. Two saltwater aquariums showcase an underwater garden of coral reefs that Ray cultivated. The lounge features blue velvet barstools and live-edge Indian rosewood shelves. Mixologist David Roth whips up Ray’s favorite cocktail at the bar: The Blushing Blowfish, inspired by Tsunami’s unofficial mascot, Puff Daddy (the porcupine pufferfish). “From origami lampshades to particularly placed pennies, Tsunami offers an original experience for the Lakewood Ranch community,” Ray said.

Don’t miss an opportunity to dine at these and our other Sarasota-Manatee Originals restaurants.  We know you will be pleased with your dining experience at one of our members’ restaurants.  As always, Eat Like A Local. 

Guest Columnist: Abby Weingarten