Eat Like a Local Kicks Off- at Element

The third annual two-week restaurant promotion goes from Oct. 1 to 14

SARASOTA — Nearly 50 restaurants from the tip of Anna Maria Island down to Venice are offering price-fixed menu options for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next two weeks.

The third annual “Eat Like a Local Restaurant Week” is an extended event promoted by Sarasota-Manatee Originals, a group of locally owned restaurants with a passion for dining. Participating restaurants and menu options are being updated at eatlikealocal.com daily.

Element: Modern Mediterranean Grill, offering nostalgic European seafood and beef options, is using the two-week series to introduce regular Sarasotans to fine dining in a modern setting. Their menu includes tasty, three-course dinner options that are easy on the eyes and stomach and a wide selection of wines.

“For the last five years, I think Sarasota has made a giant boom in the restaurant facet of where we need to be and where we want to grow,” said Brian Smith, beverage director and operations manager at Element. “To offer good high-end meals in a nice atmosphere and an enjoyable evening versus just your run of the mill turn-and-burn places.”

Element is an upscale restaurant at 1413 Main Street, near the roundabout at Main and Central Avenue, inspired by Chef Nils Tarantik’s childhood in Europe. The three-course dinner menu is set at $49.

Modest September business has given the Mediterranean Grill and its peppy PBnT (Pizza, Burgers and Tacos) joint next door time to show their face before seasonal visitors arrive this winter.

“The one thing we want to provide is what people have been asking for — to go somewhere to enjoy themselves,” Smith said. “A place where you can actually have a date. This is a great first date place, an anniversary place.”

Smith acknowledges his first experience at Element was on a Valentine’s Day date with his girlfriend. They later both returned as employees.

Other Eat Like a Local partners will offer “Dine to the Nines” lunch and dinner prices of $9, $19, $29, $39, and $49 depending on the restaurant. Local favorites returning this year include Bijou Café, Mattison’s and Pier 22.

The options have something for everyone.

“Sarasota is becoming a much more youthful town, Smith said. “We are beginning to embrace that younger culture.”

Abby Hincker