Hanna Schneider and Rochelle Seldin

The Fresh Start Café, one from an abundant crop of new Sarasota restaurants, recently opened in the Burns Court area. Founded by business and life partners Rochelle Seldin and Hanna Schneider, the restaurant represents a new beginning for each. Rochelle, a singer, entrepreneur and entertainer, longed for another opportunity “to do her own thing” and work for herself—to make a new beginning. Hanna, after taking a hiatus from the food service business to focus on the couple’s young family, wanted to put her culinary skills back to work. The seeds for the Fresh Start Café were germinated.

With an emphasis on fresh, the menu is well-balanced, offering familiar and unique breakfast and lunch fare (eggs, frittatas, baked goods, soup, salads and sandwiches), all with a Fresh Start Café signature touch. For our meals we had the following:

    • Pumpkin Muffin: Fresh-baked and covered in powdered sugar.  $2.50
      Very fresh, subtle flavor; great with morning coffee.
    • Apple Muffin: Fresh-baked, with chunks of apple.  $2.50
      Very light and flavorful, sweet but not overdone; another great accompaniment to coffee.
    • Burekas: Flaky puff pastry filled with salted cheese. A popular Israeli way to eat burekas is by adding slices of hardboiled egg, tomatoes and black pepper.  Cheese: $3.50; add $1.00 for the “Israeli Way”
      Very interesting pastry; a non-sweet baked good alternative, simple yet flavorful.
    • Poached Eggs over Spinach: Topped with hollandaise sauce, served on rye toast with a side of chopped salad or fresh fruit.  $7.25
      A very nice presentation: eggs perfectly poached, colorful, flavorful, and the toast was great.

      La Greca Fiittata

    • La Greca Frittata: Three eggs, spinach and feta baked (not fried) to order in a deep skillet, served with toast, strawberry butter and a choice of chopped salad or fresh fruit.  $8.25
      A very filling, flavorful alternative to the omelet; nice presentation, delicious.
    • Going Green Frittata: Three eggs, zucchini, broccoli and chives, baked (not fried) to order in a deep skillet, served with toast, strawberry butter and a choice of chopped salad or fresh fruit.  $8.25
      Fresh and full of subtle flavors and texture; nice presentation.
    • Tuna Salad Sandwich: Choice of Italian ciabatta, black Russian rye, wheat grain or white bread, served with lettuce, tomato and onion.  $6.25
      A well-prepared and presented sandwich served with a side of couscous.
    • Thanksgiving Day:  Your choice of bread with turkey, cheddar, cranberries, and horseradish mayo.  $8.75
      Very flavorful and filling, served with a side of pasta salad; simply delicious.

      Tuna on Black Rye

      The Fresh Start Café offers a limited selection of beer and wine to accompany your meal, while offering a good selection of coffee, tea and soft drinks. The wait staff is very friendly, accommodating, fast and efficient.

      Perhaps the Fresh Start Café is an insider’s place, mostly discovered by locals in the Burns Square and Palm Avenue areas. However, the word is getting out about the quality of the food, and the Fresh Start  is becoming a very busy spot for breakfast, lunch or just for coffee—another welcome addition to the Historic Burns Court neighborhood.

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SRQ Reviews Network - Dining Guide

Everyone needs a “go to” casual dining spot. You know, the place that is dependable in every way; fast, convenient, varied menu options, quality food, great service, and reasonable prices. Panini Press, located on the corner of Ringling Blvd. and South Pineapple Ave., is quickly becoming a “go to” spot for this Sarasota diner. Sarasota's Panini Press restaurant

We visited the Panini Press a number of times often stopping in for a Panini, salad, or one of their special lattes, and were always pleased with our experience.  Now expanding their hours to include dinner (Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm; Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 10:00am-10pm) the Panini Press keeps getting better.

Offering an assortment of salads, Panini, deserts, soft drinks, speciality coffee, beer and wine, the choices are varied but not overwhelming. This is the perfect place to dine when you are looking for quality food, want to dine out, but do not want the formality of a multi-course meal. With its proximity to historic Burns Square and the Burns Court Cinemas, Panini Press is a great choice for a meal, speciality coffee, or desert before or after shopping, a gallery stroll, or movie. 

Healthy dining in Sarasota

With an emphasis on quality ingredients, homemade multi-generational recipes, casual relaxed dining, and now expanded hours which can accomodate evening activities, it is easy to see how the Panini Press has become on of our “Friday Faves.”

I have just added Panini Press to my “go to” list. Perhaps you should give it a try? It just might be a new addition to yours!

SRQ Reviews, the restaurant guide you need to find the best dining and new restaurants in Sarasota, Florida.

SRQ Reviews Network

Galileo Ristorante by SRQreviews.com

Galileo Ristorante by SRQreviews.com

In our “Must Try Monday” column, we try to highlight a particular recipe,  a signature dish served by a Sarasota area restaurant, or a specific venue worthy of your time or attention.

This week the spotlight is on Galileo Ristorante the charming Italian restaurant located in Burns Court, serving some of the finest Italian fare in Sarasota for over 8 years.

Specifically we highlight chef/owner Thomas Harvey’s Pesce San Pietro in Cartoccino. Let’s dissect the dish. Pesce San Pietro = John Dory fish; in Cartoccino= in parchment paper.  Comprising sweet and mild fillet of John Dory roasted in parchment with gulf shrimp, fresh baby spinach, shaved fennel, navel oranges, and Sambuca, this dish provides a multi-sensory stimulation. Simply put, it smells great, looks great and tastes great!

Uniquely presented, with a melange of flavors, colors, and textures, Pesce San Pietro in Cartoccino is our “Monday Must Try.”