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Arts and Culture Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010 4 years ago

Weekly Dish

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by: Stephanie Hannum Diversions Managing Editor

Lucky No. 5: Gecko’s Grill and Pub is scheduled to open its fifth location by the end of the month in the space that housed Big Sugar (1900 Hillview St.), which is one of the oldest buildings in Sarasota. Mike Quillen, Gecko’s co-owner (with Mike Gowan and Brian Jantzen), says, “We felt the Hillview Street location was a natural fit for Gecko’s Grill and Pub because we bill ourselves as a neighborhood grill and sports connection with casual dining, great service and a diverse menu and the Southside neighborhood is a premier, central location in Sarasota.”

On another front, Quillen, Gowan and Cary Spicuzza (of Hob Nob fame) gave The Rusty Hook Tavern (3824 Tuttle Ave. S., 924-5103) a complete renovation in classic Florida style and is offering Sarasota a new nightlife spot.

Worth the wait: Pei Wei (8511 Copper Creek Blvd., 359-8570), the restaurant based on parent company P.F. Chang’s, wasn’t quite prepared for the rush of fans it would garner when it opened in Sarasota six months ago. Pei Wei’s routine requires patrons to stand in line and wait to order until a table opens up, because the food is that fast. The recommended best time to go (especially on weekends) would be before 6 p.m. or after 8 p.m. (Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday). Be patient, because the food is worth the wait. Follow @PeiWei on Twitter for contests and coupons.

Dish of the Week

… goes to Owen’s Fish Camp’s (516 Burns Court) fried softshell crab BLT sandwich with basil mayo ($12). This month-old restaurant has been the talk of the town since its opening, and the talk this week surrounded this sandwich. “The sandwich is fried perfectly crisp, but when you bite into the sandwich, it bursts with juicy flavor of sweet softshell crab,” says fan Judi Gallagher. “A mound of bacon atop doesn’t hurt, either.”

The Observer is looking for your favorite restaurants, your beloved entrees and favorite mouth-watering desserts. Send your suggestions and restaurant tidbits to shannum@yourobserver.com.

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