A Venice Foodies Event at Cucina Gloria

One of the best parts about running this blog is being able to put together events for new restaurants in our area. In the location formerly known as Joseph’s Diner and the previous owners from the much loved Caffe Panini on Venice Island, Cucina Gloria in Nokomis, FL is a cozy new Italian restaurant serving up Italian comfort foods and a more traditional Italian pizza. It was so wonderful to coordinate this event for the Foodies to enjoy! If you’re looking for pizza in Nokomis, FL, this is definitely a spot to try.

Our Foodies Event at Cucina Gloria

Warm Bread, Margherita Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza at the Venice Foodies Event at Cucina Gloria in Nokomis, FL

This event at Cucina Gloria took place at the end of February when the tourist season is nearing its peak. However, you would never know that by the smiling faces of the entire staff. We were greeted with warm hellos into a dining room that embodied the comfort of an Italian grandmother’s house. Beautiful wooden chairs with plush seats make sitting around the table with your family comfortable and relaxing.

Making New Friends at our Foodies Event

While Cucina Gloria has an incredible variety of Italian dishes on the menu, we decided to focus on their pizza menu for this event. For our group members, they received 10% off of their pizzas! (If you haven’t joined our group yet, head over to Facebook and join the Venice Foodies Community) It was amazing to see everyone in person instead of just on a computer screen. There were people who had never been to an event and were first time guests at Cucina Gloria there, which is always exciting!

Attendees at our Venice Foodies Event at Cucina Gloria in Nokomis FL

Looking for Pizza in Nokomis?

When Caffe Panini was still on the island, I loved their various paninis, but I was also a fan of theirs because everything from the bread and mozzarella to the sweet balsamic dressing is made fresh in-house daily. This is not your average NY style pizza. This is the classy, more traditional Italian version of pizza! The crust has a nice crisp on the outside while being soft and pillowy as you chew. The sauce doesn’t come as close to the edge and the fresh mozzarella that is made in house just can’t be beat. The menu for this evening featured pizzas like my favorite, the “Margarita” consisting of simple tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

This evening, I had my daughter, Elena and her best friend Calli with us, who both preferred pepperoni. Even though it wasn’t on our special menu, it is available as a topping!

Pizzas on my list to try:

  • Rustica – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian sausage and mushroom
  • Prosciutto – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes & shaved Parmigiano
  • Quattro Formaggi – Provolone, Parmigiano, mozzarella & gorganzola cheese
  • Siciliana – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, grilled eggplant & fresh basil

Other Notable Dishes:

As a Jersey girl myself, the real star is the homemade bread! If you are from the NY/NJ area, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say it’s so hard to find a loaf of good bread in Florida! Well, look no further. The homemade bread coming out of Cucina Gloria is just what I’ve been missing. When the basket hits your table, it’s still piping hot and worth burning your fingertips to get that first bite!

A basket of fresh, hot bread made at Cucina Gloria in Nokomis FL

Finally… Tiramisu!

Elena’s birthday is February 13th, so this event coordinated very well with celebrating! We received a beautifully presented Tiramisu that tasted even better than it looked! Each layer clearly defined, rich in coffee flavor without being overwhelming and a nice whipped cream on top… It was the perfect ending to our perfect evening.

Tiramisu at Cucina Gloria in Nokomis FL

Where can I find live music in Nokomis?

As luck would have it, just as we were finishing up, the live music started. To my delight, it was locally popular Joey O! I often enjoy hearing him play at the Venice Farmer’s Market. I’m not much of a videographer, but I did record a little snippet for you to hear that I posted below! Cucina Gloria has live entertainment Thursday through Sunday and karaoke on Mondays in their beer and wine lounge. They also offer a happy hour daily. Be sure to follow their Facebook page for specials and updates!

Where is Cucina Gloria?

Cucina Gloria is located at 625 N Tamiami Trail suite D, Nokomis, FL 34275. They offer dine-in, take-out and delivery in Nokomis, FL! You can call (941) 480-0095 for more information or to place your order!

We love doing these events!

We have had events at Blu Island Bistro, Tikka Indian Cuisine, Off The Wagon and many others. If you own a restaurant and would like to set up an event, click here!

Norma Jeans Steak House Grill Room – Venice, FL

We had a phenomenal experience tonight at the Norma Jeans Steak House Grill Room! I never expected to find something so upscale in a tiny strip mall. The interior is warm and welcoming, with the soft sounds of Sinatra in the background. Who knew something like this would be hidden behind a sports bar!

Our Night at Norma Jean’s Steak House Grill Room

Let me start by saying that our server, Alberto, was superb. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable about the menu, he recommended a few dishes and let us know about slight changes that may have affected our selections. He was friendly and provided some of the best service we’ve had in Venice.

Fresh Bread and Lobster Bisque

Alberto brought over a wooden cutting board with a fresh, hot loaf of bread served with an herb butter. The bread had a great crust and the butter had a delightful freshness from the herbs. It made a nice pairing for our first course, which was a crock of the lobster bisque. We were in awe of the considerably large chunks of lobster that contributed beautifully to the rich flavor in every bite.

For our entrees, I had the 8 oz sirloin, cooked medium-well, with asparagus and creamed spinach. Juicy and seasoned well, the steak was cooked just to my liking with perfect grill marks. The creamed spinach was made with fresh spinach, cooked down in a flavorful cream sauce that I would happily order again. As you may have guessed, I loved every part of my meal.​

Jason ordered the 14 oz boneless ribeye steak, ordered medium, and cooked just as he likes it, with the same great flavor and perfect grill marks. He agrees with my assessment of the creamed spinach.

His other side was originally macaroni and cheese, however, we both found it to have a strange sour note which Alberto said may have been the result of a new recipe from the new chef.

​He graciously traded it for a sweet potato with brown sugar and butter, which hubby liked much better.​

Little princess went for chicken tenders and rice… and as any child would, she loved it.

​As a mother, I have to make the point to say that I really appreciate how kid friendly they are! It was so nice to feel like I could have a really nice, quality dinner with my husband and know that there was something on the menu that our little girl would enjoy too!

As a treat, he sent us home with some delicious lemon Italian cream cake… which we all took a bite of when we returned home. Light, fluffy, with a sweet cream filling and subtle lemon flavor that (almost) overwhelmed my willpower against sweets. (Thank goodness for husbands that will take care of the temptations by finishing off the treats!)

All in all, we will definitely be adding this to our list of places to return to.
​We highly recommend you all give it a try before season starts!

A Day At The Venice Farmer’s Market

It has been a while since my schedule allowed me the opportunity to visit the Venice Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday, this awesome market sets up in the parking lot in front of City Hall in Venice. There are so many vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to gift items, fresh jellies, flowers, baked goods and more. Keep reading to discover some of the awesome vendors I found during my outing!

The Venice Farmer’s Market

The Venice Farmer's Market selling fresh produce

The Venice Farmer’s Market is located in the City Hall parking lot at 401 W. Venice Avenue in Venice, FL. From October to March, this market is open from 8 am to 1 pm, the rest of the year the market closes at 12 pm. As I mentioned above, there is so much to do and see, you simply have to experience it for yourself.

If you or someone you know receives EBT benefits, otherwise known as SNAP or Food Stamps, this market is a real treat. Thanks to a grant through the state of Florida, every $1 spent at the market counts for double up to $40. Meaning if you spend $40, you would receive $40 in red chips to spend anywhere they are accepted in the market. Then you would also receive another $40 in green chips to be spent on Florida grown products. It’s an amazing program to help struggling families eat healthier!

Just wait until you see all the goodies at the market though! I’ll start with one of my favorites…

Stamper Cheese

Stamper Cheese in Venice Fl

My first stop at the Farmer’s Market was Stamper Cheese. A sweet woman named Mindy called me over to sample a small piece of raspberry bellavitano, which had a subtle sweetness that I think would pair deliciously with a glass of wine. She was a wealth of knowledge and seemed to genuinely love talking with people and sharing the taste of various cheeses.

​She continued to tempt me with various samples: an aged manchego, a dry sheep’s milk cheese with an almost caramel, nutty flavor like a brown butter; From dill cheese curds to applewood smoked gouda, there wasn’t anything on that table that I didn’t like. I could have spent the afternoon just at this booth alone and been completely satisfied. My favorite though? The pistachio roll. A creamy cheddar and blue cheese rolled in crushed pistachios. Stop by and grab a sample, you’ll be glad you did!

Leah’s Lemonade

The Florida sunshine can be rough when you have been walking the Venice Farmer’s Market all afternoon, especially for me. After several years of having limited mobility because of my health, the fact that I can spend the afternoon walking up and down the street at the market is a HUGE win for me! So, my reward after my successful day of activity is a delicious, ice-cold glass of Leah’s Lemonade.

The best part about this lemonade stand is that they have the option to have it sweetened with Stevia! As a diabetic, I can appreciate that they have sugar alternatives. I also love that it is fresh-squeezed lemonade infused with bright fruity flavors like strawberry, mango or peach. You could even add a zing with ginger or basil! I have a love of ginger, making my choice clear.  A small ginger lemonade sweetened with Stevia! 

Thirsty yet? It’s amazing!

Chef Chasky and his Gourmet Products

Chef Chasky in Venice Florida

I can always count on Chef Chasky and his wife to be serving up something delicious for lunch using his specialty seasonings that he infuses with essential oils for healthier meals. Today was no exception, he was making a delicious risotto which I happily sampled as I looked through his other offerings.

I made sure to pick up a grinder of Sea Salt infused with CBD oil… My husband is a huge supporter of CBD and the healing properties it can have on the body. We are big believers in our house!

Let me take a moment to address the topic of Cannabidiol Oil or CBD oil. It can be a controversial topic because of the confusion that surrounds what it is and what effects it has on the body. Marijuana has both THC and CBD, but when the psycho-active portion, THC is removed, the CBD is left behind. The medicinal benefits that marijuana promotes are still there in the CBD without the mind-altering drawbacks from the THC.

How’s that for a little education? Chef Craig Chasky is all about educating the public about the benefits of Infused Cuisine, and not just with CBD. He uses pure therapeutic grade essential oils in his cooking!

Definitely stop by his booth and check out all the seasonings and sauces he has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Busy on Saturdays? Here are the other Farmer’s Markets near Venice!

  • Braves Farmer’s Market
    • CoolToday Park
      18800 South West Villages Parkway
      Venice, FL
      Wednesdays from 8 am – 12 pm
  • Dearborn Street Market
    • 348 W Dearborn St
      Englewood, FL
      Tuesdays from October-May 9 AM – 2 PM
  • SWFL Produce Co-Op
    • This is a special pop-up event on Sundays. Pre-orders are necessary, but worth it! SWFL Produce is a co-op farm out of Punta Gorda and they work with other local farms to bring the freshest produce and products into their customer’s hands. Join our group to learn more. Venice Foodies and SWFL Produce
  • White Picket Produce
    • Have your produce delivered right to your door or your office! Read more here.

Private Dinner at Blu Island Bistro – Venice Foodies Event

There is nothing that I love more than getting together with friends and enjoying a great meal. It’s even better when it’s an amazing restaurant like Blu Island Bistro. I wanted to have an event for our Venice Foodies to be able to get together and make some new friends while enjoying some of the best dishes that Venice has to offer. I was so grateful to Kim for reaching out and offering to not just host an event for the Venice Foodies, but to have an exclusive DINNER event! 

Private Dinner at Blu Island Bistro

Private Event in Venice FL

Blu Island Bistro is typically only open for breakfast and lunch, although in the past they were almost infamous for their dinners. Now, dinner entrees are reserved for special events and catering. If you are looking for catering in Venice, this is definitely a spot to consider.

The Main Event

The menu for this event was absolutely delicious. Chef Alan is a culinary mastermind and the dishes he put together were a great representation of his best flavors. This event was set up with fantastic live chef stations, which kept the buffet line moving in a fun way. It also brought in another local chef and a friend of Chef Alan’s, Chef Tony from Suncoast Cafe!

Chef Tony at Suncoast Cafe helping out for catering in Venice FL

We are big fans of Chef Tony as well, Suncoast Cafe in Venice is one of our favorite breakfast spots!

Blu Salad

To start our meal off, the salad offered was their signature “Blu Salad”. This is on their regular menu at lunchtime, and happens to be one of my favorite dishes on their menu. Naturally, it was the first dish I grabbed. It starts with fresh greens, juicy berries, craisins, pecans and finishes with a sweet strawberry balsamic dressing. The balance of flavors with the sweetness and freshness of the produce is the perfect recipe for a healthy indulgence. If you are dining in there during the week, I recommend adding on a piece of grilled chicken breast to add a delicious protein boost.

The Reuben Bar

Chef Chad was a delight as he prepared the mini Reuben sandwiches at his live chef station. I often end up with a soggy sandwich when they are prepared for an event in advance, so I appreciated that each sandwich was assembled as guests were moving through the line.

The rye bread was grilled to golden crispy perfection with just the right balance of saurkraut to corned beef ratio. The Russian dressing gave it the sauce factor that I was craving without causing the bread to soften or to just be a source of dripping mess. This wasn’t the only sandwich to tempt us however, the Reuben was only the beginning.

The Whiskey BLT Bar

The whiskey bacon is a dish typically served on their weekly menu. Thick slabs of pork belly fried up to have crispy edges and then drenched in a sweet whiskey infused glaze. It is my husband’s absolute favorite dish on the menu. For this event, they took it to a whole different level by turning it into a BLT slider. Grilled brioche buns with thick slabs of juicy tomatoes and a crisp hunk of iceberg lettuce paired well with the crunch and sweetness of the bacon. Chef Miranda expertly built sandwiches just like the Reuben bar so that everyone received a perfect slider.

Shooters, Scallops and Tacos

The next few stations were small bites, but still packed with flavor. The shooter and scallop station had so much flavor packed into such tiny bites. A plastic shot glass filled with fresh shrimp in a perfect gazpacho-tequila combination… and then a little spoon with a cucumber and dill salsa topped with a blackened scallop… YUM!

Everyone loves a good taco station and this was no exception. Fresh mahi-mahi and my favorite grilled chicken with cilantro-lime slaw and pico de gallo… I opted to have it without the soft tortilla shell, and still it had an abundance of flavor. 

Lollipop Lamb Chop Station

The final entree on the menu, Lamb chops. Tender, New Zealand lamb chops expertly cut into lollipop style portions and cooked to tender perfection with a savory feta-herb crust, it was easily a main dish worth waiting for. My husband, Jason, happens to love lamb. Unfortunately, it’s not something I serve often at home so he ended up going back at least twice for more!

Banana Foster and Ice Cream Station

No meal is complete without a sweet bite and this evening was no different! The flames were rising at the Bananas Foster station as Chef James from Sysco helped out to serve caramelized bananas served hot over a scoop of simply delicious vanilla ice cream.

Need Catering in Venice?

As you can see from how incredible our event went, Blu Island Bistro is an incredible choice when you need catering in Venice. They offer dinner events but also catered dishes for other locations! In fact, during Thanksgiving, they are very popular for their full dinners!

Contact Blu Island Bistro for all of your catering needs, or stop by for a delicious meal anytime!

Blu Island Bistro is located at 625 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285


Phone: (941) 485-8200

Thanks to Ms. Tula Watt, for sharing these incredible photos from the event!

A Guide to Christmas in Venice Florida

It’s the most magical time of the year! Christmas in Venice, Florida is a beautiful time to drive down historic Venice Avenue as the palm trees sparkle with Christmas lights, local shops are bustling with people looking for unique gifts for their loved ones and restaurants are filled with families enjoying their time together.

Christmas in Venice FL

Are you celebrating Christmas in Venice Florida?

Then you are in for a wonderful holiday season. Christmas in Venice is a magical time of twinkling lights, delicious meals and fun experiences all around town. From tree lighting ceremonies to parades and festivals, there’s fun for the whole family.

What Restaurants are Open for Christmas in Venice, FL?

I am still confirming the restaurants that will be open and offering catering for Christmas this year. Keep watching this page for updates!!

Chaz 51 Bistro

103 Triple Diamond Blvd, Ste 2
Nokomis, Florida 34275
(941) 484-6200

Chaz 51 will be open from 11 AM – 8 PM on Christmas Day. You can make a reservation by calling in or online through their website.

Chaz 51 Bistro Christmas Day Menu 2019

Côté France French Bistro

218 Tampa Ave W,
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 220-7189

Cote France French Bistro will be open for Christmas Eve from 5 pm to 9 pm. Limited tables are available, reserve your place now! Every guest will receive a complimentary glass of champagne with their meal. You can make your reservations by phone or through this link to Google Reservations.

Read about our visit to Cote France!

The Soda Fountain of Venice

349 W Venice Ave.
Venice, FL 34285

Their holiday hours are: Christmas Eve  11:00 am to 4:00 pm;  Closed Christmas Day;   New Year’s Day 11:00 am to 4:00 pm;  Closed New Year’s Day.

The Soda Fountain of Venice menu
The Soda Fountain of Venice menu

Off The Wagon Brewery & Kitchen

2107 Tamiami Trl S
Venice, Florida 34293
(941) 497-2048

Off The Wagon will be open Christmas Eve for their regular hours with the regular menu. Tuesday at OTW is Taco & Tequila Day as well as Service Industry night from 8 pm – 12 AM. Live music featuring Jeff Hughes will be from 6 pm – 9 pm. There is also Happy Hour from 3 pm – 7 pm.

Off The Wagon in Venice FL
Off The Wagon in Venice FL

Rosebud’s Steak & Seafood House

2215 S Tamiami Trl
Osprey, Florida 34229
(941) 918-8771

Rosebud's Steak & Seafood House Christmas in Venice FL

Tikka Indian Cuisine

525A U.S. 41 Bypass N,
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 303-5073

Tikka Indian Cuisine will be open regular hours on Christmas Eve with their regular menu.

Burgundy Square Cafe

227 Miami Ave W,
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 451-8261

Burgundy Square Cafe will be open for regular hours on Christmas Eve and for breakfast until noon on Christmas Day.

British Open Pub

367 Jacaranda Blvd,
Venice, Florida 34292
(941) 492-9227

British Open Pub will be open on Christmas Eve with their regular menu until 8 PM.

Read my review from our visit to British Open Pub!

Bodrum Restaurant

225 Miami  Ave W Ste 5
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 412-0090

Bodrum will be open from 11:30 AM – 9 PM on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Reservations are recommended by not required. They will be serving their regular menu of Mediterranean cuisine.

What Restaurants are Offering Catering or Platters for Christmas?

Papa’s Meat Market & Prepared Foods

324 Tamiami Trail S
Venice, FL 34285

Orders must be placed by December 18th for pick up on either the 23rd or 24th.

Yummies Donuts & BBQ

2001 Tamiami Trl S
Venice, Florida 34293
(941) 493-7170

This year Yummies Donuts & BBQ will be offering sandwich platters that include your choice of pulled pork, brisket, ham, turkey and chicken salad, a variety of cookies, donuts, pastries and breakfast sandwich platters. Call Yummies to order yours today!

Zia’s Neapolitan Chocolates & Cookies

530 U.S. 41 Bypass S Suite 11A
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 451-6632

Orders can be placed until Tuesday, December 17th. Those orders can be picked up either Saturday the 21st or Monday the 23rd at their location in Venice.

  • Cookie Tray – $25.00
    •   Ricotta Cookies
    • Orange Cookies
    • Macaroons
    • Zia’s Italian stuffed Cookie
  • Breakfast Tray – $28.00
    • 2 Apple, 2 Cherry & 2 Blueberry Strudels
    • 2 Crumb Cakes
    • 2 Cinnamon Buns
  • Cannolis’, Cookies & Chocolates – $45.00
    • Everything in the Cookie Tray plus…
    • Cannolis’
    • Apricot Pinchers
    • Buttercream Truffles
    • Salted Caramel Pretzels

Christmas Gift Ideas from Venice

Sunkis’d Creations

Looking for a custom shirt or gift for the holidays? Check out Sunkis’d Creations!
Here’s the Link to their Facebook Page –> https://www.facebook.com/SunkisdCreations/

Custom Tshirts for Christmas in Venice FL

Nokomis Groves

111 Albee Farm Rd S
Nokomis, Florida 34275
(941) 488-5274

Image may contain: fruit

Send a little sunshine to your family and friends around the country. Choose from a beautiful “wreath” filled with Florida Citrus or choose from a number of boxes filled with citrus starting at $29.99. Shop now at nokomisgroves.com

What Events Are Happening in Venice for Christmas?

Food Truck Rally in Nokomis

December 6th
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. North Jetty Park,

1000 S. Casey Key Road, Nokomis, FL.

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources will be hosting another food truck rally at North Jetty Park! This popular event has several food truck vendors, fun yard games and music.

Food Trucks participating include:

  • Smokin Momma Lora’s BBQ Mobile
  • Sausage Express LLC
  • Pickled Pink
  • Double W Ribeye Wagon
  • K-Nam Style
  • Above the Grain
  • Ceyer’s Taqueria
  • Ustabeez Mac n stuff
  • The Grilling Shack
  • Puerto Rican Spice
  • Nana Nif’s Home Cooking

Christmas Gazebo Starlight Cinema feature film. 

December 6th
5:20 p.m. – 8:20 p.m
Centennial Park Gazebo, downtown Venice, FL

This is a free event for the whole family to enjoy. The movie is Home Alone, and just in time for the Holidays. You are welcomed and encouraged to bring your chairs and blankets to sit under the stars and enjoy the movie in Historic Downtown Venice.

North Port Tree Lighting, Poinsettia Festival and Parade

December 7th
4 p.m. – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
North Port City Hall Campus,
4970 City Hall Blvd, North Port.

It’s the North Port Tree Lighting, Poinsettia Festival and Parade. The annual Poinsettia Parade kicks off at 5 p.m. with floats adorned with poinsettias, decorated vehicles, and walking groups starting at Sylvania Avenue and following the one-mile route south on Sumter Boulevard. The route will turn east onto City Hall Boulevard, before making its way along the Front Green. This family event that attracts over 5,000. The parade will end at the annual Poinsettia Festival on the grounds of City Center. The Festival will also include a tree lighting ceremony, a variety of food vendors, local organizations, entertainment and attractions.

Venice Christmas Boat Parade

Traditionally held on the first Saturday of December, The Venice Christmas Boat Parade starts at 6 p.m. (rain date is the next day) along the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice starting at the Albee Road Bridge in Nokomis and moving south along the waterway to the Circus Bridge in Venice. Spectators line the north (at South Nokomis Beach) and south (at North Venice Beach) jetties and throughout the downtown and Venice waterfront areas to the judging area near the south Circus Bridge for a view of the brightly lit and colorfully decorated “Christmas Boats.” 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Venice Chorale’s Holiday Pops with Brass!

December 8th
Venice Performing Arts Center,
1 Indian Ave., Venice, FL.

It’s the Venice Chorale’s Holiday Pops with Brass! Come celebrate the holiday season with The Venice Chorale! They will be performing holiday favorites with a lively brass band. Fun for the whole family! The Venice Chorale Youth Chorus and High School Apprentices will also be performing. 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $20-$25, $5 for students.(Tickets will be available online and through the Venice Performing Arts Center box office soon, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. The lobby and box office at the Venice Performing Arts Center open 1 hour before performances and seating begins 1/2 hour before performances. Performances will begin on time and any late patrons will be asked to wait until there is a pause in the performance to be seated.)

13th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at the Arboretum at West Blalock Park

December 14th
4:45 p.m. – 7 p.m.
West Blalock Park, between Nassau, Turin & Pensacola, Venice, FL

Enjoy the holiday celebration of music, lights and community spirit. Santa will be making an appearance, there will be crafts for the kids, entertainment, refreshments. At dark, they’ll flip the switch to turn on the lights on the tree at 6 p.m. Bring a folding chair.

Venice Symphony Holiday Concert

December 20-21
12/20: 7:30 pm
12/21: 7:30 pm and 3:30 pm
The Venice Performing Arts Center,
One Indian Ave., Venice, FL

Join The Venice Symphony for a traditional concert with a holiday twist as they present yuletide classics such as Deck the Hall and Carol of the Bells with music from holiday film favorites “Home Alone” and “Polar Express.” Sarasota’s Key Chorale will be their special guest. Ticket prices range from $27-$51 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Chanukah Klezmer Festival

December 29
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Centennial Park, 200 West Venice Ave., Downtown Venice, FL

The lighting of a 12 foot giant Menorah along with a huge interactive Dreidel House, a Moon Bounce and Hebrew School Performance. In addition, there will be live music with the Freylekh Klezmer Band along with Traditional Chanukkah & Israeli foods such as Falafel, latkes, donuts, and Matzah ball soup will be served. Free and open to all. Sponsored by Chabad of Venice and North Port.

A Guide To Thanksgiving in Venice

There is nothing quite like celebrating Thanksgiving in Venice FL. With beautiful beaches, pristine weather and the tranquility our area has to offer, Venice is an ideal location to be thankful for everything in our lives. However, many of us hate the thought of slaving over a stove all day long just to serve a meal and then clean up all of those pots and pans afterward!

Dining out for Thanksgiving in Venice Florida

Considering Dining out for Thanksgiving in Venice?

In recent years, it has become more common for families to go out for Thanksgiving rather than cook themselves. There is something appealing about letting someone else prepare, cook and clean up after such a large meal. It also allows every member of the family to be fully engaged in spending time together.

Another alternative is to consider ordering a fully prepared meal to bring home and serve. Leave the cooking to the professionals while enjoying them in the comfort of your own home with your family.

What restaurants are open on Thanksgiving in Venice?

Remember to call ahead to verify hours. This information is from Thanskgiving 2019 and will be updated as soon as information for 2020 is available.
Reservations are HIGHLY recommended!

Chaz 51 Bistro

Chaz 51 Bistro is the definition of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Seemingly on the outskirts of town, this small family-run restaurant may look like a casual cafe, but inside, the quality and flavors of the best fine dining restaurants.

For Thanksgiving this year, they are offering a three-course gourmet holiday menu. Although the traditional oven roasted turkey breast is offered, you can elevate your meal by choosing filet mignon or a ribeye & lobster tail as your entree.

Reservations fill up fast, so call early to grab your spot! Call 941-484-6200

Chaz 51 Thanksgiving 2019
Chaz 51 Menu for Thanksgiving 2019

Hotel Venezia

Hotel Venezia Thanks

Venezia Restaurant & Bar offers a wonderful Thanksgiving buffet for $24.95 per person with Children 12 years and under for $12.95. The buffet will be available from 11:00 am – 4pm. Call 941-308-7700 for Reservations

Cafe Venice

Nestled in on Historic Venice Ave, Cafe Venice is offering a limited menu featuring a traditional roast turkey dinner including gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and your choice of two sides: mashed potatoes, sweet potato, baked butternut squash, green bean casserole or asparagus for $22. Other menu options such as filet mignon, crispy duck, crab-stuffed flounder and more will be available as well!

They will be open from 12-7pm and reservations are required.

Cafe Venice Thanksgiving 2019

These Restaurants Have Been Open In Previous Years…

But, I am still collecting information on what will be offered and at what times.

  • Waterfrontoo
  • Cote France
  • TJ Carneys

What Restaurants Offer Takeout for Thanksgiving in Venice?

Yummies Donuts & BBQ

Yummies Donuts Thanksgiving 2019 in Venice FL

While Yummies is best known for their donuts and sweet treats, the “Yummy” is really in their BBQ. Nationally known through Food Network Magazine for their famous “Sticky Pig” (a pulled pork sandwich made with a cinnamon roll dropped in donut glaze as the bun), they offer a delightful spread of BBQ for your Thanksgiving table.

You must preorder by November 22nd. Choose from platters, turkey legs, Thanksgiving side dishes, smoked whole turkey or roasted turkey breast. You can also preorder their various donuts, breads, rolls and sweet treats! Pick up is on November 27th by 2 PM.

In addition, they are also partnering with Yoder’s Amish Restaurant in Sarasota for the best pies for Thanksgiving. You can preorder either Dutch Apple Crumb, Cherry, Pecan and Pumpkin Pie.

Blu Island Bistro

Thanksgiving at Blu Island Bistro in Venice FL

Chef Alan makes a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal for only $20 per person. With a mixture of herb-roasted turkey, a Boar’s Head spiral ham with a brown sugar honey glaze and side dishes that will be ready for pickup the day before Thanksgiving, Spend the day in your pajamas watching the parade and simply heat your gourmet meal up and serve it!

Papa’s Meat Market

'Order Your Fresh Amish Turkey or Your Turkey Dinner Here! Papa's S Turkey Dinners Include... Fresh Amish Turkey Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Stuffing Choice of Parmesan Broccoli or Sautee Green Beans Sweet Potato Casserole Cranberry Sauce Homemade Corn Bread & Butter Pumpkin Pie $22.00 per Person'

Papa’s offers fresh Amish turkeys that you can reserve in advance with a $15 deposit. They are available in a variety of size ranges for the whole bird or you can choose a bone-in turkey breast.

Papa’s also offers a full prepared Thanksgiving feast featuring their fresh Amish Turkeys including all your favorite side dishes: Mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, homemade cornbread with butter and choice of parmesan broccoli or green bean almondine, finished with pumpkin pie.
ALL of that for only $22 per person!

GitChewSum BBQ

GitChewSum catering in venice fl

GitChewSum BBQ is a local catering business here in Venice. Family-run and operated, this competition level BBQ is a flavor not to be missed. Let them handle all your catering needs, starting with Thanksgiving!

Call (941) 915-2662 or gitchewsumbbq@gmail.com to place your order!

Please see the package details below:

1. Turkey Package (Feeds 10-12) – $ 150.00 (20% Savings)
13lb Turkey, Choice of 3 sides (Mashed Potatoes Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, or Green Beans) Gravy, Dinner Roll w/ butter, A Gallon of Sweet Tea, Cheesecake

2. Ham (Sugardale Hams) Package (Feeds 10-12) – $ 150.00 (20% Savings)
8lb Ham, Choice of 3 sides (Mashed Potatoes Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, or Green Beans), Gravy, Dinner Rolls w/ butter, A gallon of Sweet Tea, Cheesecake

3. Brisket Package (Feeds 10-12) – $ 170.00 (19% Savings)
6lbs Brisket, Choice of 3 sides (Mashed Potatoes Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, or Green Beans), Gravy, Dinner Roll w/ butter, A gallon of Sweet Tea, Cheesecake


Smoked Turkey 12-14lbs. – $ 60.00
Smoked Sugar Cured Ham 7-9lbs (Sugardale Hams) – $ 60.00
Smoked Brisket 6lbs – $ 90.00

Sides (1/2 Pan) – $25.00 (Per side)
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Beans

Cranberry Jelly 1/2 Qt. – $ 5.00
Dinner Rolls w/butter pads 16 – $10.00
Turkey Gravy Quart – $10.00
Cheesecake 8″ round – $20.00
Sweet Tea 1 Gallon – $ 5.00

Minimum Order $50.00
Deliveries within a 25-mile radius

Contact us at (941) 915-2662 or gitchewsumbbq@gmail.com
Please share with family and friends!

Ciao Gelato

Ciao Gelato Venice FL Thanksgiving

Are you looking for Thanksgiving desserts or pies? Ciao Gelato has delicious treats to serve your guests. They will have 9″ pies on your choice of either shortbread, graham cracker or chocolate graham crust for only $17.95 plus tax. For $2.00 more, you can have a gluten-free pie crust as well!

Flavors include:

  • Pumpkin Caramel
  • Pumpkin Streusel
  • Sweet Potato Praline
  • Butter Pecan
  • Florida Orange Cranberry Sorbet

Venice Ale House

Preorder your Holiday treats by November 18th by calling 941-303-6906. All of these desserts are homemade by Deb!

What Chain Restaurants are open on Thanksgiving?

Chain restaurants are often underrated for their part in celebrating holidays. Of course, we want to support our small businesses and local mom and pop shops as much as possible. However, chain restaurants still employ the locals and still bring tremendous value to our little part of paradise.

Metro Diner

Metro Diner may be a chain restaurant, but it is run by a local family that lives right here in Venice. They are active in our community fundraisers and often host fun events like Chicken and Waffles Day for families to participate in. This year for Thanksgiving they are offering a take out meal as well as being open during Thanksgiving Day.

Other Chain Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Include:

  • Bob Evans
  • Denny’s
  • Bob Evans
  • Cracker Barrel

If you are looking for the experience of cooking a meal without any of the preparation, Publix also offers a Thanksgiving meal for pickup in their deli.

Comment below and tell me all about your plans for Thanksgiving this year!

Restaurant Blogs: Why You Should Have One

As a blogger, I know the value that a blog can have for businesses. Why should restaurants have blogs? For the same reasons that many businesses also have them: exposure and ranking on google. The last time you wanted to go out to eat but hadn’t decided where to go, did you Google for restaurants in your area? Chances are if you’re like me, you did. A study done by Constant Contact showed that 92% of the participants searched for a restaurant online and 75% of them chose their destination based on what they found.

Why Your Restaurant Needs A Blog

Marketing is a huge part of any business. Instead of investing in advertisements that catch your customers for a few seconds before they move on, invest in content that will engage them in a different way. If you share a recipe, a special promotion or a community-related event that you are a part of, your customers will register that and many will share it with their friends and family. It’s time to work smarter instead of harder.

Why Blogging Is Important To Restaurants

Most restaurant websites consist of 1-3 pages for google to list in their results. If you had a blog tied to your restaurant name, each blog post could potentially show up as a result as well!

Here are a few tips to get your blog going on the right foot.

Attach The Blog To Your Site

Chances are, you have someone who manages your website. Talk to them about how to incorporate a blog directly on your website either as a subdomain or subdirectory.

Write Relevant Content

Each post should be interesting to your reader, be optimized for search engines (otherwise known as SEO-friendly) and tie into your restaurant in some way. Think in terms of what someone looking for your restaurant would type into google and turn it into a blog post!

Be Consistent

Ideally, you should post to your blog at least once a week with a minimum of 300-500 words to show your value to Google and other search engines. Again, think of yourself browsing the internet. Do you want to see the same things over and over? Of course not! Search engines operate the same way. By updating your website on a regular basis with blog posts, you are increasing your reach in search results.

Connect with your Social Media

Posting regularly to your social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, is a great way to stay connected to your customers. While it may seem daunting to come up with social media posts, having a blog gives you one more thing to share with your followers.

Show Off Your Success and Changes

Every restaurant goes through major and minor changes over time. Have you added a new item to the menu? Featuring a new special? Hosting a local event? Recognized on a local media network? Your blog is a fantastic place to share the news!

I love to write, especially when it means I am boosting the city that I live in. I’m raising my daughter here and I want a strong community for her to grow up in. In order to have a strong community, the businesses and restaurants here need to be strong as well.

I know as a business owner, you already feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. This is when you may want to consider hiring someone who can write and manage these posts for you.

If you would like to discuss that option with me, feel free to contact me to set up a time to talk!

Breakfast in Venice: Our Favorites

When the sun comes out and it’s time to find breakfast in Venice, where do you go? Are you craving a tradition plate of bacon, eggs and toast or perhaps something more upscale like a eggs benedict? There are a wide variety of restaurants that provide a delicious breakfast plate. This guide will tell you all you need to know to find restaurants serving breakfast nearby.

breakfast in Venice FL, breakfast near me, breakfast on venice island,

Hunting for Breakfast in Venice? Start with these 5 places.

Blu Island Bistro

625 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285

Nestled into the front of a motel, Blu Island Bistro is located on Venice Island. This local favorite is owned and operated by Chef Alan Laskowski, originally from Philadelphia. He has had a very successful career including award-winning dishes and a feature on the Food Network. While there is a menu that is available every day, the real treasures always lie on his specials that change on a daily basis. On the weekends, Chef Alan makes his famous donuts that are rolled in cinnamon sugar before being drizzled in icing and topped with fresh strawberries.

whiskey bacon at blu island bistro
Crab cake Benedict at Blu Island Bistro

Our Choices:

Jason: Whiskey Bacon – A thick slab of pork belly served crispy with a sweet whiskey glaze. I always steal a bite because it is just an incredible dish.

Alyssa: Crab Cake Benedict – Thick cut, fluffy English muffins topped with a flavor-packed crab cake, a poached egg, and a slightly spicy remoulade hollandaise sauce.

Suncoast Cafe

400 Airport Ave E, Venice, Florida

We love hidden gems and Suncoast Cafe is no exception. It is located inside the Venice Airport and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could miss it. However, this is not a place to miss. Chef Tony brings Caribbean flair and a sunny personality that makes you feel like family as soon as you walk in the door. The kitchen is wide open so you can watch everything being prepared along with windows around the back and side of the restaurants to view planes that may be taking off or landing. They serve their own house blend made by Venetian Coffee Roasters for their coffee and it is full of flavor. The signature of this restaurant seems to be the artistic detail of the cucumber, which I just love looking at!

Good breakfast in venice

Our Choices:

Jason: Biscuits and Gravy – This is Jason’s go-to meal for breakfast. This is a no frills, stick to your ribs, southern staple at its finest.

Alyssa: The classic breakfast of crispy bacon, rye toast and perfectly cooked eggs. While it’s simple, it’s also a great breakfast!

Biscuits and Gravy at Suncoast Cafe

Le Petit Jardin Cafe

​1500 E Venice Ave, Unit 401, ​Venice, FL 34292

Take a trip out to East Venice Ave to find this cozy cafe, Le Petit Jardin, tucked into the Galleria Plaza. This is the place to go to find a high-quality meal without the high price tag. They have seating both indoors and outdoors, depending on your preference. For a real indulgence, start your meal off with a sweet, bubbly, refreshing peach bellini! From offerings including various crepes, quiche, french toast or a simple croissant, there is a little something for everyone.

breakfast in venice biscuits and gravy
crepe with fruit breakfast in venice

Our Choices:

Jason: As per his usual, he loved their special of biscuits and gravy served with scrambled eggs and a side of sausage.

Alyssa: The Le Crepe Delacroix! A scrumptious crepe filled with ham, eggs and melted swiss drizzled with a champagne mustard sauce that will have you fighting the urge to lick the plate clean.

Yummies Donuts & BBQ

2001 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293

While this may not be a sit-down restaurant, Yummies does have tables inside to sit and enjoy a breakfast treat. Cases are filled with fresh-made donuts, bagels, loaves of bread and pastries as soon as you walk in the door. Owned by Allen and Karen Tines, they put their heart and soul into building this small town staple. Allen makes these delectable treats every day from scratch from only the highest quality ingredients. If you choose to come later in the day or on a Saturday, you can also get a taste of his BBQ sandwiches! One, in particular, is his claim to fame, the Sticky Pig, which was featured in Food Network magazine, is a pulled pork sandwich served on a glazed cinnamon bun.

Apple Fritter at Yummies Donuts and BBQ

Our Choices:

Jason: You guessed it, Yummies has a signature biscuit bowl overflowing with sausage gravy. Not only is it his favorite breakfast, but our daughter also loves it even more than the donuts.

Alyssa: The apple fritters are unlike any you will find in other stores. Not only are they larger than your hand, but they are also soft and moist, with a sugary outer crust and juicy apple chunks inside.

Flapjacks Cafe

810 E. Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

When you’re looking for comfort food, Flapjacks Cafe is the place to go. The chef hails from my old stomping grounds in New Jersey, so that’s already a plus in my book. Family owned and operated We happened to win a gift card for breakfast and we enjoyed the small-town feel of this little cafe. As we were enjoying our breakfast, we witnessed another table paying for breakfast for a homeless couple sitting outside. This is the type of family restaurant for that you can walk in for breakfast and leave with a new friend!

Along with traditional breakfast dishes containing eggs, breakfast meats, and a side, there are also omelets, skillets, benedicts and breakfast sandwiches. Breakfast is served all day long, so if you are a late-night worker that starts their day closer to lunchtime than breakfast, you can still enjoy breakfast dishes when you are ready for them!

Our Choices:

Jason: Have you figured out the theme yet? Biscuits and Gravy. “For a Jersey guy, that was a solid gravy, a lot like my mother made!” Coming from Jason, that is high praise.

Alyssa: The Jersey breakfast sandwich. Real TAYLOR HAM topped with a fried egg and cheese on a kaiser roll, the way it was always meant to be served. One bite and I felt like I was back at home sitting in a diner. The sandwich is served with fruit, but I opted for the homefries instead. A simple dish of cooked potatoes, slightly crispy and seasoned well.

Venice is home to an extensive list of restaurants, each one having a gem of their own on the menu. Trust me when I say that this list is far from complete, in fact, this is just a small sampling of what is available. If you try a restaurant for breakfast in Venice that is not on this list, write to me and tell me about it! Who knows, we might just end up there next!

Looking for lunch? Check out this post about 5 places to have a picnic lunch in Venice!

LocalFlavor.com Needs Your Votes!

If your family is anything like ours, you are looking to save money in every aspect of life and LocalFlavor.com is a great resource to do just that! With so many families living paycheck to paycheck, using coupons and deals are more popular than ever before. Now with the latest promotion to find the best places in our area, you could win $300 in site credit! (More on that later though…)

LocalFlavor.com Vote For Your Favorite Local Businesses

So, What Is LocalFlavor.com?

LocalFlavor is an online resource to save your family money on everything from dining out or salon services to home and auto services, retail products and more. The beauty of it is that they partner with the bigger sites like RetailMeNot and Groupon to offer the best deals for each local area.

How Does LocalFlavor.com Work?

It starts with local deals and coupons that are gathered by local people! In each market, someone who lives right in our area is responsible for finding these deals and bringing them right to your mailbox in the Clipper magazine or posting it online at LocalFlavor.com

The deals posted are usually 50% off that you would purchase in advance before visiting the restaurant or business. Depending on the type of certificate you buy, some can even be used as soon as you purchase it, while others are to be used the next business day.

Another way that you could save money is by using the coupons that are available on the website. These are the same coupons that are available in the Clipper magazine, but now you have them at your fingertips as they can be loaded while you are in the business you intend to use them in! The coupons are free to use for everyone! All you would need to do is sign up with your email address on LocalFlavor.com and activate the coupon you choose. Then you would either print the coupon or present it on your phone to the business.

Venice Foodies, Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Currently, here in our area, LocalFlavor.com wants to hear from YOU. The 2019 Readers’ Poll is open for you to vote for your favorite businesses right here in Venice, Nokomis and Osprey. With so many incredible restaurants in our area, LocalFlavor wants to know where YOU love to eat. As a bonus you could win $300 in credit to use towards any LocalFlavor deal certificate. With the deals averaging 50% off, this is easily $600 to use in our local restaurants, salons, home service and more. We love supporting local, small businesses and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The poll includes a wide range of categories across restaurants, entertainment, home services, personal services and automotive services. Each vote that you cast (you can vote multiple times) gives you an entry to win the $300 credit. The voting polls will be open until October 12, 2019. The winner will be announced on or about October 14, 2019. The results of the poll will be released in a special edition of the Clipper Magazine in December of 2019.

Click Here –> to VOTE on LocalFlavor.com NOW

Be sure to check out our Coupon page for other exclusive deals and coupons available for my Venice Foodies!

Doctor D’s  Probiotic Drinks- Good for Your Gut

Gut health is vital to our overall health.  We all know probiotics are the way to gut health, but most probiotic drinks are bland or leave a not so pleasant aftertaste. But all that has changed, everyone in your family will love Doctor D’s sparkling probiotic drinks.  

Doctor D’s  Probiotic Drinks

Doctor D’s  Probiotic Drinks- Good for Your Gut

Doctor D’s  Probiotic Drinks

 The Best Tasting Sparkling Probiotic Drink on the Market

I found Dr. D’s in the Publix stores locally, but they are also available throughout Florida and other states.

Doctor D’s is an amazingly delicious sparkling probiotic drink. Drinking it will help promote a healthy digestive tract and build up your immune system. But you will just think you are enjoying a cool, refreshing drink.

Doctor D's Sparkling Probiotic

Doctor D’s is a live-fermented drink loaded with probiotics, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and electrolytes.

Probiotics may be able to help prevent some illnesses.

Doctor D’s is a leader on the market because it tastes so delicious. It’s perfect to take to the beach, playing tennis, shopping with the kids or enjoy it after a workout.  

Another great idea, you can also substitute it for a cocktail mixer. Dr. D’s is a fantastic alternative to high sugar and high calories juice and soda. You and your friends will love it.

Doctor D’s is available in 6 delicious flavors including:

  • Crisp Apple
  • Lively Lemon
  • Ginger Lemon
  • Mandarin Orange
  • Tart Cherry
  • Concord Grape.

Doctor D’s live fermented beverages produce a wider spectrum of probiotics than the leading kombucha. Doctor D’s also has a more pleasant, mild flavor, contrasting with the vinegary taste of kombucha.

Doctor D’s Has All Organic Ingredients: They source only the highest quality organic fruit juices, evaporated cane juice, and filter our own reverse-osmosis water.

Doctor D’s Probiotic Drinks Are:

  • Dairy & Caffeine Free
  • Filled with Live Cultures
  • Low in Sugar
  • In Amber Bottles: Only amber bottles can protect the live probiotics from harmful light.

Dr. D’s is a must-try this fall for a healthy year!

Check it out at:  http://doctordslive.com/