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.

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
chaz51.com

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
https://www.cotefrancevenice.com/

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
941-488-7600
sodafountainofvenice.com

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
www.otwbar.com

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
www.rosebudssarasota.com

Rosebud's Steak & Seafood House Christmas in Venice FL

Tikka Indian Cuisine

525A U.S. 41 Bypass N,
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 303-5073
https://www.tikkaindian.com

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
burgundysquarecafe.net

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
britishopenpub.com

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
https://www.bodrumfl.com/

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
941-209-1888
http://papasmeatmarket.com

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.
941-861-5000

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
  • GRAN AREPA
  • 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.
941-218-3779

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
VeniceFoodies.com

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

A LA CARTE MENU

Proteins
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
Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Beans

ADD-ONS
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!

How To Eat Low Carb in Venice

Eating Low Carb While Dining Out

Low Carb Restaurant Swaps

Dining at home is easier for low carb, thanks to meal prepping in advance. Eating out while on a low carb plan can be a little daunting, but it’s easy to make simple food choices to stay on track. Even fast food places can provide options with a little thought. So many people eat low carb now most restaurants accommodate special orders with no problem. Where you choose to eat will help determine how easy it will be to find what you want and need.

Where to Eat and What to Order

When you’re craving comfort food

Diners and cafes are an ideal choice since they generally serve breakfast all day. Eggs, meat, and veggies are a filling and tasty choice. Omelets are a wonderful menu item for low carb eating. Load them with cheese, peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, or any other vegetable you might like. Substitute pancakes or potatoes with sliced tomatoes and skip the toast.

Local Suggestion: Venice Ale House
Try the Greek Salad or check out their specials on “Keto Thursday”

For a Special Night Out at a Steakhouse

Steakhouses are another good place for low carb choices. Grilled steaks and chops are satisfying and delicious. Skip the bread and baked potato here, and choose a salad or steamed vegetable instead. Be sure to pick a low carb vegetable such as broccoli rather than something starchy like corn. Caesar, chef, or side salads are available at nearly all restaurants. Add chicken, meat or seafood, extra veggies, boiled eggs, cheese, and nuts or seeds to amp up your meal. Take care to avoid sweet dressings and dried fruits, as they will add unwanted sugar. Keep in mind, if you want a savory dressing such as ranch or bleu cheese, full-fat versions have fewer carbs than low fat.

Local Suggestion: Chaz 51 Bistro
The Blue Cheese Steak Salad is mouthwatering, skip the croutons, you won’t miss them anyway. There’s also the sizzling naked burger, served in an iron skillet topped with cherry peppers and onions.

When You Just Want a Big Cheeseburger

American restaurants and gastropubs are fabulous for the whole family. When ordering a hamburger, ask to replace the bun with a lettuce wrap, or thinly sliced cucumber. If this is not possible, just ask that the bun not be served. Make it more of a meal by loading the burger patty with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onion, or any other topping you like. If lettuce is available, request extra so you can wrap it yourself. Rather than fries, try a crunchy vegetable like carrots or celery as a tasty side with added texture.

Local Suggestion: Off The Wagon Brewery & Kitchen
With a number of different specials that change daily, there’s always something new to try. The chef is fabulous at making adjustments when needed for dietary restrictions. Try the best burger in Venice with a side of coleslaw and just skip the bun.

When You Need to Order Takeout Chinese or Sushi

Asian food can be a bit of a challenge. The best bet is to order a stir fry with extra veggies, but skip the rice or noodles. Sushi is rice based, so opt for sashimi instead. Try to order steamed vegetables, because sauces are usually not added. Sauces are often loaded with sugar or flour for thickening. Don’t hesitate to ask if a dish has added sugar.

Local Suggestion: Star Thai and Sushi
Chef Mike goes above and beyond for his customers. Instead of rice, ask for your sushi with a cucumber wrap instead!

Mexican can be the Ultimate Low Carb Indulgence

Eating Mexican is easier than you might initially think. A lot of places have bowl meals – basically the same ingredients as burritos or fajitas without the tortillas. If those aren’t available, simply make your own. Open up a fajita or tortilla and only eat the delicious ingredients inside. Deconstructed dishes are all the rage right now. Request extra sour cream, guacamole, olives, and cheese for extra flavor and to make it more filling. Taco salads will work the same way, as long as you can resist eating the bowl.

Local Suggestion: Latin Market and Restaurant

Fight the Challenge of the Carb Loaded Italian Cuisine

Italian restaurants can sometimes be the most for difficult low carb options. Certain chains have very limited options other than pasta and breaded dishes. Look for chicken breast meals or sandwiches here, and simply order them with no bread or bun. Request Alfredo sauce and cheeses as toppings since those have very few carbs, but add lots of flavor. Surprisingly, marinara sauce can be quite high in carb count, and so should be avoided if possible. If you simply must have marinara, ask for light sauce to cut down on added sugar.

Local Suggestion: Made in Italy

The chef is very accommodating of substitutions to allow meals to be as low carb as possible. In fact, if you give advance notice, he may even prepare a cauliflower crust pizza!

When You Want to Enjoy Local Seafood

Seafood restaurants are a great choice as long as you pick grilled or broiled fish or shrimp. Lemon juice and tartar sauce can add flavor, but try to avoid shrimp sauce, as it often has hidden sugars. Order a salad rather than coleslaw due to sugar content as well.

Local Suggestion: Pelican Alley

Newly renovated and reopened after the devastation of Hurricane Irma, this beautiful restaurant has delicious grouper dinners that will delight your tastebuds. Go for the vegetable medley as your side dish and you are all set for a low carb seafood meal.

When You Want A Great Deli Sandwich

It doesn’t get much healthier than a restaurant that serves all fresh meats, cheeses and produce. However, if you are trying to limit your carb intake, it can be hard to go in to a deli and not order a nice big sandwich. Most places will allow you to simply remove the bread and have it as a large salad instead!

Local Suggestion: Shark Bites Deli

Small, family owned and operated deli on East Venice Ave. It’s a family friendly place filled with toys, games and delicious fresh meals! Try their “Picklewich” where they make any of their subs with a large Boar’s Head Pickle instead of the bread!

Think outside the box

Sometimes there just aren’t going to be many options on a menu and this is when you may have to get a bit creative.

  • You may be able to order a couple of appetizers rather than an entree to fill your needs.
  • Chicken wings are a great item, but take care to pick the right sauce or no sauce at all. Boneless wings are often breaded, so ask before ordering to make sure you know what you are getting.
  • Keep in mind not every meal must include meat. A vegetable plate can be delicious and filling.
  • Side dishes are sometimes the yummiest things on a menu and can fit your dietary needs better.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask about the ingredients used in dishes so you can make an informed decision.
  • Since so many sauces and dressings have more sugar than you want, try adding avocado, lemon juice, salsa, full-fat salad dressings, and oil and vinegar for more flavors.
  • Order raw veggies and ranch dressing as a dip rather than chips.
  • Fried meats are fine as long as they are not breaded. If you must choose a breaded option, simply pull the breading off and discard it.

With a little forethought and a trade-off here and there, you can eat out nearly anywhere without feeling too restricted. By taking a few minutes to check the menu online before heading out the door, you can be sure to get what you want without sacrificing your health.

About The Author
Raye Wiedner is an active widow, living in the Midwest. She has been a health care worker for most of her life, with a passion for trying new adventures.

Family-Friendly Dining in Venice

Family-friendly restaurants in Venice Fl

Just south of Sarasota, Venice is a small city on the Gulf of Mexico mainly known for its retirement communities. However, in recent years families have been moving in and making Venice their home. With a number of wonderful places for families to spend their day like the splash pad near Centennial Park, the various playgrounds or hunting for shark’s teeth at the beach, at the end of the day the question remains. What family-friendly restaurants are in Venice?

BrewBurgers

Two locations in Venice: 370 Commercial Ct & 525 Tamiami Trail BrewBurgers has all the makings of a hometown favorite place. With fun retro-style decor for casual indoor/outdoor dining, you can feel comfortable bringing in your kids and still enjoy an awesome meal. Serving bar and grill-type fare with a flair, they are kid and pet-friendly. BrewBurgers is well known for huge specialty burgers, and they have a large beer selection.

Pinchers

900 Venetia Bay Blvd.
Pincher’s is a local chain known for its fresh crabs and seafood. The kitschy decor befits the menu. There are sandwiches, ribs, and pasta offered for those who are not crazy about seafood. A kids menu is available with alternatives, as well. Bonus! Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.

Off the Wagon Brewery & Kitchen

2107 Tamiami Trail
Don’t let the bar imagery fool you, while this is a local hotspot for nightlife, it is extremely family-friendly the rest of the day. With a kids menu featuring items like macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and adult entrees that will delight your tastebuds, this restaurant has something for the whole family. They serve craft burgers (voted #1 Best Burger in our Venice Foodies Community!), tacos, sandwiches, steaks and more. Come ready to be entertained, as they have live musical acts nearly every night. Early-bird specials are offered daily, and kids eat free all day every Tuesday. An added note, this is a brewery, so be sure to check out the fantastic beer selection and see how it is made right behind the glass window from the dining room!

Gold Rush BBQ

661 Tamiami Trail S.
This restaurant has a gold rush theme from the decor to the menu items. The decor includes mining supplies and rocks, and some menu items are even served on miner’s pans. There is a souvenir rock shop on site following the theme. They serve bbq, catfish, ribs, and more. There are some all you can eat specials, but be sure to ask as they change from time to time. Starting in May and going through the summer season, kids eat free on Mondays.

Shark Bites Deli

1740 E. Venice Ave.
Shark Bites specializes in fresh deli foods, such as sandwiches and salads. They have indoor and outdoor seating, with a shaded seating area. They are very family friendly and offer a special kids area with toys, puzzles, and games available. Also, kids eat free from the children’s menu with an adult entree.
Tip: If you check out our specials page, you can score a free side of their baked beans with any sandwich or salad purchase!

Kids Eat Free Bonuses

In addition to all the local family-friendly small business type spots, there are several chain restaurants in Venice offering specials for kids:

IHOP– offers kids eat free every night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m
Denny’s – offers kids eat free every night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Perkins – offers free kids meals every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pizza Hut – offers free kids meals every Tuesday.
Firehouse Subs– offers free kids meal with the purchase of a medium sub on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Bob Evans – kids eat free after 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

There are plenty of restaurants in Venice to suit everyone’s tastes. This is sometimes a challenge when eating out with children. Not only does Venice offer great family-friendly options, but most of the places on this list offer take out or use Door Dash for delivery! If you want to add a little adventure, there are plenty of parks and areas to have a picnic as well.

Traveling to Florida with a pet soon? Read more here.

About The Author
Raye Wiedner is an active widow, living in the Midwest. She has been a health care worker for most of her life, with a passion for trying new adventures.

7 Date Night Ideas in Venice

Date Night in Venice

After getting through a long week and dealing with all of the stressful day-to-day activities, an impending date night out on the town sounds amazing! People wait all week for date night, but when it actually gets close, they are often at a loss for ideas. In a town like Venice, you have lots of options to keep you and your honey amused, so plan ahead! Whether it be an old favorite dining spot or a new exciting activity, go out and enjoy the nightlife.

Make Date Night an Adventure

1. Venice Theatre

140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice, FL 34285

When is the last time you saw a play? It’s time to put on that little black dress you’ve been saving for a special occasion, grab your date and go experience the performing arts at this historical local gem. The Venice Theatre is one of the most active community theatres in the US, so they always have something interesting on stage! Some of their productions feature full-scale musicals, cabarets, comedies, dramas and more. Check out the Venice Theatre website for a schedule of productions and box office information to get an idea of what you may want to go see. and box office information to get an idea of what you may want to go see.

After your show, have dessert and a glass of wine Made In Italy, located only a block away. (I recommend the cannolis!)

2. Gr8 Escape Challenge

571 US 41 Bypass N, Venice, FL 34285

Are you over the club scene and have been wanting to try something a bit more adventurous? At the Gr8 Escape Challenge, you can choose from a variety of themed rooms and collaborate with your date to use your investigative ingenuity to decipher the clues, decode the puzzles, and plot your escape – in only 60 minutes! Check out current room options.

After all that excitement, treat your palate to some authentic Indian food from “Gr8” Tikka Indian Cuisine. Life is all about your experiences, so why not fill it with unique ones! The dishes may seem intimidating when you are unfamiliar with the cuisine, I suggest the Tikka Masala curry or a creamy tomato curry dish with chicken served with rice and the heat level can be adjusted to your preferences.

3. Daiquiri Deck

300 W Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285

You’re ready for a fun, fruity blended drink to start out your weekend, right? Why not make date night a staycation, and go check out Daiquiri Deck’s wall of colorful daiquiri options. Located in historic downtown Venice, you don’t have to go far to experience one of their unique daiquiri flavors like Fudgesicle, Electric Lemonade, or Southern Peach. In addition to their extensive drinks menu, the food isn’t too shabby either. Word out on the street is that the crab cake sandwich is pretty exceptional! Check out their food and drink options.

4. Shogun Japanese Steakhouse

1219 U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice, FL 34285

If you’re into interactive eating experiences, Shogun Japanese Steakhouse is a great place for good food and a lively ambiance. If you order their Hibachi, you and your date (along with other restaurant patrons) sit at a special hibachi table while the chef prepares your dinner right before your eyes! Make an exception this one time – get out your phone and take some Instagram-worthy pictures. You are sure to see an outstanding Hibachi show with lots of tricks at Shogun.

5. The Zebra Lounge

217 Miami Ave., West Venice, FL 34285

If you are looking for something a little different for your date night, look no further. Take delight in the relaxed atmosphere and charming decor of The Zebra Lounge while listening to some engaging piano music. This piano bar offers fabulous light fare and delicious desserts that perfectly complement their extensive wine menu, featuring wines from around the world! Have a couple of glasses of wine, share a pizza, and don’t forget cheesecake, because it’s date night, after all.

6. Sharky’s On The Pier

1600 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285

Do fresh seafood and a picturesque sunset overlooking the Gulf sound like a perfect date? Sharky’s is your spot for a fun and festive atmosphere with live music near the bar and idyllic views. Plan ahead, because this place is popular and there could be a wait, but it’s definitely worth it. Sharky’s is located right off the beach making it an ideal spot to take a romantic walk along the beach and to the pier.

7. Cafe Longet

239 Miami Ave W, Venice, FL 34285

Experience Cafe Longet’s authentic French fusion cuisine in this charming little bistro. It’s a nice change of pace from many booming restaurants along the strip. In addition to its excellent menu, Cafe Longet also has a nice selection of wines by the glass. Check their facebook for upcoming events such as Wine Pairing Dinners for an upscale twist on date night. Y

You can read about our experience at Cafe Longet too!

What adventures have you found in Venice?

Guest Post Written By:

Stefanie Resciniti is a graphic designer and marketing professional with a passion for learning, traveling and trying new things. She is excited about any opportunity to inspire creative content.

6 Reasons to Love Venice, Florida

6 Reasons To Love Venice

Are you looking for a vacation spot somewhere along the Gulf Coast? Or are you looking to relocate? Or are you just looking for a beautiful place to visit for the day to find some awesome food? Then you will fall in love Venice, Florida. It has a small town atmosphere and a vintage charm while still having the finer touches of a culturally rich city.

Amazing White Sandy Beaches

Venice is home to one of the most beautiful beaches located on the Gulf Coast – Venice Beach. It is a Certified Blue Wave Beach and is home to a large number of marine turtle nests between the months of May and October. There are also many opportunities to see dolphins, shorebirds and other wildlife as well as a scenic view of the Venice Public Fishing Pier.

Some of the Best Fishing

Looking for some fishing? You have come to the right place! Just visit the Venice Fishing Pier to catch a variety of the most popular gamefish. There is no fee or fishing license required to fish on the Pier, and if you need equipment head to Papa’s Bait Shop. If you are ready for a bite to eat then make sure you head to Sharky’s on the Pier. Both shops are located conveniently on the pier.

Everything From Fine Dining to the Pub

Venice is also home to a wide variety of food. Whether you are in the mood for some Italian food, good old fashioned burgers or some local organic smoothies, Venice has you covered. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a place everybody will enjoy. Check out the specialsto see what places are offering deals and happy hours!

Or You Can Dine-In

Not the dining out type and prefer to cook at home? No problem! Just head down to the Venice Farmers Market and browse the 51 vendors of fresh produce, freshly baked goods, fish, and other food products. They also have many wonderful arts and crafts for sale as well. The Venice Farmers Market accepts EBT and SNAP.

Family Fun and Friendliness

Need something for the whole family? How does a Shark’s Tooth Festival sound? A fitting place to go in the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World”.

How about Centennial Park? An amazingly beautiful park with a splash pad, picnic tables, veteran memorial, restrooms, and free parking.

If hiking or biking is more your style then be sure to check out Shamrock Park and Nature Center.

Community

Venice is the kind of community where neighbors meet up at the local farmer’s market on the weekends, or where friendly rounds of golf are played daily then Venice is home. With some neighborhoods better suited for certain lifestyles, you are sure to find a place to call home in Venice.

Convinced yet?

If you are looking for a quaint, vintage little town with a whole lot of community and a lot to offer, then Venice is your destination. Between Venice’s beautiful beaches, its diverse variety of local cuisines and it’s family friendliness you can’t go wrong in making Venice your #1 choice in location.

Guest post written by Krissie McCoy –
Krissie is a stay at home mom to two beautiful little ones, working her way through life one baby step at a time.

5 Places To Have A Picnic Lunch in Venice, FL

Venice, Fl is a quaint spot just south of Sarasota. It really is a unique little bubble with a wealth of great restaurants, arts, entertainment, recreation, water activities, white-sand beaches, and amazing Mediterranean architecture; hence the name Venice. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Venice is an ideal location to find your favorite foods and go picnic with family and friends. Now all you need to know is where the best are spots to have a perfect picnic lunch.

Go get your favorite take-out food and then pick your perfect picnic spot!

Centennial Park

Bodrum in Venice, FL

200 W. Venice Ave Venice, FL 34285
This park often has events going on such as a local farmers market, jazz and blues music, seafood festival, etc. You can pair your picnic with upcoming events or watch the schedule to avoid a busier day and enjoy a relaxing picnic in the park.

Centennial Park has picnic tables ideal for taking it easy or set up a blanket on one of the open grassy areas. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, you can choose from several restaurants to pick up a picnic lunch, check out Bodrum on Miami Ave for delicious gyros, falafel, kebobs and more.

Centennial Park has benches, an interactive splash pad (fun for the kids!), ADA accessible gazebo, a veterans memorial, free parking, beautiful nature, and shady trees to relax under. There is definitely a lot to explore.

Shamrock Park & Nature Center

Sausage Express in Venice, FL

3900 Shamrock Drive Venice, FL 34293
Shamrock Park is great for picnics with its scenic nature and bountiful wildlife. Choose from picnic tables complete with grills, rent a pavilion, or lay your blanket down. If you are going during the week, stop by the food truck in front of the Lowe’s on 41, Sausage Express for a sandwich or a wrap to bring with you!

Relax and have your picnic lunch in this 80-acre park. Bask in the beauty of the butterfly gardens while enjoying your favorite fare. Check out the pet-friendly areas, playground fields, sports courts, and hiking trails which are perfect for a nice day out in nature.

Service Club Park

Wood Fired Pizza

1190 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285
This beautiful beachfront park is a flawless spot for a romantic sunset picnic on the sand with a little vino and a wood fired pizza from Made In Italy. If you want to see a picturesque sunset, this location is matchless. There is a nice boardwalk with decks and picnic tables (some covered) if you prefer; either way, you will still enjoy the amazing view of the Gulf. Other cool things you’ll find at Service Club Park are volleyball courts, barbeque grills, walking trails and wildlife.

Maxine Barritt Park

Sushi To Go

1800 S Harbor Dr. Venice, FL 34285
Spend some time walking on the beach at Maxine Barritt Park. Then come under the shelter of one of their beautiful large gazebos. Take a walk around the park and see the fenced pond looking for birds and possibly an alligator! Then choose your favorite spot for a picnic. You can sit at one of the picnic tables with charcoal barbeques or find another hidden spot to set up your blanket and have some fresh sushi. Who said sushi isn’t a picnic food? Pick up a delicious sushi lunch from Baiyoke Thai Bistro! Being located right off the Gulf makes this park a great location for picnicking and enjoying the cool breeze. Maybe take a swim after your lunch settles!

Brohard Paw Park

Shark Bites Deli in Venice, FL

1600 Harbor Drive South Venice, FL 34285
This unique park is perfect for dog lovers. Some people may not want to leave their dogs at home so, at Brohard Paw Park, you can have the best of both worlds. It’s actually a fenced dog park with a beach, picnic tables, showers & drinking fountains for you and your furry friends. Enjoy your tasty deli sandwiches from Shark Bites Deli (check out the specials page for an exclusive coupon!) and Fido can play in the park after!


Tell Us Where You Would Have Your Picnic Lunch in Venice, FL in the Comments Below!

Guest Post Written by Stefanie Resciniti. Stefanie is a graphic designer and marketing professional with a passion for learning, traveling and trying new things. She is excited about any opportunity to inspire creative content.

Flapjacks in Venice

After spending the morning visiting thrift stores for a treasure hunting “morning date”, Jason and I both were hungry and started hunting for breakfast options on Venice Ave.

After a recent social media contest looking for opinions on whether the delicious breakfast meat sandwich combination is called Taylor Ham or Pork Roll, I won a free sandwich to try it out for myself!

#TeamTaylorHam all the way and they are doing it right. Cooked just the way I like it and served on a Kaiser roll, it was comfort food treat. Jason went for his usual biscuits and gravy and his remark was that it was surprisingly good for a yankee. 

We were able to chat with the owner and discovered he’s from the same town as my mother in New Jersey. Like my father used to say, “It’s a small world, but I sure wouldn’t want to paint it.”

As we sat inside, (this was one of the very cold mornings) a couple who appeared to be homeless sat outside and enjoyed a cup of coffee. It was heartwarming to observe two other tables offer to pay for a hot meal for them. Venice, you never cease to amaze me.