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SRQ DAILY Nov 28, 2023

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

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Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"Once a week, the fishmonger at Toyosu makes a box for us with four different seasonal fish. Sometimes, it is baby octopus, and sometimes it is shellfish. Every week is a surprise for us. "

- Daniel Dokko, Chef and Restaurant Owner at JPAN Sushi and Grill

[The Dish]  Inside the Box at JPAN
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

This time of year, stuffing a box full of goodies is on many a Sarasotan’s mind. At JPAN Sushi and Grill, restaurant owner and chef Daniel Dokko is also thinking “inside the box,” albeit from a perspective that’s more fishy than festive. This month, JPAN launched its new Omakase-style Toyosu box, a treasure chest filled with nine delectable bites of sushi.

Omakase translates to ‘trust the chef,’” Dokko says. While most diners are familiar with making their own selections from a menu, an omakase-style meal invites them to open their minds, and stomachs, and allow the chef to decide what he wants to serve them. “Usually, if you go for an omakase, it’s a very intimate dining experience. You have the chef in front of you, and most omakase restaurants have eight to 10 seats maximum around the sushi bar, but those dinners will cost you at least $250, just for the food. We wanted to do something where you get the same quality fish but in a more casual setting,” he adds, hoping to channel this energy into the Toyosu boxes, which bear treasures imported all the way from Tokyo’s Toyosu Fish Market.

“The original fish market was called Tsukiji which was the most popular, but they built a new facility called Toyosu which replaced the older Tsukiji market,” says Dokko. “For anyone who goes to Japan, I recommend checking out the sushi market. It’s free and will blow your mind.” Restauranteurs, foodies and tourists flock like hungry seagulls to Toyosu, which is known worldwide for its tuna auctions. Unlike the Tsukiji Market, where visitors once wandered amongst vendors, the Toyosu Fish Market separated the two groups, providing observation areas that allow guests to take in the wonders of the market without getting in the way of workers. Visitors can dine at the market’s various restaurants, but if you’re still planning your trip to Japan, you can sample Toyosu’s delights closer to home at JPAN.

“Once a week, the fishmonger at Toyosu makes a box for us with four different seasonal fish. Sometimes, it’s baby octopus; sometimes it’s shellfish. Every week is a surprise for us,” Dokko says, adding that other fish, like Japanese snapper, cuttlefish, kampachi and sea bass have washed up on the shores of JPAN’s kitchen, to be topped with truffle, yuzu and other delicious morsels. Six of the pieces of sushi are nigiri, generally composed of a slice of fish atop a small rice mound, and three are sashimi, slices of fresh raw fish.

“The dish was crafted to embody authenticity and allow the patrons to try the essence of Japanese cuisine,” adds Dokko. “We have two chefs who work together to create this, Chef Rodolfo Lee and Chef Jose Mendez. Every week, it’s like those YouTubers who unwrap gifts. They get the same feeling, and they’re like ‘What are we going to get this week?’ It’s very exciting and new, especially for the customer to try things that are different.”

JPAN Sushi and Grill, Shops at Siesta Row, 3800 S. Tamiami Trail #3, Sarasota, 941-954-5726 and University Town Center, 229 N. Cattleman Rd., Sarasota, 941-954-5726. 

Pictured: The Omakase-style Toyosu box at JPAN is filled with treats from the Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy of JPAN Sushi and Grill.

JPAN Sushi and Grill

[Recognition]  Visit Sarasota County Honored with ConventionSouth's Annual Readers Choice Award for the Eighth Consecutive Year

For the eighth year in a row, Visit Sarasota County (VSC) has been presented with ConventionSouth’s Annual Readers’ Choice Award. VSC will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2023 Awards issue of ConventionSouth magazine, the national resource for planning events in the South. “We are honored to be recognized for the eighth time for the Readers’ Choice Award,” said Kelly Defebo, CMP, Director of Sales & Marketing for VSC. “We look forward to continue providing quality meeting services to meeting planners looking to host their next meeting in beautiful Sarasota County.” VSC is among 446 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities, hotels and unique venues located across the South to receive this year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominate the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary services for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best. 

To learn more, visit.

[Grand Opening]  Amped Fitness Opens Second Sarasota Location December 2023

Amped Fitness®, no stranger to the game in the fitness industry, is thrilled to announce the grand opening of their second Sarasota, FL location on December 4th. The growing fitness brand also brings four other brand new locations across Florida this December. These new facilities are set to provide the communities of Sarasota (12/4), Tampa (12/6), Fort Lauderdale (12/19), Daytona Beach (12/20), and Plantation (12/18) with an all-new workout experience and some much needed AMPED ENERGY! As for Sarasota, This former fitness center was acquired earlier this year and has since undergone a 360' renovation to live up to the unparalleled Amped Fitness® standard and design. It boasts an impressive 23.5k sqft and sits at 3840 S Tuttle Ave. After the overwhelming success of the current Beneva Rd location, the Amped Team is excited to finally expand their roots right on Tuttle Ave. The facility will feature a range of amenities and member perks alongside their best-in-class equipment. Amped Fitness® pre-launched their grand opening with a vendor-packed parking lot party on November 25th! Potential members stopped by to meet the team, get the inside scoop on the unique amenities, and enter for a chance to win one free year of VIP+. This new Sarasota location, along with the four other new Amped Fitness'® five new locations will join the brand's existing network of corporate fitness centers known for their best-in-class personal training, unique line of equipment, and the gym culture that comes second to none. Amped Fitness® is also rumored to be featuring a special celebrity guest on opening day! The company urges their community to stay tuned to their social page at @ampedfitnesstuttle to find out which Olympia–winning athlete will be making an appearance. "We are stoked to continue our Florida takeover with these 5 new locations," said Travis Labazzo, CEO of Amped Fitness®. "Get ready…Casselberry, Pompano Beach, and West Palm Beach–You're NEXT!" For more information about Amped Fitness® and potential franchise opportunities, please visit ampedfitness.com/franchise-opportunity. 

[New Hire]  The Pickleball Club Welcomes New Director of Programming and Instructor Development

The Pickleball Club, a firm founded in 2019 that develops and operates private, membership-based high-amenity indoor pickleball facilities throughout Florida, recently welcomed Dominique Lemperle as its new director of programming and instructor development.Lemperle brings more than 15 years of experience in racquet sports to the organization. Most recently, she served as the director of racquet sports for Esplanade Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida, which was comprised of six Har-Tru tennis courts, four pickleball courts and four bocce ball courts. During her time at Esplanade, she successfully ran an in-house league of 750 bocce players, made the bocce culture more inclusive and oversaw a total of 24 league teams and 82 bocce ball teams. Prior to that, Lemperle was the assistant director of sports for Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Florida. Her duties included hiring, training and mentoring a team of seven staff coordinators to develop them into teaching professionals, planning, scheduling and directing creative member events while meeting budget expectations and collaborating with the director of golf instruction to plan golf camps for children of all ages, among other tasks. In her new role as director of programming and instructor development for The Pickleball Club, Lemperle will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of educational programs and training initiatives. She will design, organize and evaluate programs, as well as nurture and develop instructors to ensure high-quality educational experiences for students. She will also play a key role in promoting pickleball within the community and ensuring the overall success and growth of the club’s programs, among other duties. Lemperle received her master’s degree in print journalism and her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Colorado. She has a number of certifications and qualifications, including a Leadership Academy/Racquetfit certification from USPTA Headquarters, USPTA Elite Professional, USPTA Head Pickleball Coach Developer, USPTA 2023 George Bacso Coach Developer of the Year and Certified Racquet Sports Executive. 

Pictured: Dominique Lemperle, director of programming and instructor development at The Pickleball Club.

[Holiday Event]  Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber's Annual Holiday Mixer is Back

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce is excited to hold its annual Holiday Mixer on Wednesday, December 6th at Vista at the Top (214 Madonna Blvd, Tierra Verde, FL 33715). Join over 50 enthusiastic members in a welcoming and lively atmosphere, where you'll forge connections, bid on exclusive items in our silent auction featuring hotel stays, spa days, and dining packages, and discover the exciting upcoming plans from the Chamber team. Indulge in complimentary sample menu items and a drink while immersing yourself in the festive spirit, with each registration offering a chance to win a one-of-a-kind door prize.The long-awaited Holiday Mixer is open to the public, costing just $15 for Chamber Members and $20 for Non-Chamber Members. For more information on the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, please visit TampaBayBeaches.com, or email info@tampabaybeaches.com. 

[HOTY]  2024 Home of the Year is Live!

SRQ Magazine is calling home builders, architects, landscape architects and interior designers to submit their projects from the past year. The winning entries are awarded Home of the Year Platinum, Gold, and Silver Awards and the winning entries are published in the March 2024 awards edition of SRQ Magazine. 

Enter Here!

[Feature]  A Culinary Journey
Kate Wight

A CULINARY JOURNEY | Exploring the Culinary Legacy of Anna Maria Island Restaurants, November 2023.


Read Here!

[SOON]  FOOD: Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival , January 25 – January 29, Various times
The 2024 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival, hosted by the Sarasota Manatee Originals, will take place January 25 to 29. Grand Tasting tickets go on sale in October. A full five day slate of food and wine themed fun is planned, including the University Master Classes, wine dinners at area restaurants, wine shop tasting events, a trade tasting and the much anticipated Grand Tasting at The Ringling Museum of Art. Due to the unprecedented demand for tickets, ticket sales for The Grand Tasting launch on two consecutive Tuesdays: On October 10 at 9 a.m. there is a presale of the VIP and Early Access tickets and on October 17 at 7 p.m. General Admission tickets will be available and historically have sold out in a matter of minutes. All Forks and Corks Grand Tasting tickets will be available online only. For more information, please visit www.eatlikealocal.com.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Breakfast with Santa , December 16, 10am-12pm

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources invites children ages 12 and under and their families to the free Breakfast with Santa event, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 16. Enjoy breakfast, holiday music, and a visit by Santa in person at Laurel Park and at Newtown Estates Park. Pre-registration is required to attend this event. Register children ages 12 and under online before Friday, Dec. 8, or until the event is full. Unwrapped toy donations for children ages 12 and under are being accepted through Monday, Dec. 11 at Sarasota County parks, events, fire stations and library locations throughout the county. For more information, or to register, visit scgov.net.

[SOON]  SPORTS: 47th Annual Sandy Claws Beach Run , December 9, 8am

Kick off the holiday season by participating in the 47th annual Sandy Claws Beach Run at Siesta Beach, on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 8am. Register by Nov. 17 to guarantee the best price, along with receiving a long-sleeve performance event shirt and runner swag. For more information, or to register, visit runsignup.com/47thannualsandyclawsbeachrun.

[SOON]  FOOD: 34th Annual Hob Nob BBQ Event , December 6, 5:30-8:30pm

The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance is excited to announce they will be the new home for the 34th Annual Hob Nob BBQ event on December 6th, previously put on by Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation. This event has been the premier networking event in the region for decades, which brings together the business community from the Sarasota, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch Region to enjoy an evening of food, drinks and fun. The event will be held at the Premiere Sports Campus from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.For more information, visit members.lwrba.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Feast Upon the Fields , December 3, 12:30pm
Join us for an unforgettable afternoon at the beautiful and conserved Myakka Headwaters Preserve. Located where seven creeks converge to form the mighty Myakka River, our Myakka Headwaters Preserve is a breathtaking slice of natural Florida. The property contains numerous diverse landscapes, including floodplain forests, marshland, longleaf pine flatwoods, and oak hammocks. Fields of wildflowers host pollinators of all shapes and sizes, and fern-lined streambanks rise just a foot or two above the clear-flowing water, which supports submerged aquatic vegetation unable to grow in the sunlight-blocked blackwaters found elsewhere in the Myakka River. Experience this stunning landscape firsthand at our eighth annual farm-to-table luncheon, Feast Upon the Fields. Featuring a one-of-a-kind menu by Chef Paul Mattison, this ticketed event will sell out quickly. Early reservations are strongly recommended. conservationfoundation.com.
[SOON]  FOOD: Sarasota Hooters Jeep Nights , September 16 – December 21, 6pm

Calling all Jeep Enthusiasts! The Sarasota Hooters location is hosting Jeep Night on the third Thursday of the month starting at 6pm. Hooters is giving away raffle prizes during the monthly events. The September 21 raffle prize is a Flashcal For Jeep Superchips Calibration Tool. Congratulations to Shawn Miller who won a Jeep Tow Kit during the August 17 Jeep Night. Upcoming Jeep Nights will take place on December 21. Hooters of Sarasota is located at 6507 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Visit Hooters during Jeep Night and present your Jeep key for 15% off food and non-alcoholic beverages and an entry for the giveaway. Jeep Night has become a favorite thing to do for the Sarasota community. From regular customers to Hooters Girls who own Jeeps and Jeep lovers everyone is enjoying this opportunity. For more information, visit www.HootersFlorida.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: Siesta Key Rum Distillery Tours , September 2 – September 30, Various times

Siesta Key Rum runs free year-round tours for guests to learn the story of the craft distillery, the awards they have won and the secret to how they make their rums taste so good. During our 30-45 minute tour we will discuss the following topics: history of Siesta Key Rum, an overview of the awards our small company has won, what makes our rums taste so good, the rum-making process from mashing and fermentation to distillation, barrel aging and bottling of our rums. After the tour, we welcome you to sample a freshly made Siesta Key Rum cocktail, stock up on your favorite rums and browse our gift shop. 2212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Geckos Grill and Pubs Trivia , July 1 – June 1, 7:30 pm

Geckos Grill & Pub’s Award-winning Trivia-Think While You Drink! If you love Trivia, join the fun at Geckos all year round. All Trivia starts at 7:30pm. We will have prizes, giveaways and specials plus the Geckos made-to-order fare, signature cocktails and hospitality you love. Monday trivia will be held at the Clark Road location in Palmer Crossing and on Tuesdays at the SR 64 location in Braden River Plaza. The SR 64 location will be taking a break from Trivia in October, but will start back up in April. On Wednesdays, trivia will take place at the Hillview Street location in Southside Village. www.GeckosGrill.com.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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