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Business Observer

Café Epicure: The European Life

BY: MARK GORDON | DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR

November 11, 2011

Reservations: Not required.

Parking: Parking availability in downtown Sarasota is often criticized, with spots hard to find in the core Main Street area around the restaurant after 10 or 11 a.m. Still, the restaurant benefits from a new parking garage the city recently built down the street.

One-hour lunch test: Sandwiches and salads came is less than 15 minutes. In and out in an hour.

See and be seen: A high see-and-be-seen quotient. Sarasota’s popular art galleries are across the street, so many art shoppers stroll by for lunch. Professionals, including attorneys and money managers, hold lunch networking meetings there. Tourists also dine at the restaurant, mostly for its European look and flair.

Privacy: Tables along the windows are better for intimate conversations. Tables in the middle rows and the circular tables near the bar are louder.

Ambiance: The crowd is an eclectic mix. People who shop for $10,000 paintings sit next to college-aged students from Europe who hit Café Epicure after Mac on Main, an Apple gear store across the street. Bright colors on the walls and big chairs add to the comfort.

Food: There’s a wide selection of salads, entrees and pizzas. Appetizers and salads are in the $7 to $13 range. Choices include prosciutto e melone, or parma prosciutto with melon, for $12.95, and a Caprese salad for $7.95. Entrées range from veal and grouper dishes for $22.95 to at least 15 pasta-focused options. And there are more than 20 pizza choices, with toppings from anchovies to olives.

Ownership: Business partners Daniele Baroni, Giovanni Migliorini and Alessandro Rossi co-own Café Epicure. They have owned the restaurant since 2000. Born in Italy, Baroni co-owns two other restaurants in downtown Sarasota, including Mediterraneo, also on Main Street.