Summer Dining

May 28, 2021 at 2:52 p.m.
Summer Dining
Summer Dining

By Sharyn Lonsdale

Summer Dining
In our ever-changing world and dining scene, life changes in a flash. Restaurant openings are delayed due to lingering issues from the COVID-19 crisis. Masks are mandated one day and optional the next.
The good news is, just as outdoor dining becomes a bit too hot for some, indoor dining is at full capacity almost everywhere and fully vaccinated people can dine comfortably without masks.
Still, many of us have gotten used to picking up food and having it delivered to our door. Mango Bistro will continue to offer free delivery within five miles of its Dearborn Street location for orders of $20 and more, on Mondays through Thursdays. And now that most people are returning back to the office, they are also ready with party platters of wraps and sandwiches.
There are also more options for dining out, with the recent addition of Cape Haze Tavern and with Libee’s Sports Bar & Grill and Tjs Market Grill both opening soon. While many restaurants are still experiencing staffing issues and have had to alter their hours, others are doing fine. However, if you are looking for restaurant work right now, if you’re experienced, you can likely walk into your favorite place and leave with a job.
The news is also good for local entertainers who struggled during the pandemic. Restaurants are booking, audiences are back and there’s even dancing. As always, the best way to stay informed on who’s playing where is to follow your favorite entertainers and venues on Facebook.

Libee’s Sports Bar & Grill
Scott and Sarah Libertore, owners of Libee’s Sports Bar & Grill at 1859 Englewood Road (Lemon Bay Plaza), have been in overdrive preparing for the restaurant’s grand reopening on Friday, May 28. We won’t dwell on the setbacks and delays, but Scott Libertore said, “It was really hard to get through the pandemic. The community rallied around us. Literally everyday 10 people came by and thanked us for what we were doing.” Libee’s had been open for patio service and to-go orders since February, 2021 while the interior was being remodeled. “It’s a brand-new restaurant, you won’t recognize it,” said Scott. In addition to a new air conditioning system, kitchen and seating indoors, outdoors and at the bar, they added a pizza oven and even more TVs, bringing it up to a total of 44. “We really want to provide the best that we can in this town,” said Scott. Sarah added that they were thankful to be able to retain most of their staff, as well. Libee’s does have a new chef. Jim Baselici came to Libee’s from a resort on Ana Maria Island. “He’s bringing creativity to a traditional sports bar menu,” said Scott. Added Sarah, “It’s a sports bar, but you can also come here on date night.”
“I feel so elated that we are here and overcame all these obstacles and can provide this to the community. It’s great to be at the finish line,” said Scott. The grand opening is at 5 pm and Libee’s will be open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 am to 9 pm. Visit Libee’s on Facebook.

Tjs Market Grill
It’s not open yet, but Joy Kierstead has been welcoming curious passersby into Tjs Market Grill for weeks, showing off the Louisiana-themed restaurant’s brightly-colored rooms and the chandeliers she made herself. “We’re all about the locals,” said Joy, who enjoys the tours. The restaurant took over the location at 8501 Placida Road, most recently the home of Placida Grill and formerly home to the popular Zydeco Grille, which also offered New Orleans fare.
Kierstead’s husband, Tim Kierstead, is the chef/owner of Tjs. He had two previously Louisiana themed restaurants in Springfield, MO and Okotokas, Alberta, Canada. Joy said the couple moved here December 31, 2020 “with just our clothes.” She said that they hope to open mid-June, as long as they are fully-staffed. With a total seating capacity of more than 160, Joy, who will manage the front of the house, has been interviewing potential staff every day. “We might have to open just at dinner,” she said.
That dinner will include New Orleans mainstays like Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding. Freshly-shucked oysters will be available at the bar. Of course, there will be entertainment. One of the three rooms in the restaurant is the Jazz and Blues room, and that’s what you can expect to hear on weekends.
To request an interview, visit or call 941-214-5545. To stay updated on Tjs’ opening, visit Tjs Market Grill on Facebook.

Savor Sarasota
You’ll have to wait until September for the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual local dining promotion Let’s Eat! Englewood. But from June 1-14, you can enjoy a similar multi-course meal deal at Visit Sarasota County’s Savor Sarasota. Diners enjoy at least a two-course lunch for $16 and three courses at dinner for $32. Farlow’s on the Water is the only Englewood restaurant participating in Savor Sarasota (at press time). However, there are also three Venice restaurants, including the iconic Crow’s Nest and Fins at Sharky’s. The best deal I’ve found so far, Ristorante San Marco in downtown Venice, offers three courses plus a glass of wine at lunch for $16. For the most up-to-date restaurants and menus, go to