Breakfast and lunch diners – easy to love, right? Sure, unless your day barely begins until after 2 p.m. That rule applies to throngs of nocturnals (myself included) who live around Sarasota’s North Tamiami Trail, which often led us to bypass SRQ Grill.
Not anymore. This week, the November-opened eatery attached to the Days Inn is upping its game with extended hours, a dinner menu, and a beer and wine selection. What? Who are you, SRQ Grill? We need to hang out more.
“We were noticing that the college students who live in the area, and the people coming in from the airport, were missing out on us because our hours didn’t fit into their schedules,” says manager Keisha Lawrence, who helps run the place with owner/chef Billy Villasin. “We were responding to a demand.”
As the North Trail evolves, with newer hotspots such as the Coffee Loft and Wonderland Hookah Lounge giving Ringling and New College students no reason to carpool downtown, SRQ Grill would have been silly not to tap that demographic. Now the 21-and-older crowd can hop from latte to shisha to Yuengling, all in a night’s walk. Also, when the Goodwill Supercenter next to Barnacle Bill’s opens on February 20, patrons can add shopping to the itinerary.
As soon as SRQ Grill gets its 5 to 9 p.m. dinner schedule rolling (by the weekend it will likely be in full swing, though the drinks are already available) expect some of the same staples from the lunch menu: chicken pot pie casserole; beef tenderloin, shrimp and chicken shish kabobs with yogurt dill dressing; and homemade soups such as split pea and New England clam chowder.
Beverage-wise, there is Corona, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite and the aforementioned Yuengling, all in bottles for $2.95 to $3.95. Wines include pinot noir, cabernet, merlot, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc for $4.50 per glass. Draft ales and more bottles are on order, and there will soon be acoustic music and a happy hour.
Grab a table inside and sink into one of the blue-and-green upholstered chairs while watching four flat-screen TVs, or lounge outside. There are 46 seats total, as well as free Wi-Fi, and of course, the option to book a hotel room (take note, staycationers). SRQ Grill is open seven days a week, with morning/afternoon hours running from 7 a.m. to 1, 2 or 3 p.m.
“We’re excited to bring in a whole new crowd and have more people discover us,” says Villasin, a culinary veteran who has operated and worked in hotels and restaurants throughout Miami, Sarasota and Philadelphia since 1980. He was also a chef for United Airlines for 13 years and the previous owner of Annie’s Café & Deli in the Meadows.