Roast (1296 1st Street, Sarasota, 953-1971, roastsarasota.com), the latest incarnation in a charming, vine-covered building near the opera house, has opened. The location has been home to an antique shop (The Conversation Piece) and numerous restaurants, most recently First Street Chop House.
Chef/proprietor Andrew Thompson (former executive chef at Polo Grill & Bar and owner of two restaurants in London) has refurbished the upstairs piano bar into a more comfy waiting lounge with cocktails and light bites; added a modern yet more intimate vibe to the main dining room and transformed the gracious courtyard to a dining area (and bar) with fire pits and a rotisserie to accommodate special dinners like pig roasts and crab boils.
General Manager Frank Zilleckes explained that the menu emphasizes roasted food like grouper, Cornish hens with Madera cream sauce and a bone-in rib eye. There also are grilled entrees, pork osso bucco and neck of lamb, tagine-style.
For lunch, Roast offers soups, salads and sandwiches or combinations of these selections. There are Mulligan and chickpea soups and sandwiches like shrimp salad on brioche bread, steak with onion jam and turkey with avocado and bacon. Wedge and arugula salads may be enhanced with a choice of proteins. House-made desserts include panna cotta and raspberries on shortbread.
The new restaurant provides three full bars, catering and space for private parties.
Roast is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; until 10 p.m. on weekends and serves brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.