New Sun Coast Dining Guide Clicks In

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The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, following on the heels of the success of their printed Dining Guide, announce the the availablity of their enhanced online Dining Guide at

Michael Klauber, president of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals and co-proprietor of Michael’s On East restaurant, announced that the group’s new website is up and ready to help hungry diners plan their evenings. “I think this is the region’s best online dining guide,” said Klauber. The 55 independent restaurants that comprise the Sarasota-Manatee Originals are all represented on the new site. “This is a place where you can virtually plan your evenings---from maps to menus---everything you need to know is just a click away,” Klauber added. The new site features links to Sarasota-Manatee Originals member websites and includes a calendar page that updates interested diners on culinary events throughout the region.

“One feature I think the end-user is really going to like is the Search tab,” said JP Knaggs, the group’s vice president and owner of the Bijou Cafe. “On the restaurant search page you can sort restaurants by Location, Style, Cuisine and Features. Now, if you’re looking for a restaurant on Siesta Key that has take-out Southwestern and Vegetarian, a couple clicks and your choices appear,” added Knaggs.

Both Klauber and Knaggs, plus the other 53 Sarasota-Manatee Originals, are most excited about their first ever Gift Certificate sale. “This is a win-win situation for us and for everyone who enjoys dining out,” said Klauber. Later this month, the website will face the acid test when the Originals offer Dining Certificates from every member for 40% off---only on the web.

For a look at the Sarasota-Manatee Originals fresh new site, visit

About the Sarasota-Manatee Originals

The Sarasota-Manatee Originals came into being in September 2003 as a way to celebrate and maintain the heritage and flavors of the independently owned restaurants in the Sarasota region. The upsurge in population growth on Florida’s Gulf Coast attracted the notice of legions of chain restaurants that became determined to grab their slice of the burgeoning dining out trade. With no deference to local culture and a blind eye to regional cuisine, the chain’s number one priority remained the expansion of their bottom line.

Recognizing the economic threat this posed and cognizant of the chain’s deep-pocketed marketing departments, a handful of independent Sarasota restaurateurs decided to organize and work together to protect the heritage flavors of the Sun Coast. The Sarasota-Manatee Originals were born to become Florida’s first local chapter of the Council of Independent Restaurants of America (CIRA). CIRA has chapters in 16 other cities and works tirelessly to preserve a deeply rooted sense of place with commitment to offering the best of local products and indigenous cuisine.

Nowhere is this sense of independence more important than the Sarasota region. Within a twenty-mile radius of downtown Sarasota, there are more Florida Trend Award and Zagat top-scoring restaurants than any other area of the state and every one of this acclaimed coterie is independently owned.

The main goals of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals are:

  • Increase the awareness level of local residents and visitors about the location and quality of member restaurants
  • Bolster public awareness of the significant social, economic and charitable contributions the Sarasota-Manatee Originals make to the surrounding community
  • Educate restaurant goers about the differences between chains and independents
  • Improve the economic viability of independent restaurants by combining buying power to obtain pricing levels compatible to those available to national chains

The Originals have roots in the Sarasota region---many delighting locals and visitors for twenty to thirty years---and have established a culinary heritage that simply can’t be replicated in the corporate kitchens of Chicago, Los Angeles, or Dallas.

The Sarasota-Manatees Originals have quickly grown from the few nascent visionaries to a 50+ restaurant stronghold. For more information and a list of member restaurants with links to their websites, please visit

CAP Creative                

741 B Central Avenue                    

Sarasota, Florida 34236                 

(941) 953-9191             


Roxanne Joffe


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Fred Malone