Bradenton Area’s culinary partners make sustainability a top priority
PROTECTING OCEAN WATER QUALITY
Dining in the Bradenton Area means experiencing local flavor in its purest sense. From vegetables picked hours before serving to restaurants that cook your catch, the meals you enjoy here will be those you couldn’t eat anywhere else. The Bradenton Area’s rich agricultural history has supplied chefs with locally raised ingredients, making dining here an adventure. Numerous restaurants feature regional Floribbean cuisine, consisting of seafood staples such as grouper, shrimp, and stone crab, along with tropical fruits and flavors originating in Cuba, Jamaica, and other Caribbean countries.
Here’s how our culinary industry is leading the way on sustainability.
In the Bradenton Area, several initiatives keep the local fishing business a leader in sustainability.
“The commercial fishing culture here in Cortez is deep-rooted, going back over 100 years. Now, our commercial fisheries are some of the most sustainable in the country,” said Captain Jarrod McKenzie, a local commercial and charter fisherman. “It’s our role to ensure that future generations can catch the same crabs and fish for the next 100 years.”
“In fact,” says McKenzie, “the stone crab fishery is 100 percent the most sustainable fishery I’ve ever been a part of.”
Because stone crabs can re-grow claws, when they are caught, only one claw is taken, and the crab is released back into the water. A year or two later, that same crab has a large claw and a small claw, and the fishers will take the largest claw and again release the crab. Because stone crabs are generally only served from October through May, the crab fishery is healthy, continually growing and regenerating.
The snook fishery is another example of the local fishing community prioritizing the long-term health of the fish population. McKenzie has caught young female snook and routinely releases them back into the water so they can breed.
Gamble Creek Farms is a 26-acre certified organic farm that grows more than two dozen crops, from bell peppers to beets to papaya and bananas — and nearly all of its harvest supplies numerous restaurants in the Bradenton Area. This partnership allows visitors to enjoy fruits and vegetables picked within hours of being served. The crispness, juiciness, and flavor of local Bradenton Area produce are unequivocally superior to produce shipped to arrive on your plate. Gamble Creek Farm also adheres to a 360-degree philosophy to generate minimal waste by composting trimmings for fertilizer.
It doesn’t get any fresher than the grouper, which is often cleaned right at the on-site docks. The fresh, classic Florida cuisine includes fish tacos, grouper, mahi mahi, and seasonal shellfish, house-smoked ribs, and pad thai.
Euphemia Haye & The Haye Loft
This 28-seat fine dining restaurant offers an eclectic a la carte menu boasting award-winning global and American food in a relaxing tropical garden setting. Upstairs, Haye Loft extends to decadent desserts and craft cocktails in a distinguished yet comfortable atmosphere.
Located in Lakewood Ranch, the menu is inspired by international favorites. The GROVE serves brunch, lunch, and sushi and often features events such as wine and spirit tastings.
Blue Marlin Seafood
The menu includes fresh catches from the Cortez fishing fleet, including grouper, snapper, cobia, and hogfish. Favorites include shrimp, stone crab, oysters, and the local favorite — Cortez smoked fish spread. Sometimes the owner even catches the fish with his brother-in-law, a local fishing charter captain.
Locally sourced and organic products are the cornerstone of Ortygia’s menu, influenced by the chef’s Sicilian heritage. Located in a restored bungalow in Village of The Arts, the menu changes based on seasonal farm-to-table ingredients and is a favorite among locals and visitors.
Sandbar Seafood & Spirits
Grouper, clams, shrimp, and other local specialties are served in a historic location that has been the site of dining and celebrating since the early 1900s. Sandbar participates in numerous sustainability
initiatives as part of the Chiles Hospitality Group.
The chef-owned Mattison’s, partners with regional farmers to source fresh, local ingredients to craft their American, Mediterranean, Asian, Caribbean, and Italian favorites.
Star Fish Company Dockside Restaurant
This 100-year-old eatery in the historic Cortez fishing village serves a hearty smoked mullet — a shallow water vegetarian fish plentiful in local waters — and other local favorites. Dining is sure to transport visitors back in time.
Take equal parts Manhattan -style martini bar and Irish pub, then mix in creative salads, fresh local and exotic seafood, perfect steaks, beers from around the globe, fabulous wines, and a beautiful brick interior. Shake (or stir).
At this fishing lodge-turned-restaurant, sample gator and catfish. Gator meat, a Florida delicacy, has high protein, and the tail meat tastes like veal. The way Florida farms raise and process alligator makes it a sustainable alternative to many other meats.
Star Fish Co. Blackened Fish Tacos and Slaw
With over 100 years of experience, Star Fish Company has provided guests with delicious Florida seafood dishes, including their famous slaw recipe below!
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 8–10 oz. crushed pineapple (do not drain)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
- 1 Tbsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Preheat a frying pan and coat with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Dice fish of your choice into half-inch-sized cubes. Toss in blackened seasoning and coat evenly.
- Add seasoned fish cubes into the heated pan, being careful not to crowd the pan.
- Cook 2–3 minutes on one side, then flip each piece of fish over. Cook an additional 2–3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a small tortilla (flour or corn will work) in a separate heated pan.
- Add 1 Tbsp. shredded cheese to the tortilla and cover, allowing cheese to melt.
- Remove the tortilla from the pan, add cooked fish to the tortilla, and top with slaw.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.
Celebrating Cortez’s Iconic A.P. Bell Fish Co.Read more: Celebrating Cortez’s Iconic A.P. Bell Fish Co.
Hike Along the Bradenton Area’s History TrailRead more: Hike Along the Bradenton Area’s History Trail
Back to AngolaRead more: Back to Angola