Blue Rooster Press
SRQ MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2018 BY
“The blues is a culture. From its origins in the furtive backrooms of early juke joints, the blues went on to influence country, bluegrass, folk and everything in between. And within the broad blues genre, few things have come to characterize the music more than the jam. Sometimes a jam is little more than an excuse for friends to get together and drink a couple beers, slosh through old songs and laugh about it. Other times, a jam gathers virtuosos for an improvised musical spectacle so cohesive it seems scripted.” more:
VOTED BEST LOCAL MUSIC VENUE!
Recognized by the readers of SRQ | The Magazine, 2018 Best of SRQ Local Annual Readers Competition! We at Blue Rooster are proud to be selected the BEST LOCAL MUSIC VENUE by you, our visitors, and SRQ Magazine!
LIVE UP WITH ELLEN CORNELIUS
Read the full article with Ellen about the Blue Rooster!
Brunch With a Side of Soul
By Niki Kottmann , Observer
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016
It all started with a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.” On a family trip to watch the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Bill Cornelius stopped to eat in an old house-turned-restaurant in Social Circle, Ga. It was there, after watching a server sing the song to an unsuspecting customer, that he fell in love with gospel music.
Enjoying Gospel Music From A Barstool
By Wade Tatangelo , Herald-Tribune
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Shantel Norman stomps her high-heels for emphasis, singing and shouting and smiling and cajoling the crowd to give thanks to Jesus. “Give thanks to Jesus for waking you up on this beautiful morning and give thanks to Jesus for that plate filled with good food in front of you and, while you’re at it, give thanks to Jesus for the bloody mary you’re drinking….”
The Blue Rooster kicks off a long weekend of exciting national acts October 9 at 8 pm with Nikki Hill, a talented young woman with a killer backing band that allows her to deliver the blues with a sexy, swinging edge recalling a dream pairing of Tina Turner fronting the Rolling Stones in 1969.
PETERSON BROTHERS BAND AT BLUE ROOSTER
By Wade Tatangelo , Herald-Tribune
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Blues duos with a rock edge are nothing new, especially following in the footsteps of The White Stripes and then Black Keys, but there is definitely something fresh and thrilling about The Peterson Brothers Band playing The Blue Rooster on Thursday. At 18, Glenn Jr. Peterson is the big brother band leader, singing and playing lead guitar while accompanied by his 15-year-old sibling Alex on bass, violin and backup vocals.
Rukkus Adds The Blue Rooster to It’s Top 100 Places For Live Music
10. Feb 2015
From The Stage
In this day and age, you never know where the night can take you. I’m sure we’ve all ended one night or another thinking to ourselves–how did we end up at this random spot where the music was way too loud and the food way too mediocre?!
Luckily for you, the Rukkus team scoured the country for the best places to listen to live music while enjoying a cold drink. So next time we hope you won’t find yourself standing in a corner at an overpriced club drinking a $47 appletini. Cheers!
#69: The Blue Rooster
A comfort food favorite, the Blue Rooster offers live music every week at their Sunday Gospel Brunch, complete with a Southern buffet.
Read full article and see pics at RUKKUS
October 15, 2014
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Bar Tab review: Blue Rooster (updated with video)
An anchor business in the burgeoning North of Fruitville neighborhood, Blue Rooster plays an important role in the downtown Sarasota scene, especially the nightlife and weekend scene. For enthusiasts of music inspired by the traditional sounds of the South, Blue Rooster, which opened in January of 2013, is the top destination spot in the county. On Wednesdays the restaurant typically hosts the area’s best jazz artists, while Thursday through Saturday local, regional and national acts with a more rock-leaning style usually occupy the stage. Sundays are generally reserved for the gospel brunch followed by a blues jam in the evening. While Blue Rooster might be guilty of booking some local acts a bit too frequent it consistently puts quality live music in its funky, high-ceiling, solid acoustic room adorned with the portraits of rock, blues and country heroes.
September 2, 2014
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Selwyn Birchwood at Blue Rooster
We have been fans of Selwyn Birchwood for years (perhaps you saw our April cover story on him). Now, it seems the whole blues world has finally become a fan of the Tampa-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and ace showman. Credit winning concerts nationwide and his recently released Alligator Records debut “Don’t Call No Ambulance.” In addition to rave reviews in the main blues publications, Rolling Stone gave the record a glowing write-up.
“His band, his material, and both his skilled guitaring and soulful vocals are the essence of fully-formed; Birchwood is a major player, the sort of artist that assures his blues-devoted label many more years of prominence to come, and most importantly, a damn fine listen through and through,” reads the RS review. “Highly recommended.”
June 30, 2014
By John Bancroft
Blue Rooster: Worth Crowing About
If you, like every right-minded epicure, are a fiend for authentic, kicky Southern fried chicken, pick up the phone now and book a table at Blue Rooster, the restaurant, bar and blues venue one door east of Darwin’s on 4th in Sarasota.
Since opening last year, Blue Rooster has become a popular spot to hear live music, mainly blues and rock, almost every night. But the kitchen is rocking, too. Like such Sarasota gems as Nancy’s and Owen’s Fish Camp, Blue Rooster has created an updated version of old-time Southern juke joints. Chef Michael Yoder, who has cooked at such local favorites as Fred’s, Morton’s and Roy’s, brings off the perfect combination of downhome food and a touch of sophistication.
June 11, 2014
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Frank McComb remembers R&B great Donny Hathaway
He’s a jazz and R&B artist who has also worked with hip-hop heavyweights. Frank McComb’s résumé includes session musician for Philadelphia soul pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff as well as lead vocalist and keyboardist in Branford Marsalis’ critically-acclaimed, jazz-rap fusion project Buckshot LeFonque. Oh, yeah, McComb also backed DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
“That was very different than anything I had done,” McComb says, laughing, by phone from his Los Angeles home. “But Jeff (Townes) and Will (Smith) were very musical rappers. Jeff approached turntables like instruments.”
March Issue, 2014
By Kristine Nickel, Photography by Mark Sickles
Growing up, every Sunday following church our extended family gathered at my grandmother’s house for fried chicken dinner. It seems incomprehensible today that we would spend an entire afternoon preparing and eating a dinner, let alone a meal where there were a dozen members of our family. Today, I connect with those cousins via Facebook frequently, but in person? Maybe once a year if I’m lucky. The point of all of this reminiscence: fried chicken.
We are living during the culinary renaissance of fried chicken. Sure we’ve all snuck a bucket of KFC home occasionally when we were feeling in the need of some finger lickin’ solace. But to go out to an upscale restaurant and find fried chicken, and its new BFF, a waffle, on the menu, well, that’s just astonishing. It wasn’t hard to find fried chicken in Sarasota upscale eateries either. What was difficult was narrowing down the fried chicken we wanted to recommend.
Read Full Article and See Pics (page 30)
March 26, 2014
By Mallory Gnaegy, A&E Editor
A&E Picks and Highlights – Chef’s Special: Sunday Gospel Brunch
Every week live traditional and contemporary spirituals accompany a buffet of more than 20 Southern-comfort menu items. $24.95 for adults; $12 for children 12 and under; free for children 5 and under.
Favorites include farm-raised catfish dusted in corn meal seasoning; thick-cut fried green tomatoes in buttermilk lime dressing; deviled eggs made with Duke’s Mayonnaise and Creole mustard; classic fried chicken and a piece of moist chocolate cake for dessert.
March 25, 2014
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Special Consensus brings ace bluegrass to Blue Rooster
Credit The Blue Rooster, a key player in the booming NOF — North of Fruitville — district for not only serving tasty Southern comfort and Dixie-inspired cocktails but booking an impressive array of bands spanning various styles of feel-good roots music. This Saturday’s headliner, The Special Consensus, happens to be one of the finest purveyors of bluegrass in the land.
Led by ace banjo picker Greg Cahill, the acoustic quartet began gigging across the Midwest in1975. Since then, the band’s popularity has steadily grown with The Special Consensus earning a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass album in 2012 for the outstanding collection “Scratch Gravel Road,” an exciting amalgamation of tradition string music goosed with blues, swing, newgrass, and country styles.
March 5, 2014
By Jake Coleman, SRQ Media Group
[Good Bite] Lord Food
To supplement our brunch spotlight in the March issue of SRQ, I checked out The Blue Rooster’s recently commenced Sunday gospel rendition. It’s all-you-can-eat buffet, costs $24.95 a person and offers a range of Southern staples while gospel singers belt and croon traditional worship tunes.
My plates were, mostly, a patch-work piling of edible non sequitur: one held buttermilk biscuits with their sawmill gravy next to cheese grits, mac and cheese, fried green tomatoes, and another piled up the chicken and waffles, deviled eggs, fried catfish, carbs and greens. It’s the M.O. of owner Devin Rutkowski to take classic Southern dishes and give them a twist, but I was particularly impressed with a couple of the depictions. I loved the spice of his collard greens that held a well-rounded flavor stemming from house-made chicken broth sauté, spiced up pork taste through a ham shank and secret ingredient seasoning. At home, we eat plenty of sweetened yams, but I’d never had the decadent flavor of sorghum sweet potatoes paired with the heat of diced jalapeños and roasted peppers. It was a creative touch that worked.
January 20, 2014
By Abby Weingarten, Herald-Tribune
Chef Talk: Michael Yoder of the Blue Rooster
For nearly two decades, Michael Yoder has been becoming a pro at cooking sophisticated southern fare and working with the freshest, real ingredients. Before joining the Blue Rooster (1525 Fourth St., Sarasota, 388-7539, blueroostersrq.com), he was a chef de cuisine at Fred’s and Morton’s, as well as a sous chef at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Sarasota and chef/partner at the Philadelphia location.
Tell me a little about your cooking background before the Blue Rooster.
I’ve been in food service for about 19 years, and I started like most professional chefs, as a dishwasher, then moved through the ranks. In the kitchen is where I thrived and was in awe of what was going on. My first sous chef position was at the Chelsea Grill on Main Street in the late ‘90s. I spent another seven years with Epicurean Life as a chef de cuisine at Fred’s, and with their catering company, Morton’s, before moving onto Roy’s.
December 30, 2013
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Selwyn Birchwood Band at Blue Rooster, Sarasota
Selwyn Birchwood excels on vocals, guitar and perhaps most importantly, stage presence. This blues (young) man is an outstanding entertainer who wows crowds with everything from chops to charm to spectacles like crawling along the stage on his back while soloing.
Based in Tampa, The Selwyn Birchwood Band took top honors at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. The win placed the group first out of more than 240 bands from around the world. In addition, Birchwood won the Albert King Award for “Best Guitarist.”
December 22, 2013
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Damon Fowler on new album ‘Sounds of Home’
Yep, he’s bringing it all back home. Roots guitar hero, singer, songwriter and former Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler has just finished recording his third solo album for Blind Pig Records, after spending much of the past year touring with the blues super group Southern Hospitality. Titled “Sounds of Home,” Fowler’s album has a Jan. 21 release date.
Swamp blues master Tab Benoit produced the disc at his Whiskey Bayou Studio in rural Louisiana. Fowler’s forever bassist Chuck Riley and longtime drummer James “Big Country” McKnight joined him in the studio. The trio performs New Year’s Eve at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota.
November 13, 2013
By Gerry Calipault, Herald-Tribune
Soundboard news and live music calendar, Nov. 14-20
The Lauren Mitchell Band and the Delta Swamp Rats are heading to Memphis for the 30th annual International Blues Challenge in January, but they need a little help getting there.
Sunday evening (Nov. 17), the Blue Rooster in Sarasota will host a fundraiser to help defray the costs of the road trip for the two acts. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with the Delta Swamp Rats going on at 5 p.m. and the Lauren Mitchell Band playing at 7. The cover is $10.
Both are representing the Suncoast Blues Society at the IBC, with Mitchell and Co. competing in the band category and the Delta Swamp Rats (Steve Arvey and Anthony Smith) performing in the solo/duo competition.
September 25, 2013
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Connor Christian & Southern Gothic at Blue Rooster: interview
Connor Christian & Southern Gothic have spent the past three years headlining clubs and playing to seas of thousands as the opener for the biggest acts in country and rock. On Friday, CCSG will make its Sarasota debut at The Blue Rooster. The band is touring in support of its sonically diverse and lyrically rewarding third full-length “New Hometown.” It reached No. 17 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart earlier this year despite coming out on a rather small independent label that mostly only promotes throughout the South.
“That was a surprise for everybody,” says Connor Christian while enjoying a rare day off at home in Atlanta. “Billboard comes up on the screen and we start looking in the 60s and go to 100 and didn’t see it. We were hoping to crack the top 60. I couldn’t believe to see it at 17.”
The 32 year-old Christian adds, “Now we want to see if we can get a real major label to put out the next album and get it in the hands of people across the country. I’m proud of this album but the next record may be even better. I’m excited to make that jump from a self-released first album to indie to major label.” ….
Doug Deming is doing yard work around the pool on a recent weekday afternoon at the Bradenton home he shares with wife Claudia. It’s hot outside. Hot for anyone, but especially hot for this Detroit native who has only been in Florida since 2010. But the grounds need upkeep and it’s rare for Deming to have much time for anything but traveling and performing these days.
“We’ve been really, really busy,” he says, slightly out of breath, “ever since June, right through August.”
The singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader of the jump blues group Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones estimates he spent 75 days on the road this summer “in just about every state east of the Mississippi River, and a few to the west.” Deming’s band specializes in a joyous, highly danceable style of the blues that flourished in the 1940s and became fashionable for a short while in the 1990s during the swing revival.
Deming will bring his jump blues back to some of the area’s top roots music venues starting today with a gig at Ocean Blues in Sarasota. On Friday, it’s The Ale & The Witch in St. Petersburg followed by The Blue Rooster in Sarasota on Saturday. Deming’s weekend will conclude with a Sunday show at Flounders Restaurant and Tiki Bar. ….
The Blue Rooster has booked a smart, exciting triple bill for Saturday. It’s three of the finest Americana acts in Florida, with each one bringing something singular to the genre marked by organic music that recalls classic recordings by acts ranging from Bob Dylan and The Band to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Roadkill Ghost Choir, from DeLand, bring a 1990s alternative rock edge to the folk formula while Orlando-based Thomas Wynn & The Believers are purveyors of a more sinewy brand of roots rock.
Bradenton-based Have Gun Will Travel, which has been creating as much buzz for their tasty High Road Ale lately as their terrific music, perform melodic folk-rock. It’s marked by the gripping lyrics and emotive vocals of singer-songwriter Matt Burke. Chances are, HGWT will be performing some material from their album “Fiction, Fact or Folktale,” due out Sept. 10.
Roadkill Ghost Choir / Thomas Wynn & The Believers / Have Gun, Will Travel 8 p.m. Saturday, The Blue Rooster, 1525 4th St., Sarasota; $15; 388-7539;blueroostersrq.com ….
August 1, 2013
By Marty Clear, Bradenton-Herald
Bluesman JP Soars plays Sarasota
When he first started playing the blues, JP Soars had a secret he had to keep from the musicians he played with.
He had spent years as a metal head, playing around Florida in bands with names like Raped Ape, doing shows with Marilyn Manson and hanging out with the guys from Deicide and Obituary.
“When I was playing in metal bands I was already getting into blues,” he said. “I had already seen B.B. King and even met B.B. King. When I started playing blues I kind of had to hide my metal past from the blues guys. It took me a long time to tell them about it.”
He doesn’t hide his past anymore, and in fact audiences can hear traces of metal even in down-home blues he specializes in now.
“It’s accumulation I’ve learned over the years,” he said in a phone interview from his Boca Raton home. “My music is firmly rooted in the blues, but I’m way into Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt, so I try to throw bits of jazz into my music. And I try to put some of the energy of metal into it, too.”
Local music fans hear what that jazz/metal/blues hybrid sounds like when JP Soars & the Red Hots come to the Blue Rooster in Sarasota on Friday.
Soars plays guitar — often a cigar-box guitar — and sings. He’s backed by a drummer and a bass player.
“It’s a lot of stuff I wrote, but I throw in some obscure covers, too,” Soars said. “I do some Muddy Waters songs. But I always try to throw my own little twist into them.” ….
Blues guitar slinger, singer and songwriter JP Soars and his Red Hots band documented their first European tour with the sizzling new CD “Live from the Netherland.” It’s a rich collection of varied originals peppered with choice covers such as Soars’ awesomely nasty rendition of Johnny Guitar Watson’s “Gangster of Love.”
Soars, he lives in Boca Raton, is also part of the group Southern Hospitality (check out my Ticket cover story) with pianist/vocalist Victor Wainwright and former Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler (guitar, vocals). Southern Hospitality was just nominated in the New Artist Debut Release and Blues Band of the Year categories for the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards.
8:30 p.m. Friday; The Blue Rooster, 1525 4th St., Sarasota; $10; 388-7539; blueroostersrq.com ….
She has toured with Jimmy Buffett, released two albums on major label MCA Nashville and appears on the final record by Louisiana songwriter legend Bobby Charles. Yeah, Beth McKee has led an interesting life.
A sultry vocalist, she shares her tales over a cozy backdrop of blues, zydeco, soul and swampy R&B on her latest album “Next to Nowhere.” It’s a collection of originals that find the singer/songwriter establishing herself as one of today’s top Americana artists following a recording hiatus that ran from about 1996 to 2008. AllMusic.com, one of the most read and trusted record review sites online, gave “Next to Nowhere” four out of five stars. Similar glowing reviews have poured in from other publications nationwide. McKee sounds simultaneously excited and embarrassed about all the praise.
“It’s very flattering,” McKee says by phone from her Oak Ridge home just outside Orlando. “I can’t say more than that I try and tuck those things in the back of my brain and not let my head get big; but it does help beat back the insecurities sometimes.”
McKee, a youthful 52, will be at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota on Friday accompanying herself on keyboards and accordion with backing from husband Juan Perez (drums) and Dan Walters (bass).It will be a “funky and intimate songwriter set,” McKee says. ….
June 27, 2013
By Writing Staff, Sarasota Magazine
Exactly What To Do in Sarasota This Summer: Blue Heaven
You really need only one reason to visit the Blue Rooster, and its name is Bourbon Waffle, a smoky-sweet delight of a drink. But once you’ve got one of those in your hand, you need tunes, and while the Rooster’s food is more than decent, it’s the stage up front that makes the place stand out. A well-designed and great-sounding venue, Blue Rooster hosts a wide variety of local acts, most of them rooted in blues and country—like Bradenton standouts Have Gun, Will Travel. A perfect destination for those sticky summer nights, when only the most down-home sounds will do. 388-7539, blueroostersrq.com. ….
Mike Imbasciani, a 16-year-old blues-rock guitar prodigy, plays the Blue Rooster on Saturday (from 8:30-11:30 p.m.; $5). The Fort Myers native, who has been playing professionally since age 11, opened the 21st annual Sarasota Blues Festival in 2011 when he was 14.
The following night, the L.A.-based all-acoustic Gonzalo Bergara Quartet brings its blend of progressive Gypsy Jazz to the Blue Rooster. Bergara, a native of Argentina, is inspired by the 1930s guitar work of Django Reinhardt, as well as the Hot Club of France. The band played the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, in March. Tickets for Sunday’s show, from 8:30-11:30 p.m., are $10 advance, $12 at the door. ….
Australian blues woman Anni Piper’s current U.S./Canadian tour has her playing shows in Sarasota (Wednesday at Blue Rooster) and Bradenton (Thursday at Aces Live) this week.
The singer, songwriter and bassist has been a star in her homeland for nearly a decade. In 2004, Piper’s”Jailbait” album won her “Best New Talent” at the 2005 Australian Blues Music Awards.
Subsequent album releases include 2007’s “Texas Hold ‘Em,” 2010’s “Chasin’ Tail” (released by Blues Leaf), and her newest, 2013’s “Split Second,” which was a recent “Pick to Click” on SiriusXM’s popular Bluesville show. ….
June 14, 2013
By Linda Day, SRQ Media Group
Passerine: Songs in Flight
The melodic, almost haunting sounds of contemporary bluegrass/folk band Passerine could easily be the theme music for a biopic of Sarasota. Its blossoming arts scene, the modern bluesy tunes that creep down narrow roads and out of cafes mix well with the weeping moss on the trees and the free running miles of beach, sand and water. It’s the purity of an untainted oasis that makes the city so special and Passerine offers the same organic passion in its music.
David Brain (dobro), Tanya Radtke (vocals, acoustic guitar), Sara Moone (vocals, fiddle), Dave Baker (vocals, bass) and Carmela Pedicini (vocals, acoustic guitar) make up the group distinctly named after the bird for its revealing and inspiring nature. And the musicians are no less intriguing. Passerine’s style has molded itself around the internal epicenter of each member. Says Pedicini, “Our sound has evolved very naturally without a lot of self-consciousness about it. We knew we wanted to build on acoustic string band traditions and we just felt our way into our collaboration. Each of us brings different skills and talents to the mix and it has been important [for us] to recognize those talents and let them shine.” ….
Passerine has a few things to take care of before embarking on its second big tour in August.
First off, the Sarasota-based Americana quintet has two shows coming up at the Blue Rooster, 525 4th St., Sarasota: 8:30 p.m. Saturday (June 15) and on July 6. They also hope to finish up recording their second album, which has a working title of “Nest of String.”
From there, they’re hitting the road, big time. ….
June 7, 2013
George Worthmore “Live At The Blue Rooster” CD Pre-Release Listening Party and Concert
In April George Worthmore got together with Steve Arvey, Melanie Massel, Rebecca Bird, and Sudie Brattli to record the first ever CD recorded at the Blue Rooster. George has just returned from mixing the record in Nashville at the studio of National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Richard Smith. You can come down and hear George Play and hear the new album before the CD release party and before it is even pressed. ….
Folk troubadour Grant Peeples returns to Sarasota, playing at 9 p.m. Friday (May 24) at the Blue Rooster, 1525 4th St. He will be accompanied by Atlanta fiddle/mandolin player Tim Higgins. The show is free, but you can call 388-7539 for reservations. ….
May 21, 2013
By Laura Reiley, Food Critic, Tampa Bay Times
New Sarasota restaurants worth the drive: Made, Blue Rooster, Louies Modern
The noise level at the Blue Rooster isn’t exactly demure. It’s a sprawling, good-times space with live music six nights a week and a juke joint vibe with a gargantuan bar and community tables. Industrial lighting, wood-clad walls salvaged from a barn in Georgia and rows of Warhol-like paintings of blues legends signal “fun,” but hip fun. It’s in a part of town, north of Fruitville, that only recently has become a restaurant row. Darwin’s on 4th and Station 400 preceded the Blue Rooster, the block now teaming with cars of would-be diners.
The coin of the realm here is fried chicken, which you can have over-the-top with waffles and a whiskey maple syrup ($18), or more sensibly by the piece on a leaf of velvety bibb lettuce that somehow accentuates the crispness of the not-overly-breaded skin and the lushness of the meat (pieces $2-$5.50). Killer yardbird, whether you have it accompanied by minted cole slaw (perfect, with just enough vinegar tang and mayo to hold it together) or clearly housemade baked beans studded with smoky kielbasa and flavored deeply with Steen’s cane syrup.
But wait, before you get to the chicken you’ve got to spend a little time with biscuits. Hot, tender, flaky, served with a tub of rich honey butter and another of pepper relish. I promised myself I’d never write “melt in your mouth,” but, you know. ….
How would you like a side order of punk to go with your country and bluegrass?
A day before it plays WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave in Ybor City, the Atlanta-based Whiskey Gentry will play the Blue Rooster on Friday (May 10).
The band, led by the husband-and-wife team of Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow, has a new batch of songs and also will play tracks off its self-released 2011 debut album, “Please Make Welcome.” ….
Big Al and the Heavyweights play Louisiana blues as I sample Bourbon Waffle cocktails and sweet potato pie. This is a recent Friday night at Sarasota’s Blue Rooster — one of the central restaurants in the fairly new dining/shopping/bar-hopping district known as North of Fruitville (NOF).
Off the main downtown Sarasota drag, across Fruitville Road, NOF has only had its moniker since November, but the area has clearly been undergoing a renaissance for about three years. The fare and entertainment options are now as diverse as the landscape, roping in thirty-something young professionals and retirees.
“Within the next five years, we’re going to be the destination,” says Darwin Santa Maria, who launched Darwin’s On 4th in December 2011 and coined the NOF term with Blue Rooster co-owner Bill Cornelius. “I’d like to see this area become the next Denver.”
Eclectic buildings — from a reassembled 19th-century train depot to bohemian bungalows and brand-new structures with trendy lofts — create the fresh NOF ambiance between Orange and Lemon Avenues. The architectural backdrop makes popping from place to place a leisurely pursuit. ….
April 17, 2013
By Molly Schechter, Sarasota Observer
Foodie dines north of Fruitville
There is a lively restaurant scene north of Fruitville these days. There are no fewer than five options for dinner, from blue jean-casual, American regional (Blue Rooster) to as haute-as-it-gets in Sarasota (Pomona), with a good dose of Latin American for spice (Savory @ Night, Canta Rana and Darwin’s on 4th).
These eateries are mostly new and chef-owned. What they have in common, besides location, is the proprietors’ passion and creativity. And they amount to a literal feast of choices, pun intentional.
Note: Some of these restaurants are open for lunch, but the focus here is dinner. …
Signature dishes: Shrimp and grits and fried chicken and waffle
Southern comfort food, unique “warehouse” vibe, music six nights a week
Foodie and friends’ comments: “Fried chicken!” “Best biscuits in town.”
“Very fun ambience for friends and a good time get-together.” ….
April 16, 2013
By Wade Tatangelo, Herald-Tribune
Paul Thorn on his fave song; famous fight
Paul Thorn, the singer-songwriter whose roots rock can regularly be heard on WMNF (88.5), wants another shot at boxing legend Roberto Duran. Just not in the ring this time. Back in 1988 when Thorn made a living as a professional pugilist, his most famous bout came against Duran. Nicknamed “Hands of Stone,” he’s probably the greatest lightweight in the history of the sport. Thorn grew up with Duran’s poster on his wall and then at age 23 he got to fight his hero, who was mounting a successful comeback at the time.
“He won, he was the better man,” Thorn said when reached by phone at his home in Tupelo, Miss. “I came to win, but it’s a huge jump from being good and great; I was very good but I could not compete with the elite like him, he was a monster, ugh!”
Yeah, Duran won the nationally televised brawl but Thorn, who performs Sunday at The Blue Rooster in Sarasota, landed some devastating punches (see video below). The New York Post called the bout a “bloodbath.” ….
April 11, 2013
By Roger Drouin, Sarasota Observer
Signs of change appear in Rosemary
Even as Derek’s Culinary Casual announced it planned to relocate from the Rosemary District to Bradenton, the area is showing some signs that it is still open for business. In addition to the Lolita Tartine, the Blue Rooster, a live-music venue and restaurant, opened in January on Fourth Street, and an investor purchased 6.5 acres April 1, with plans to build rental units along the northern edge of the district.
In an email March 27 to the restaurant’s customer base, Derek’s owner/executive chef Derek Barnes cited a lack of progress in the Rosemary District — which has long been slated for redevelopment but saw businesses close or leave the area as a result of the downturn in the economy — as a main impetus for relocating.
But Coutelle sees things differently in the north-of-downtown district. He thinks positive changes are coming, albeit slowly. “I think it is really the future,” Coutelle said.
A recent city project to add 100 on-street parking spaces is one of the positive changes, Coutelle said.
As more businesses like Lolita Tartine and the Blue Rooster open, the district’s proximity to Main Street, combined with the availability of parking, will make the area a draw for residents and tourists, Coutelle said.
Improvements will happen “block by block,” Coutelle said. ….
April 10, 2013
By Charles Schelle, Sarasota Patch
Blue Rooster has Soul in its Food, Music
The Blue Rooster is more than a blues bar with some food—it’s a refined version of Americana.
The southern comfort food restaurant opened Jan. 5 and is continuing to make tweaks and improvements to its menu of food and music along the way to put down roots north of Fruitville Road at 1525 Fourth St.
Co-owner Bill Cornelius handles the music, and thank goodness he didn’t follow through on opening up an ice cream shop because it might not have led to the Blue Rooster.
“I always wanted to open a blues bar, but my wife wouldn’t let me open one unless I had a partner,” Cornelius said. So with the misses’ permission, he found his business partner in a neighbor—Devon Rutkowski. ….
April 9, 2013
By Steve McAllister, SarasotaMusicScene.com
The Sarasota Music Scene Is For The Birds
Sarasota seems to have an infatuation with indigo avians, and as the Blue Owl has flown off into the Tavern on Main to hum more drinking songs than actual music, it is fortunate that the Blue Rooster has set up its perch to let artists truly crow. The Blue Owl was a suitable venue in its time, offering a nice blend of Sarasota’s musical matrix, but it was never truly amenable to artists that wanted to really stretch their wings. However, at the Blue Rooster, the stage is not only inviting to song birds, it allows them to fly. ….
Although adjacent to Darwin’s on 4th, the atmosphere at the Blue Rooster is considerably more energetic. There’s live music nightly, a menu that treads heavily on Southern and low-country classics and a vibrant bar scene. ….
You made the scene with the Blues Room in Jo’burg. Any plans to open up a live music venue here?
“I don’t see that happening right now. I sold the Blues Room so I could concentrate on playing guitar again. Besides, Sarasota’s already got a great live music venue for rock blues in The Blue Rooster, which recently opened. It’s a great place to play and see music.” ….
One of the top Americana acts around, Have Gun, Will Travel, will conclude its Southeast tour Saturday with a performance at the recently reviewed Blue Rooster in Sarasota.
The Bradenton-based American band’s outstanding third album, “Mergers & Acquisitions,” came out in late 2011, marking HGWT’s first release for Denver-based Suburban Home Records.
HGWT first made a splash on the national scene with the 2008 album “Casting Shadows Tall as Giants” and continued the momentum a couple years later with the equally stirring “Postcards from the Friendly City,” a paean of sorts to Bradenton. ….
The recently opened Blue Rooster owes a lot to Darwin’s on 4th and Station 400, its next-door neighbors. Those spots blazed a trail north of Fruitville, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Sarasota’s core, creating a destination for people seeking good food in interesting surroundings.
Blue Rooster capitalizes on this with an atmosphere that fits easily into the area while still creating a sense of space all its own. The restaurant is tucked into a block of historic old-Sarasota buildings, but the interior is that popular blend of old and new, rustic and industrial. One wall is covered in bricks set at varying depths, with aged wood panels set horizontally up to table height. You’ll find more artfully worn wood throughout the place and the servers wear uniforms reminiscent of 1950s mechanics’ garb. ….
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013, by msolu
Wow! The needle on the Sarasota “Cool-O Meter” just moved up again with the recent opening of Blue Rooster. And let me tell you, this joint has a southern, urban, upscale, bluesy flavor so very much all its own.
We had stopped into Blue Rooster for a sample of their southern inspired cocktails just after they opened, and knew within an instant the place would be a hit. Only three days open and they were packed! After viewing the menu, we decided to come back with my daughter and son-in-law so could we sample more features from the menu than the two of us would normally share. So, on this occasion we came, we saw, and we stayed to savor the menu of local executive chef Michael Yoder’s amazing southern-inspired cuisine and crafted cocktails. Cool!….
January 22, 2013
By Joe Hendricks, ThisWeekInSarasota.com
Photo Gallery: Blue Rooster Grand Opening
The three-day grand opening of the Blue Rooster restaurant and live music venue created quite a buzz around town. During the celebration, friends and family members of owners Bill Cornelius and Devin Rutkowski were joined by a wide variety of local business owners, movers, shakers, socialites, hipsters, musicians, writers, food and drink aficionados, live music lovers and other curiosity seekers.
During the Thursday, Jan. 17, grand opening kick-off, the David Smash Group entertained party-goers with an evening of swinging blues music and the entire block was hopping, with Miss Peru Universe appearing at Darwin’s on 4th and the horn-driven EMEFE performing at the WSLR music venue. ….
January 17, 2013
By Nick Friedman, Sarasota Observer
Sarasota Rosemary District welcomes fresh faces
Customers with a taste for Southern food and live music have a new haven in the Rosemary District. The Blue Rooster is one of several new businesses moving into the district, which was set for growth before the recession hit.
Co-owners Devin Rutkowski and Bill Cornelius describe their venture as a live-music venue and restaurant, and they take pride in the authenticity of both its food and live music.
The restaurant puts its spin on traditional Southern comfort foods, including its signature entrée, chicken and waffles. The venue boasts 24-foot ceilings, a mixing board, house speakers, stage monitors, a sound technician and, according to Cornelius, the best live music in town.
After scouting the Sarasota music scene for the last three years, Cornelius is confident that the venue will satisfy the town’s music-lovers by hosting some of the area’s best blues, bluegrass and roots musicians.
“I think people are hungry for something like this,” he says. ….
Start out with Southern-style “comfort food” and “feel-good” music performed by top-notch bands, toss in a “Bourbon Waffle” cocktail and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer; add two dashes of post-50 entrepreneurial spirit , serve it up in a newly renovated industrial-chic “warehouse” and what you have is the The Blue Rooster—Sarasota’s newest dining and live music venue.
Located at 1525 4th Street, a block north of Fruitville Road in downtown Sarasota, The Blue Rooster opened its doors to friends and family with a soft opening on Saturday, Jan. 5, with Radio Free Carmela & The Transmitters christening the wooden-floored performance stage while familiar faces sampled the food and drink. ….
I waited for what felt like a month of Sundays for last weekend evening, when The Blue Rooster (1525 4th St., Sarasota, 388-7539, blueroostersrq.com) finally opened to the public. I skipped the Saturday soft open with rocking Americana group Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters, hoping to make my first experience a regular night as an average patron … one I guessed to be an often-repeated treat.
I corralled Mr. Date into an early dinner, thinking that there’d be a line around the block right at 5 p.m. The previous night’s revelries must have satisfied a lot of appetites, however, as we didn’t meet any resistance getting in the door. I’m glad there wasn’t anyone charging in immediately behind us, because I had to stop and take it all in. ….
January 8, 2013
By Party Girl, Sarasota Magazine
New Restaurant Buzz: Blue Rooster opens North of Fruitville
The Blue Rooster is a soul-food joint, with wood siding on the walls, waffles and collard greens on the menu and plenty of personality on the staff. A big-boned bleach-blonde with a bunch of piercings holds the door open for us, and we’re greeted by a group of hip downtowners checking out the hot new thing during a “Friends and Family” party before the restaurant’s official grand opening. ….