Being involved in the Chamber is truly important to any local business because of their network — they’re involved in a little bit of everything, not only in Sarasota, but also in the state of Florida as a whole.
We’re also very grateful for the Chamber’s development director, Matt Gower (pictured above, at left). He’s been helping us since day one to get involved with the Chamber, and as a result they were also excited to be here and see the finished product. We can’t wait for you all to see it this weekend too! Call (941)706-4740 for your reservation.
We are making lots of progress readying Indigenous to open and are especially excited to show off the redesigned dining room. First, our beautiful tables were custom-made by the to fit the exact specifications of our space. Since we built an additional dining area, we left the main room very spacious and spread out the tables. There’s not an uncomfortable seat in the place.
We also kept the color palate soft and natural to take advantage of all the windows in the house. The dining room is like a chameleon as the sun moves from east to west throughout the day — each hour the room has a different look, so you’ll never feel like you’re in the same place twice. The artwork is going to be a surprise too, but count on Chef showing his personality through the pieces on the walls.
Overall we just can’t help but be impressed by how sexy this place has turned out to be. That’s the only way we can describe it, and we think that’s a very good thing.
When will we be open so you can experience all this loveliness yourself, you ask? Dinner service starts at 5:30 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 7. In the meantime, the staff is going through vigorous training on Chef Steve’s desired service while he perfects the menu. Call 706-4740 to reserve your table today!
And definitely follow Indigenous on and for news, specials and updates! We’ll see you soon!
Just got our custom printed chef shirts in and the lovely Kim Longstreet of DogStreet Pet Photography snapped this great photo so you all can see a preview.
The best part is that they are made from recycled service station attendant shirts (don’t worry, they’ve been washed), like the kind you’d see with “Phil” or “Bob” embroidered on the front.
Obviously nobody but Phil or Bob would have a use for those, so Walt’s Wholesale Clothing in South Carolina buys up all the leftover old shirts and recycles them. Keeping with our mission of focusing on sustainability and a commitment to the environment, we are finding another use for them.
Using our logo, Austin Kowal of Clothesline screen-printed the shirts for us to come up with a truly unique style. Austin was cool enough to do the printing for all of our uniforms, and he did a great job. Clothesline is another local business we are really proud support. We will also have these lovely shirts for sale in the restaurant if you want to help rep Indigenous, Clothesline and Sarasota!
Along with a great menu, you’ve gotta have a great wine list. And we’re working on building an amazing one.
Truly one of our featured wines, our selections from Porter Family Vineyards are just outstanding. The Porters live half of the year in Sarasota and spend the other half of the year tending to their grapes in Napa, so we’re proud to have another local connection on the wine list. Chef Steve met founder Tom Porter when Tom was a guest at Mattison’s Steak House years ago. They got to be good friends, bonding over a love of great wine and food and Chef even prepared wine dinners at the Porters’ home.
Since Tom purchased his winery in Napa he’s become one of the finest wine producers. We really appreciate that they make very small amounts of their handcrafted wines, which shows how much love and attention they put into it.
Naturally we’re excited to feature Porter Family Vineyards selections as part of our unique wine by the glass program: their 2006 Syrah and 2006 Sandpiper (a cab blend). You can also try their 2009 Chardonnay and 2005 Cabernet by the bottle, but the biggest Porter wine we’ll have is called Time. Tom produced just 24 cases of Time, an estate-grown reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and we’ll be featuring a few on our Captain’s List.
Tom’s already grown a solid Sarasota following for his wines so we know they’ll fit right in at Indigenous. Start your night off with some of Chef’s braised short ribs, for example, order the 2005 Cab and follow it with our skirt steak or pork belly. It will be “just killer,” according to Steve. Looking forward to enjoying it with you soon!
Follow Indigenous on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for news and updates on our menu and much more.
We’ve been getting to know our neighbors here in the lovely Towles Court District lately and they’ve been getting to know us too. As residents including studio, salon and gallery owners and even District President Bette Stevens pass by in the mornings, we’ve enjoyed chatting with them over a cup of coffee about the changes we’re making to our location. The good news is they’re all very excited for Indigenous to open.
We understand why! We’re not only improving the look of the neighborhood but we’re also going to help improve business by bringing more people to Towles Court, which is quite charming. A lot of Sarasotans still don’t know about the area, but they will, oh, they will…
The tree-shaded enclave began as a golf course built by John Gillespie in 1905 and was transformed into a residential neighborhood in the ’20s by William B. Towles. After falling into disarray, the district was restored in the ’90s by N.J. Olivieri and hundreds of artists passionate about remaking the cottages and bungalows as a local artist colony. Now Towles Court is home to designers, jewelry makers, ceramists, photographers, painters, fiber/glass artists, art therapists, event planners, internet services and even massage.
Their monthly art walks from 6 to 10 p.m. on the third Friday of the month are also very popular and we’re excited to participate when we open next month. There’s always live music and refreshments and all the studios and galleries open their doors and invite people in to enjoy their one-of-a-kind spaces.
We love the “old Florida” appeal of Towles Court with the mossy tress, native plants and original buildings. It truly is amazing —we strolled through just the other day and marveled at the beauty and relaxed vibe, just a few blocks from the hustle of downtown.
And by the way, there is free, open-to-the-public parking in the large lot directly across from 1938 Adams Lane, in addition to free street parking. Just another reason to visit.
Thank you, Sarasota, for all the interest in Indigenous! We appreciate your many queries about our opening date (this summer!) and menu (online in full soon but you can check out a sneak peek here).
Second only to Chef Steve’s famous scallop succotash, everyone keeps asking “where’s your dessert menu?”
That, too, will be revealed soon. In the meantime, here’s one fantastic dessert description to tide you over:
Imagine a frothy Key Lime curd (a sweet, pudding-like, creamy dessert) made with Nellie & Joe’s Famous Lime Juice and served with fresh ginger shortbread. To this, Chef Steve adds homemade coconut sorbet (dairy free!), topped with his version of Magic Shell. Chef created his own method of turning rich chocolate syrup into a crispy shell after seeing the mile-long ingredients list on the traditional version — and we think his is way better. A sprinkle of crunchy sea salt finishes the presentation, creating a variety of tastes, flavors and sensations combined in your mouth.
“Basically, this is Key Lime Pie on steroids,” says Chef Steve.
We know you all have been driving by the restaurant and seeing all the dust and trucks but haven’t seen much progress yet. Well you wouldn’t know it, but the inside is almost complete! Now, you’ll finally start seeing progress outside too.
As of today we’ve installed almost every phase of our reclaimed Florida cypress fence. We’re really proud to be using this recycled wood form Axley Bros. Saw Mill. which avoids cutting down more of our precious natural vegetation and saves ancient cypress trees that otherwise would be left to rot in the depths of Florida’s many swamps. Here’s a link to great article about the history of cypress logging and reclamation, for those who are interested.
We also love the recycled cypress because it retains its raw appearance as the wood is actually still wet. Every day the fence will change in appearance, drying and weathering as time passes. Cypress also doesn’t attract insects like some other woods do.
Everybody’s been asking, “Are you gonna do it?” “Will it be on the menu?”
It’s the question I always get. With all the excitement around Indigenous, friends keep bringing up the legendary dish. It was the most popular item on the menu at Canvas Cafe — we went through more than 30 pounds of scallops a week. Yes, they’re talking about my famous scallops with a lobster-edamame succotash and baked parmesan grits.
Well, the answer to your question is yes. I listen to my guests and I listen to my friends so yes, we’re going to put it on the menu!
To me, it was a no-brainer. And while I’d love to do the dish with scallops, the market has gotten to be so high-priced I can’t pass on a great value and quality to my guests, both of which are equally important. Until the scallops get to be a bit more comfortably priced, I’ll be serving the dish with whole Key West Pink Shrimp.
They’re actually one of the most desirable types of shrimp in the world and we’re lucky enough to have them practically right outside our door. The ones we serve here at Indigenous are totally unprocessed and will literally go from the water, to the boat, to the skillet, to your plate.
As you all know, my succotash consists of lobster meat, edamame and sweet summer corn in a rich sherry cream sauce. The dish is also great for the season because corn is at its peak right now. And the kicker — my baked parmesan grits — finishes the plate. Because of the technique we use, people who didn’t like grits before try that preparation and it’s an instant turn on.
Of course I will show a new presentation of the dish, so be ready for a surprise when we set it down in front of you later this summer.
— Chef Steve
While we’re VERY excited about painting the place today, we’re also continuing to research and review local produce sourcing options. As many of you have no doubt discovered, “ain’t nothin’ better than goin’ to your local market,” as Chef Steve puts it, but during the hot summer months here in Florida the availability really gets low.
So Chef has been out there hitting the pavement at the Sarasota Farmers Market to look at what will be consistently available for the next few months in order to provide a really rockin’ array of mostly local menu items. He’s also continuing to experiment with recipes at home and has some delicious dishes to share with you once we are open this summer.
Here’s an adorable photo of Steve at the Farmers Market this weekend, taken by Kim Longstreet of DogStreet Pet Photography — Kim just also happens to be Steve’s lovely wife.
As you may have noticed, our beverage selections are integral to the Indigenous experience and Chef Steve has been busy drinking, we mean researching, all the best that Florida has to offer.
The Jai Alai IPA has a very high alcohol content, a strong hop/malt blend and slightly toasted, citrusy bitterness that will be perfect with Chef’s special burger, made with beautiful grass fed beef we told you about last week. Just wait till you taste this burger alongside a frosty IPA! Chef’s recipe was passed down from his uncle years ago in Cleveland and he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to unleash its uniqueness on Sarasota. It’s almost time.