We have several go-to places when we want to dine in Sarasota. One place we always know we can get a great lunch is at Newk’s Eatery. Nestled in University Park – it’s one of only three in the Sunshine State. The others are in Clearwater and Palm Beach Gardens respectively.
What attracted us was Newk’s clean and open atmosphere. Interestingly enough, we found it quite by accident. Actually, we were at The Square at UTC shopping center for another store, saw the sign and were intrigued by the name.
The menus are posted on large boards at the entrance. We were impressed at the number and variety of selections. The choices included hand-crafted pizzas, grilled and tossed salads or grilled and toasted sandwiches.
These combinations all seemed interesting and proved to be a difficult choice. Moreover, we noted a large sign on the wall indicating that these are proprietary recipes. That is, these are flavors they developed themselves in their own kitchens.
Yet another sign we saw proclaimed “Wholesome is the new Healthy,” and indeed, it helped to cement the fact that these folks pay attention to the food they serve.
Moreover, it is easy to watch the food being made. The kitchen is lined in with glass, so we could look right in and see the cooks hustling about. The pick-up window also was there. We watched as dozens of people came in, picked up their orders and headed back to their cars.
Near where we chose to sit was a condiment table. It may have been the best-stocked such facility we’d ever seen. There were jars with pickles, onions, grated Parmesan cheese, capers, jalapenos – even some roasted garlic.
One of our favorites were the sleeves of “breadsticks.” They really more resembled crackers but they were good eating and kept us busy while we awaited our order.
Our choice for lunch was The Farmer’s Market Sandwich. It’s a combination of portabella mushroom, squash, zucchini, spinach, smoked Gouda and a whole lot more. Yes, I know there’s no meat – but it was tasty as well as filling.
And Newk’s is the kind of place that makes us want to revisit to try a number of their other offerings. I was looking with big eyes at The Royal sandwich. That one piles ham, turkey, Genoa salami, roast beef and Swiss cheese on a bun.
There’s also a dozen different kinds of pizza, some of which you can get with cauliflower crust. The Mediterranean and Margherita both caught my eye.
As we said, the quality of the food is highlighted by the dining experience. There are booths, tables and high-tops where you can sit. (We always like the high-tops). The place is ringed with large picture windows so we had a panoramic view of the great Florida day around us.
A thoughtful convenience we found, was the location of the sink. We did not have to go into the restroom to wash our hands. Additionally, it was recessed far enough back that we didn’t block either of the doors.
The Newk’s Experience
We caught the manager on the way out. He told us that Newk’s has about 100 locations in 13 states. Their mission statement says they got into the restaurant business “because we love food.” We’re here to tell you that it shows.
This quickly has become one of our go-to places in Sarasota when we want a place we can rely on. Additionally, we are looking forward to trying the other two locations when we are in Palm Beach Gardens and in Clearwater. But let me tell you, the Sarasota location has set the bar high for quality of food and dining experience.
Those who follow us know we love Sarasota – and this certainly has become one of our favorite restaurants here.