Lunchtime can be a challenge. Do I want to bring my lunch and eat in the office where I’ll never get an actual break from work? Or, should I go out to lunch with a coworker, rush to a restaurant, wait to be seated and gobble down lunch in a rush to get back to work? How do you relax? Sometimes I need to use my lunch hour picking up a birthday gift or hostess gift for an outing I’m going to that weekend. So, when is there time to eat?
Last week I discovered a unique and fun way to enjoy my lunch hour while also picking up a hostess gift and listening to live music! What a treat! And what a welcome to The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime.
I heard about the new business a couple months ago. Located in a warehouse situated on a lot between Apricot and Lime Streets, I turned west on 8th Street to find this adorable coral colored warehouse, but I could just as easily followed the aroma of smoked chicken and ribs wafting down the street. I’d heard the Bazaar had introduced a barbeque vendor to the mix of local artisans with booth space in the Bazaar. I’d also heard they had a cute bakery selling some of the “best chocolate chip cookies” in town, so I figured I’d enjoy lunch wandering this haven of creativity, just northeast of downtown Sarasota.
Before ordering lunch, I took a stroll through the Bazaar on Apricot and Lime, and it certainly lived up to the buzz I’d been hearing about it. Lining two sides of the warehouse, with a row of vendors in the middle, the Bazaar is home to a plethora of great gift ideas, from mid-century modern cocktail glasses and barware to antique collectibles, clothing, various home decor items and a few splash-from-the-past items, like sock monkeys and colorful gem brooches in the shape of butterflies, bees and dragonflies.
I will confess that I walked straight back to the Create Bakery table, where baker/owner Amy Mills was featuring a daily special of puffy donut cookies. (!!!) Although I’d been inspired to purchase the chocolate chip cookies prior to my visit, it was the velvety texture of her Lemon Pound Cake that enticed me to eat my dessert before I even ordered lunch.
Amy has hosted a bakery table since the Bazaar at Apricot and Lime opened, and she’s ideally located near a scattering of small cafe tables where one can sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy her scratch baked goods. But . . . not me! I was on a mission to check out the other offerings at the Bazaar, so off I went, lemon pound cake in hand, discovering some delightful locally sourced crafts and decor.
I was happy to see my friend Keffie Lancaster was expanding her booth at the time of my visit. Keffie is an interior designer with great taste in all things cute and memorable. Infant wear, candles, artwork and my favorite tea towels on the planet are featured at her booth. Next to Keffie’s space was a unique booth for anyone looking to demystify their life . . . a $20 tarot card reading from a psychic. That would be a fun stop with a girlfriend!
Also on the scale of unique and interesting are the number of artisans who not only hold booth space at the Bazaar but also teach classes! There’s a booth where you can learn how to weave, another that offers classes in acrylic pour paintings, and a booth where you can watch local artist Karen Chandler do portraits, both of people and pets!
And speaking of pets, The Bazaar at Apricot and Lime has a few friendly pet ambassadors ready to give you a snuggle and enjoy a pat or two on the head. I was also pleased to see a number of guests walking through with their well-behaved pets, though I don’t know how they behaved having to walk past the barbeque smoker located out by the front door. The aroma is calling my name . . .
Being a SarasotaFoodie, I’m always pleased to see local beekeepers marketing honey from our area. The tropical plants and flowers offer a Sarasota sweetness to the local honey, and Bee Blessed Honey offers small tasting straws of their various flavor profiles so you can taste, or pack some with your lunch!
Lunch, (and curiosity,) were the initial reasons for my visit, so I headed back to the front entry to order up some Big Boy’s BBQ, hosted by Leroy Burton, a 21 year Army Veteran. Leroy offers chicken, ribs and vegetable kabobs with your choice of 2 sides. (Chicken is $8 and ribs are $12.) The choice of sides rotates daily, with a creamy mac’n cheese and green beans on the menu that day, though I heard his coleslaw and baked beans are equally delicious. I ordered the chicken and was instantly impressed with the portion size of the chicken as well as the sides. Leroy told me he’d be smoking meat since he was 13, and often cooked for his buddies in the Army, so opening his own barbecue business was always a dream of his. Good thing, too! The chicken was seasoned with Leroy’s secret spice rub and smoked to a crackling crispy skin, with juicy tender meat.
This is classic barbecue chicken, and so on point that I decided to save some for my husband Mart to taste. When I walked in the door he had his back to me, and before saying a word to him about my lunch, he spun around and said: “What smells soooo delicious!” (My dogs were wondering as well.) Bringing Big Boy’s Barbecue to the Bazaar was a perfect choice, as he attracts employees to the Bazaar from a number of surrounding businesses!
Taking my lunch back inside to the little cafe tables by Create Bakery, I was pleased to enjoy live music from a local band playing original music. A number of other guests joined me to listen in, most also taking advantage of the bakery and barbecue, like me!
Before leaving I took another swing through the Bazaar, picking up even more great gift ideas. Fish Out of Water features an artist who takes mounted trophy fish and paints them colorful colors that turn that trophy into a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
I was also impressed by the colors and creativity of Valerie Roberts of A Change Of Heart gallery. Valerie is the artist who teaches acrylic pour-painting, which she was happy to show me how blowing through a straw, pouring through a dish strainer or using a hair dryer can change the visual created while the paint is still wet. Some of her work looks like natural stone, while others appear be be a view of other galaxies. (I especially liked her side tables.) Most of the paintings were only $30, and you can purchase a table she’s already made or order one with your particular color scheme. These are great conversation pieces.
Let me say this: Narrowing down what I was going to buy was a lot harder than deciding what I would like to buy.
I appreciated knowing that everything you buy at The Bazaar at Apricot and Lime is unique and locally sourced or made by a local artist. The owners of the various booths couldn’t be nicer, creating an atmosphere that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind to a simpler, special place where smiles are free, generous and genuine.
I could have taken a hundred more photos, but I’ll leave you with this last one. . . As a Realtor, I loved these paper placemats. $2 each or 6 for $10, what a great way to dress a table for those listing photos! Mix or match . . . you decide. But you need to get over to The Bazaar at Apricot and Lime to pick out your favorites.
NOTE: The Bazaar at Apricot and Lime is only open from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on Thursday – Saturdays. They are available to host special events and art classes. Call the Bazaar for details!