Sage restaurant, rooftop bar now open in downtown Sarasota

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Sage restaurant, rooftop bar now open in downtown Sarasota

The iconic Sarasota Times newspaper building on First Street in downtown is back in business.

After announcing the renovation in August, Sage restaurant and rooftop lounge opened its doors to the public for the first time at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the three-story, Mediterranean-style structure had been sadly vacant since Ceviche Tapas Bar left in 2014.

On Tuesday, Sharon Carole, general manager Cameron Hall and executive chef Christopher Covelli unveiled their multi-level dining room with a vintage cocktail bar, as well as 3,400 square feet of event space (still a work in progress but already impressive) on the third floor and that rooftop lounge with 360-degree views of downtown.

The menu is being billed as “seasonal and internationally inspired, combining ingredients and cooking styles from around the world” with both vegan and gluten-free options. On Tuesday, a temporary menu, with “January 29th-February 5th” typed on it, was offered to patrons.

Main courses ranged from tacos featuring pork marinated in achiote spice ($19) to the Thai bouillabaisse with lobster, cod, shrimp and scallops in coconut red curry ($39). Ukraine borscht ($10), roasted vegetable terrine with a pistachio pesto ($16) and chanterelle encrusted scallops with a white truffle smear ($19) were among the starters. Variations on the menu items expand the options for vegan and gluten-free diners.

A clever craft cocktail menu includes The Conclusion, made with Azuñia Reposado Tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, orange lemon oleo saccharum and rhubarb bitters ($14). Wines and craft beers from Sarasota and Bradenton breweries are also featured, along with decadent desserts including nightly creme brulees such as Tuesday’s matcha creme brulee paired with seasonal berries.

“Chef Christopher brings such authenticity to every dish, we knew we needed an equally distinct space that lives up to the quality and the character of the food,” Hall said in a statement. “Everything comes together here, making it a complete culinary experience.”

Sage, at 1216 First St., may be reached at 941-445-5660 or