libby's restaurant in sarasota, florida
Libby's is one of several locally owned stops in the Southside Village
berry dessert from Morton's Gourmet Market
One of many sweet treats that can be found at Morton's (Photo: Lauren Jackson)
wrap from gecko's grill & pub
Gecko's Grill & Pub is a perfect family sports grill in the village (Photo: Lauren Jackson)
sushi from pacific rim in sarasota
Sushi from Pacific Rim (Photo: Lauren Jackson)

A Day in the Southside Village

Shop and dine at the chic locations hidden in this quaint district along Hillview Street just south of downtown Sarasota

December 16, 2020

A mere mile south of downtown Sarasota, lies a sprawling neighborhood known as Southside teeming with families in both new and historic homes. This family friendly community has influenced the types of businesses that have settled in its commercial district, Southside Village. As a result, it’s an excellent part of town for the family to visit, offering a comfortable, walkable environment for all ages.

Southside Village is primarily made up of restaurants and small boutiques, so be sure to bring a big appetite and a stern shopping game for your day in the neighborhood.


Begin your day at Morton’s Market. A Sarasota institution, Morton’s was founded over 40 years ago and continues to serve the highest quality groceries and prepared food in town. Begin in the bakery and marvel over the rows and rows of painstakingly made pastries ranging from simple chocolate chip cookies to intricate pies and cakes. Since your day is just beginning we recommend opting for a bagel and a coffee before hitting the town, you can always swing by later for a black and white cookie or fruit tart.

After breakfast it’s time to shop. Southside Village has plenty of shops with something for everyone. Start at Fifi’s, a designer consignment shop brimming with high-end designer clothing at affordable prices. Inventory changes daily, and it’s always a grand time sifting through previously loved items with hopes of coming across the perfect souvenir.  If you’re in the mood for something brand-new, head over to Treat Boutique for laidback Florida fashion for women. The owner stocks the store with wearable beachy clothing and accessories that can take you from the gulf to cocktail hour with no need for a change.


As lunchtime rolls round, the options are seemingly endless. For a fun family-friendly atmosphere, pop into Gecko’s. A local favorite, Gecko’s offers an extensive menu which will appease even the pickiest eaters. Classic American favorites like cheeseburgers, wraps and sandwiches accompany inventive cuisine like tuna nachos and blue cheese chips.

If you’re more in the mood for fabulous pizza and Italian food, walk over to Pazzo. It’s menu consists of Italian classics like pasta fagioli, baked clams and spaghetti carbonara. Their pizza is always hot and crispy and comes with a variety of toppings. The atmosphere is warm and inviting as the staff primarily consists of members of the owner’s family. When you’re there you feel like you’re one of the team, and it hardly gets better than that.

After a filling lunch, it’s time to take a stroll. Wander the residential streets of the Southside neighborhood and marvel at the beautiful homes. Modern architecture stands shoulder to shoulder with traditional Florida bungalows which exude as much character as they do charm. The tree-lined streets are a great way to beat the heat and take in Sarasota’s eclectic environment.


As dinner approaches it’s time to wander back to the village. If you’re looking for something more continental, Libby’s Brasserie offers a French forward menu filled with flavor. The newly renovated restaurant has an effortless industrial vibe which contrasts nicely with its comforting menu with items like brioche grilled cheese, crab and corn chowder, and chicken paillard.

For southern style favorites with creative flare, try Blasé Southern Style. You can’t miss this funky stop with it’s unique, purple-patterned exterior and equally eccentric interior (including a marble curved original bar from Florida’s historic Don Cesar hotel). Menu items include blackened jumbo shrimp with smoked gouda grits, and a mouth-watering gumbo style mac & cheese.

For the casual diners, Origins Craft Beer and Pizza Cafe offers the perfect neighborhood pizza place vibe for families to get rowdy. They offer creative pies like taco pizza and gyro pizza, as well as the favorites like meat lovers and white pizza. The true star of the menu is their baked wings, arguably the best chicken wings in all of Sarasota county.

Pacific Rim is a great place to land for adventurous eaters. The menu offers fresh sushi and Thai style entrees. The sushi counter is a great place to watch the chefs at work and decide which roll look just right for you.

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