Arts & Eats

By Cooper Levey-Baker / Photography By Kathryn Brass-Piper | January 01, 2015
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Arts and Eats

Chef Jim Copening had worked in a number of well-regarded New York City restaurants like Mario Batali’s Esca and Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, but he always dreamed of becoming a chef. When he and partner Donna Slawsky discovered the Village of the Arts in 2009, they fell in love with the neighborhood, and realized they could afford to buy a standalone cottage to open a restaurant.

After months of renovations, the space was ready, and Arts & Eats opened in September 2012.

In New York, Copening and Slawsky tasted a huge sampling of the world’s cuisine, eating in Asian enclaves like Little India in Jackson Heights and Koreatown in Flushing, and those influences are what shape today’s Arts & Eats menu. Like a lamb shank served with couscous, yogurt, harissa, pomegranate, rose, and mint in a tagine made by a neighborhood crafter.

Or what Slawsky calls Copening’s “signature dish”: the “Asian sampler,” loaded with mushroom spring rolls, bok choy, lotus root chips, sesame noodles, and sweet potato dumplings. It’s a buffet of flavor that doubles as a perfect introduction to what Arts & Eats is all about.

Copening and Slawsky both worked as musicians in New York, too, and the restaurant includes a small space for soft live music. You might even catch Copening on bass.

“Jim and I had a dream and our dream took years to come to fruition,” Slawsky says. “When people come in, they’re sharing that dream with us.”

Find it

1114 12th St W
941-201- 6647
Article from Edible Sarasota at
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