Since opening in Siesta Village in 2002, Max Lazzari's Maximo has combined Mazzari's native South African and Italian roots for eclectic cuisine. Late last year, he added the Safari Bar, which draws young people searching for an alternative to the loud throngs that crowd the village on weekend nights. Now he's even placing beds on his deck on Saturday nights to create an outdoor lounge. Ciao, as it's called, mixes Euro sounds with a playful environment where anything can happen. 149 Avenida Messina, Siesta Village. (941) 346-7865.
Sarasota hotels have never been labeled hip or chic. Many are older, outdated or being pulled down to build condos. But now Hotel Indigo, a boutique chain owned by InterContinental Hotels Group, is building a hotel from the ground up at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Boulevard of the Arts, to open mid-2006. InterContinental often renovates historical buildings; perhaps the old Ringling Hotel could have found new life if it were still standing? Visit www.hotelindigo.com.
Thanks to tours and events planned under Martie Lieberman's leadership, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation has put Sarasota back on the architectural map. Now SAF leads its first tour outside of Sarasota, June 11 and 12. William Morgan's spectacular Atlantic Beach houses in Ponte Vedra will be the focal point, with architect Morgan and author/professor Robert McCarter leading the tour. They'll also visit Gainesville and Jacksonville, including a stop at a famous Paul Rudolph house. Info: (941) 365-4723 or www.williammorganarchitects.com.
Salon off Central
Central Avenue continues to attract the cool and creative. Already home to architects, designers and tech companies, Central now welcomes a former Sarasotan, stylist Mercedes Gyorgy, who's opened The Studio, A Private Salon, on Fifth Street off Central. Gyorgy was lured to L.A. by Cher to work at Jose Eber Salon on Rodeo Drive. Soon after, she was styling the locks of Hollywood, including Liz Taylor and Heather Locklear. 1375 Fifth St. (in the Hood Building). (941) 954-1121.
Digital 3 is bringing big-city graphics to local-and national-firms. Comprising Ringling grads Kyle Cross and Nick Burch and recent arrival Steven Coleman, the company has found clients mostly on the east coast of the United States, but Sarasota has been a growing source of projects lately. Last August, Design 3 moved into a former boat-painting facility off Central and remade it into a lofty studio that exhibits works of local artists as well. 1419 Boulevard of the Arts. (941) 330-9159.
Sarasota streets have been running hot with $100,000-plus models from Benz to Bentley. Now there's a way to save a little when buying these high-demand vehicles. At the former site of Panache on the South Trail, Paradigm Motors offers a buying service that can save you over $10,000 per car. Want to find out more? Take a drive to 5101 S. Tamiami Trail. (941) 929-1215.