Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Carr's Corner Cafe Is More Than It Appears

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Carr's Corner Cafe Is More Than It Appears

Article excerpt

I love the honesty of the Carr's Corner Cafe sign on the North Trail: "Come in and be pleasantly surprised." Plain black letters mounted on a plain white sign, right beneath the weather-beaten Carr's sign itself -- the background stained brown and black, the teal-colored letters peeling away. The sign might as well say, "Yeah, this place doesn't look like anything special, but the food's great. We swear!"

Which is just plain accurate, because from the outside Carr's doesn't look like anything special. It's a small, one-room, low- ceilinged building on the west side of the Trail, just a hop, skip and a jump from Ringling College. Lattices surround most of the walls, partially enclosing the restaurant's small patio area. Inside, a pinkish-orangish band runs along the walls about waist- high, separating light green brick below from white above. Pitchers of iced tea sit at the ready, right above a gray plastic tray stocked with backup silverware and a Sysco box with more of the white paper placemats that decorate every table. From where I'm sitting, I can see a well-hidden small TV back behind the register. A detective on the screen points a pistol my way.

Former Sarasota Mayor and City Commissioner Dick Clapp sent the Carr's tip my way on Twitter, dubbing the cafe a "great neighborhood place," and indeed there's a very neighborly vibe here. The owner's name, Sharon Carr, is listed on the menu, and many of the faces that come through the door -- Ringling professors, local ACLU honchos, New College students -- seem to know one another.

My lunch companion today: noted potato salad enthusiast Executive Editor Bill Church, whom I've worked for as a freelancer for two years without ever having met. Bill tells me you can always judge a lunch spot like Carr's based on the quality of its potato salad, which seems true. …

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