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Best bite.

Funny thing about the Brownstone Cafe at 510 Central Ave. is that hardly anybody calls it that--most regulars call it "Earl's." That's because when you sit down at the bar, behind it you see the 75-or-so bottled imported beers available, and next you see a slightly faded sign above the back bar exhorting you to "Eat at Earl's."

Earl Gallaher is one of those urban pioneers who's almost certainly going to do fine in the long term as his Central Avenue neighborhood continues to gentrify. Be sure to try Young's wonderful British chocolate stout or the raspberry flamboise from Belgium on draft. The latest amenity is a private back patio in the wide, clean and breezy alley behind the Brownstone, separating it from the now restored Ace Theater. The patio was initially built for smokers, but many evenings you'll find more patrons enjoying it than are sitting inside at the chess tables or in the booths.

Earl practices the basics of good food, simplicity and fresh quality ingredients. Four salads and five sandwiches are available, or you can create your own combination from whatever Earl has in the kitchen. I prefer the Italian cold cuts hoagie and the spinach salad, but there's a hot Italian veggie sandwich popular with a certain crowd. And the Brownstone Deluxe with roast beef, turkey, ham, Swiss cheese and all the trimmings reminds you that most young men still eat the way you remember.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Brownstone Cafe may not be for everybody just yet. But since there's music some evenings and poetry readings others, it's quietly becoming a very "in" spot.

Hours are 11 a.m. until midnight Monday through Saturday, except when they're not. You can call 365-3354 to check if anybody's answering the phone, or go to www.brownstonecafe.com.
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Title Annotation:Street Talk
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:298
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