Tired of the typical Sunday brunch with piped-in music and soggy Eggs Benedict? If so, I have the spot for you. I recently wowed friends with live music and Southern fare at the SundayGospel Brunch inside the Blue Rooster in Sarasota’s downtown Rosemary District. The tunes range from soft and soulful spirituals to raucous blues. Praise the lord, this place is jumpin’!
Our party of ten took a seat up front near the stage. We ordered the signature Hail Mary Bloody Mary while the band Shantel Norman and Truality was setting up, and then we found the buffet. With no shortage of traditional Southern fare, we stared at piles of mouth-watering biscuits with sausage gravy, deep fried chicken or cat fish, scrambled eggs, buttermilk waffles, cheesy grits, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, fresh fruit and salads, and a number of rich desserts from cakes to pecan pies. The Gospel Brunch is a feast for those who savor Southern cookin,’
But the food spread is only the beginning. When we returned to our table, the band was in full swing; Shantel Norman was stomping her three-inch heels and shouting praises to Jesus. Her arms all akimbo, Ms. Norman and her backup singers whoop and testify to the power of the gospel imploring the crowd to: “Give thanks to Jesus for waking you up on this beautiful morning…and while you’re at it, give thanks to Jesus for the Bloody Mary you are drinking!” Oh, yes!
By the end of the show, Norman had plucked people from the audience and gathered a group of dancers to snake around the room waving their arms and repeating “Happy! Happy! Happy!” Teeming with gorgeous vocals, this band clearly has a dedicated following. Shantel and her musicians preach enough conviction to convert any heathen in the room. We all left stuffed with Southern vittles and a belief in the heavenly power of music. Praise the lord!
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”