Save the date for Aug. 8.
On that day, area residents can look forward to a festive event cooked up by SOMA Diner, called SOMA Bash — or rather, the South of Manatee Avenue Bash. The event, which will last from 2 to 8 p.m. in the Old Manatee district, will celebrate the diner’s one-year anniversary in the neighborhood. The eatery, owned by chef Dave Shiplett, has thrived since the doors opened. That speaks volumes in this economy.
But the decision to move there came with some controversy. Some people believed Shiplett was setting himself up for failure in a spot where two restaurants before him failed miserably.
“So many people told me not to come here,” Shiplett said of the spot. “But 10 times more people were excited. This part of town has so much potential.”
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A year later, he’s proven all the naysayers wrong.
His secret: To be really good at his culinary craft and work really hard, he said.
The free Aug. 8 party will be held in Central Cafe’s shady parking lot, between Manatee Avenue and Sixth Avenue East. Neighborhood vendors will be involved, offering something for everybody.
Food — brought to you by Soma Diner, Ark Catering, Ortygia and Central Cafe.
Music — bands will perform every 45 minutes. Shiplett said there will be a mix of local artists performing rock ’n’ roll, blues, bluegrass and hip-hop.
Fun for kids — arts, crafts, face-painting and an assortment of other kid-friendly escapades.
Art — from the Village of the Arts.
And a car show — hosted by Palmetto’s very own Slicks Garage of the national TV show “Tail Fins and Chrome.”
SOMA Diner will host a VIP lounge inside its establishment. Admission to the lounge is $30 to $35 and includes beer and wine plus music by local guitarist John Lawler.
Proceeds will benefit Family Resources Inc., a nonprofit organization in Bradenton. The agency specializes in encouraging personal development in youth and strengthening family relationships. The organization provides outreach, education, shelter and counseling.
Shipplet is expecting at least 500 people to attend the bash. Dogs on leashes are welcomed.
For more information, call SOMA at 748-0002.