Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery honored as a 2017 Small Business of the Year

Jim Copening and Donna Slawsky opened Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery in the heart of the Village of the Arts in 2012.
Jim Copening and Donna Slawsky opened Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery in the heart of the Village of the Arts in 2012.

Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery, located in the heart of Village of the Arts at 1114 12th St. W., was named the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year for businesses with less than $250,000 in annual revenue.

The company was founded in 2012 by Donna Slawsky and Jim Copening as a full-service fine-dining establishment, where all foods are homemade, including breads and desserts, and the music is performed live.

“We came from New York City to infuse the local culinary scene with international and ethnic flavors that can be enjoyed with live music, local artwork and superior service. We’ve devoted our lives to that goal,” the owners said in their small business awards application.

“Our goal isn’t just to make money. We do this because of our commitment to our guests, Bradenton and the Village. Arts & Eats is an experience and we’re passionate about providing superior food with a welcoming and energetic atmosphere,” the owners said.

In addition to providing an entertaining experience for its guests, Arts & Eats’ mission is to serve world-class cuisine.

“It is our goal to expose guest to cuisines from all over the world with Chef Jim’s interpretation, using authentic and local ingredients when possible. Every bite at Arts & Eats shows the love, care and passion that goes into all faces of our business,” the owners said.

The restaurant built its customer base by emphasizing food quality, service and music.

“Customer service is as important to us as is the food. Our diners say they feel like they are dining in a friend’s home. Our motto is, ‘Enter as a guest, leave as a friend.’ Guests are always welcomed with a smile and a greeting,” the owners say.

A strong online presence also played a role.

“When we first opened opened, we gave out TripAdvisor cards so diners would review us on site. This quickly brought us to the top of the list for Bradenton. We signed up for Open Table so we could accept reservations online on various sites. We use Groupon and Living Social to drive new diners to our place. Off season, we offer special-price fixed dinners on weeknights,” the owners said.

Arts & Eats also has made a statement about its commitment to the community through its support of Manatee Childrens Services, Feeding Empty Little Tummies and the Creative Percussion Ensemble.

For more information about Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery, visit or call 941-201-6647.

James A. Jones Jr.: 941-745-7053, @jajones1