A high-energy option for Southern comfort soul-food, live bands and down-home cocktails, The Blue Rooster offers the best live entertainment in Sarasota. The noise level isn’t exactly demure. It’s a sprawling, good times space with 24-foot ceilings, industrial lighting, wood-clad walls salvaged from a barn in Georgia and rows of Warhol-style paintings of blues legends that line the walls. Since opening in 2013, it's become a popular spot to hear live music, mainly blues, country and rock, and the kitchen is rocking too, with Chef Michael Yoder who takes simple, locally-sourced ingredients and transforms them into true blue southern comfort food with a hint of sophistication. The brainchild of Devin Rutkowski and his business partner Bill Cornelius, the two "Head Roosters" traveled to blues festivals, juke joints and Southern restaurants throughout the Delta region and Southeastern U.S. before opening the Blue Rooster. The resulting menu includes the 'Pride of the Delta Catfish' served with smothered collard greens, 'Tennessee Shrimp and Grits' served over stone-ground Anson Mills white cheddar grits, and 'Blue Rooster's Famous Fried Chicken'. "It’s a place where people can come and feel comfortable, with a friendly atmosphere, excellent food and original music," said Cornelius. We arrived one night to hear "Biscuit" Miller, a flamboyant electric blues bassist, singer and songwriter born in the south side of Chicago. Raised by his grandmother, his childhood nickname of 'Biscuit' was acquired when just before supper, Miller ate a pan of his grandmother's biscuits. Playing with his band The Mix, this award-winning blues artist belted out songs like 'Belly Up Some Blues', 'Sleeping in the Dog House' and 'Butter On My Biscuits.' Known around the world for his huge, heartfelt smile and his antics as he plays his own high energy brand of funky Chicago-style blues, this is a man who really enjoys what he does and loves getting people on their feet and dancing.
Rhythm guitarist, lead, background vocalist and really nice fellow - “Bobby B”
Myron Robinson, a.k.a. “Dr. Love” is the drummer and one of the original members of Biscuit Miller and The Mix, and who I had a wonderful chat with after the first set
"Biscuit" Miller and The Mix on stage at The Blue Rooster
As soon as the band started to play, people were up on the dance floor
Getting into the 'Biscuit" Miller groove
Kentucky Mule served in a copper mug and made with Bulleit bourbon, ginger beer, mint and lime
The famous Blue Rooster 'Hail Mary', with just the right amounts of vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, and other seasonings and garnished with shrimp, pickle and a big, crisp piece of bacon
Vicolo Pinot Grigio
Cool and crisp on a hot 'bluesy' night
Blue Rooster's famous biscuits, which was very appropriate for our evening with 'Biscuit Miller'!
Blue Rooster Low Country Shrimp and Grits made with six grilled Big Daddy shrimp with sweet and spicy tomato and mango chutney, bacon, served over white stone-ground Anson Mills cheddar grits
Blue Rooster’s Pecan Pie
Recipe courtesy of chef Michael Yoder
1 large egg
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cups Steen’s cane syrup
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 tsp salt
3 to 5 tbsp ice water
Blend together the flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or pulse in a food processor, just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork or pulse in processor until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful, and if it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With the heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one, and press into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Whisk the egg and egg yolks together in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cane syrup, sugar, cream and salt in medium sauce pan. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Once butter has melted, continue cooking the mixture until hot but not bubbling, about 1 minute. Whisk the sugar mixture into the egg yolks a little at a time, just until the bottom of the bowl is warm to the touch, then add the remaining sugar mixture. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
Take pie crust out of refrigerator. Sprinkle the pecan pieces into the pie crust and pour the filling on top. Bake until the centre has a little resistance, like a soft-centered custard, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Best served with buttermilk ice cream.