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Eat, Walk, Learn - A New Way to Explore Downtown Venice by Heidi Reslow

   We invite you, the reader, to embark on a Historical Culinary Walking Tour presented by Venice Culinary Tours.  Guests gather under the clock at the Venice MainStreet kiosk in Centennial Park, don their special name tag, and make introductions all around.  Once everyone is acquainted, a trained tour guide will take you on a leisurely three hour walking tour, complete with rest stops.  Full time residents, part time snowbirds, guests, and visitors from near and far will enjoy this one-of-a-kind tour.Key Culinary Photo 3

    Your guide will give you an in-depth history of Venice, including John Nolen’s plan to effectively balance his design between two transcendental ideals: civic and nature.  As guests stroll through the City on the Gulf, they will learn about Venice’s unique architecture, its folk lore and hear amusing stories about its host of characters!  The tour will lead the group to four restaurants and two foodie specialty shops.  Guests will receive all kinds of informative tidbits along the route with a few surprise stops.  What better way to spend an afternoon in the company of new friends and being filled up with great food and learning something new about Venice!  

    Our experienced tour guides are chosen for their knowledge of the area as well as their love of food and all things culinary.  They provide an entertaining and memorable event coupled with cuisine samplings to delight everyone’s palate.  What a great way for family and friends to spend quality time together.  Venice Culinary Tours is sure to exceed your expectations, whether you are a newcomer to Venice or a long-time resident.

Key Culinary Photo 1

    Founder Susan Robinson and Venice Tour Manager Gabe Levinson started Key Culinary Tours in Sarasota and expanded their culinary offering to include Venice because of its rich history and tradition.  “Thousands of people stroll the unique shops and gourmet restaurants each day,” says Susan, “and Venice is one of the most charming downtowns in Florida, and arguably the world.”

    Robinson had a concierge business in Sarasota, and received numerous calls for historical tours of Sarasota.  To meet the needs of her customers and their inquiries, she decided to create her own tours.  First, she and her husband went to Miami and in the course of three hours, she learned about one select neighborhood and enjoyed fabulous Cuban food. Her business partner Gabe Levinson is an architect originally from New York whose second love is food. Attracted by the weather, beaches, and architect structures, Levinson moved to Venice five years ago, met Robinson, and together they created Key Culinary Tours.

    A recent Culinary Tour Guest myself, I can attest to Levinson’s love of Venice.  He shares his passion about John Nolen’s master design for Venice and brings to life the buildings of Venice like no one else can.  

    “One recent culinary guest,” Levinson relays, “has lived in Venice for over forty years.  As she listened intently about the Ringling Circus parading through the streets of Venice, she told me that it happened exactly as I described.  This was a walk down memory lane for her, and she could picture it just the way I imaginatively conveyed it on the tour.  For me, it was wonderful to have someone on the tour who actually went to the parade and experienced it in its heyday.”   

Key Culinary Photo 2

   Tour guests continue to rave about their experience.  Livvy Faford had this to say. "The Venice Key Culinary Tour was an afternoon of interesting historical facts about our beautiful city of Venice.  It was fun to try several new restaurants that were part of the tour and we enjoyed the stops at several specialty shops" And friend Nancy Spokowski adds, "As relatively new residents, my husband and I enjoyed hearing various interesting pieces of historical information about Venice from our guide.”  

    The Venetian tour has been operating since December, and is a great way to try new local restaurants, meet the restauranteurs, and experience the cuisine.  The restaurant always showcases a signature dish on the tour.  An international tour is already established in Sarasota and the Robinson-Levinson team is looking to add an international tour to the Venice tour menu.  Other ideas are in the works as well, including a shark and artifact finding tour geared toward families with a guide to show folks the best place to find their treasures.

    For Robinson, she wants people to embrace Venice on both a culinary and historical level.  “We are thrilled to be here and strive to offer an authentic experience to the community.  Sarasota serves as a template for other types of tours, including a Happy Hour themed tour, and Venice equally lends itself for similar types of tours.  Gabe and I continue to fine tune our tour offerings, while maintaining the same quality and consistency.  And through our business partnership with Venice MainStreet, we are able to connect the community with restaurant and destination partners.”

    Tour participants will come away with their heads filled with history and their stomachs filled with delectable delights.  A double whammy at an affordable price of $65.00 per person.  Tours run Tuesdays through Fridays from 2pm to 5pm.  To reserve your space on a tour, please call 941-893-4664 or visit


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