Cottonmouth restaurant in Village of the Arts announces opening date

Cottonmouth is the newest restaurant by Chef David Shiplett, who also owns Birdrock Taco Shack, around the corner in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts.

Wade Tatangelo
| Sarasota Herald-Tribune

BRADENTON – The most highly anticipated Sarasota-Manatee restaurant opening to be planned since the start of the pandemic should take place a bit earlier than expected.

Chef/owner David Shiplett aims to unveil Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen to the public Sept. 30 after announcing earlier this summer he would open in October. The restaurant occupies a historic cottage on the main road through Bradenton’s Village of the Arts, near Shiplett’s other eatery Birdrock Taco Shack. 

A casual dining destination, Cottonmouth has indoor seating adored with local artwork as well as al fresco options including a spacious, fenced in backyard area with sprawling trees providing shade and dangling Edison lights. There will also be a covered stage in the back, too, where musicians will begin performing when Sunday brunch launches with the Brown Bag Brass Band on Nov. 8, followed by nationally acclaimed Bradenton-based blues artist Doug Deming on Nov. 15.

Cottonmouth’s tightly constructed menu focuses on Dixieland dishes such as fried green tomatoes, collard greens, and shrimp and cheese grits. “Those are the three things I knew I needed to have on the menu when I started thinking about the concept,” Shiplett said earlier this week. “And fried chicken. I also knew I had to have fried chicken.” 

Before attending California Culinary Academy, before working at fine-dining establishments such as Michael’s On East in Sarasota and the old Poseidon on Longboat Key, before opening Bradenton restaurants Ezra and Soma, and before opening Birdrock Taco Shack five years ago; Shiplett began his culinary career at a Kentucky Fried Chicken located just a few miles from where he was born, at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton 61 years ago.

“KFC was the first restaurant I worked at, at age 15, making two dollar hours, and I was lucky, I had friends working at other restaurants making $1.60 an hour in the early ’70s,” Shiplett said with a laugh. “I got to meet the (Colonel Harland Sanders) twice and I was awestruck. And I always wanted to do fried chicken, but, I wanted it to be worthy of the Colonel, you know?”

Gazing at the new Cottonmouth menu, one’s eyes are immediately are pulled to the Big Plates section and the Cast Iron Southern Fried Chicken Breast dish that comes with collard greens and mac and cheese.

“Uncle Jim, before he passed away, gave me a whole collection of cast iron, a lot that he used over an open flame,” Shiplett said. “And ever since he gave it to me I knew it was the perfect vehicle to cook chicken in; at a nice low temperature, after doing a buttermilk brine overnight so that it’s tender and juicy.”

Other Big Plates include the Bradentucky Meatloafburger with melted cheddar and tomato on Texas toast served with a side of tater tots. While Shiplett originally planned to

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Teenager allegedly fired from restaurant chain over series of ‘surprising’ kitchen videos: ‘It was a mistake’

A 19-year-old is going viral after being allegedly fired from his job over a series of TikTok videos.

The teenager, who goes by the name J Salsa on social media, claims he was a chef at J D Weatherspoon, a popular chain of U.K.-based pubs. That is, until he started recording videos from his restaurant’s kitchen.

J Salsa shared a series of clips on TikTok, during which he makes some of Weatherspoon’s most popular items. In one video, he whips up the chain’s Southern-fried chicken wrap. In another, he prepares an order of halloumi fries.

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Many of the videos impressed fans of the restaurant — which is known for low prices — with plenty of TikTokers sharing their “surprise” that certain menu items were freshly made. Others, like a clip of J Salsa heating a sealed container of chicken korma curry in the microwave, claimed that some dishes weren’t exactly homemade.

J Salsa’s videos have drawn millions of views over the past few weeks — more than enough, apparently, to tip off his bosses.

On September 13, the teenager shared a video in which he claimed he’d been suspended from his job. According to him, his managers made the decision after learning about his TikTok page.

“My managers had a meeting with me today … about the whole situation,” J Salsa explains.

J Salsa said his managers were fairly calm and understanding. Meanwhile, he said he apologized and called the videos a “mistake.” Regardless, he was allegedly told he’d be suspended until the company could hold a disciplinary hearing.

On September 21, J Salsa shared another update claiming he’d been fired for good. The teen seemed to take the news in stride though, saying he understood the chain’s decision.

“I’m not surprised at all, because at the end of the day I did break company policy,” he explained. “I did have my phone in the kitchen and I did post like, in-work stuff on social media.”

He went on to say that his bosses brought up his continued TikTok posts about his suspension, citing those viral videos as yet another reason for his firing.

“I feel like I would’ve been fired anyway though,” J Salsa said. “Because that s*** went viral. It hit headline news like crazy.”

The teen concluded by saying that it’s been “weird” to see his story get so much attention, although he appreciates the “love and support” he’s received online.

J Salsa’s situation isn’t all that uncommon. Plenty of restaurants have rules against sharing in-store videos online, a policy that’s led to plenty of alleged firings.

In August, a teenager claimed she was fired from Chick-fil-A after sharing a menu hack video on TikTok. After the fact, she told In The Know that she “didn’t have any regrets” about posting her clip.

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From nightclub to restaurant: Here’s what it is like to dine at Zouk’s Capital Kitchen in Clarke Quay, Lifestyle News

Among the businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, clubs in Singapore are possibly the worst-hit. While many of our city’s hottest party spots remain shuttered, though, one nightclub is rising creatively above adversity.

Making a smooth pivot from dancing to dining, Zouk has transformed its luxe Capital lounge space into pop-up restaurant Capital Kitchen.

Since the pandemic, this household name has been exploring a number of ventures to stay afloat – from the sale of bottled cocktails to renting out their club space to Lazada for live-streaming.

Capital Kitchen, though, might just be its greatest hit yet. Drawing on the kitchen of RedTail Bar downstairs, it serves up a menu of Asian and Western delights alongside cocktails, sake, and wine.

Housed on the second floor of the Zouk complex, pulsating colour and toned-down tunes build up an otherworldly ambience here.


After taking in the dim and intimate space, the first starter we dug into was the Eggplant Parmigiana ($15).

This highly-praised Italian favourite is well-balanced without the cheese and tomato sauce being too overwhelming – it might even make a convert of staunch non-aubergine eaters. 

We enjoy exploring daily specials and we were looking for something on the lighter side, so the Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallops ($22) fit the bill perfectly.

Topped with ikura and served on a creamy bed of cauliflower puree, this juicy starter pops with umami. The texture of the cauliflower, though, took a little getting used to. 


The much-anticipated mains lived up expectations in terms of flavour and quantity. The meat from the slow-braised Lamb Shank ($38) is so tender that it easily falls off the bone with a tug of the fork.

Not overly gamey, its flavour is retained and balanced well by the luscious gravy.

Seafood and pasta lovers alike should go for @liski_li’s Fiery Gamberi Aglio Olio ($25). The seasoning between the seafood and pasta is consistent and flavourful. Those afraid of spice won’t have to worry as the heat is fairly mild. 


The star of the show was undoubtedly the dessert – Paparch Burnt Cheesecake ($15). Zouk’s collaboration with this local home baker was much-anticipated, given Paparch’s month-long waiting list for just a slice of their creamy goodness.

Boasting a caramelised exterior that gives way to a molten center, this is one piece of heaven you won’t tire of. The price is steep for the portion but hey, at least you won’t have to count down the days to get your hands on it. 


You’ll find it hard to enjoy your meal and the vibe at Capital Kitchen without a tipple or two, so we tried the Asam Guava and Teh Ping from Zouk’s locally-inspired bottled cocktails ($68 for 500ml, serves 5).

Borrowing from our beloved bubble tea and served with tapioca pearls, the vodka in the latter was overwhelming on the first sip and did not gel well with the milk tea. Adding ice helped mellow it out. 

We approve of the Asam Guava – a smooth blend of guava juice

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Bradenton man charged with trying to rape woman in restaurant bathroom

A 32-year-old Bradenton man followed a woman into the bathroom of a Manatee County fast-food restaurant on Wednesday and tried to rape her, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say Alfred Payne Jr. walked into the bathroom behind the victim, locked the door and pushed the victim against the wall. According to the arrest report, Payne told the victim, “I’m going to rape you twice,” and attempted to force himself on her.

Deputies say the woman was able to fight Payne off and escape the bathroom.

The Bradenton Herald is not naming the restaurant to protect the identity of the victim.

According to the report, Payne had gone to the restaurant several times attempting to flirt with the victim and on one occasion exposed himself to her.

Payne was arrested Thursday and booked into the Manatee County jail on charges of attempted sexual battery and false imprisonment. He remains in custody without bond pending a future court date.


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Bradenton man charged with attempted rape at restaurant

A 32-year-old Bradenton man followed a woman into the bathroom of a Manatee County fast-food restaurant on Wednesday and tried to rape her, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say Alfred Payne Jr. walked into the bathroom behind the victim, locked the door and pushed the victim against the wall. According to the arrest report, Payne told the victim, “I’m going to rape you twice,” and attempted to force himself on her.

Deputies say the woman was able to fight Payne off and escape the bathroom.

The Bradenton Herald is not naming the restaurant to protect the identity of the victim.

According to the report, Payne had gone to the restaurant several times attempting to flirt with the victim and on one occasion exposed himself to her.

Payne was arrested Thursday and booked into the Manatee County jail on charges of attempted sexual battery and false imprisonment. He remains in custody without bond pending a future court date.

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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Ambitious Hawaiian ‘plate lunch’ restaurant opens ghost kitchen in Garland

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, an Oregon-born restaurant company, just opened a new location in Garland. The founders and brothers Cameron and Tyler McNie own and operate nine different locations all across the Midwest.

They were first introduced to Hawaiian food when their family bought a Hawaiian restaurant in Oregon in 2003. After working at the restaurant for over a decade, the duo decided to start their own concept in the Midwest and they opened their first location in Belton, Mo., in 2018.

“We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we were going to see 20 customers or if we were going to see 500 customers,” Cameron says. “The first day we opened we saw more customers than we could’ve possibly imagined. I think we served around 600-700 plates that first day.”

The brothers said there was more of a presence of Hawaiian-style food back in Oregon. So, when they decided to open a restaurant in completely new territory, they weren’t sure that their new customer base would be as receptive.

“Belton, Missouri, is kind of a small, rural town in the Midwest,” Tyler said. “And bringing a Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant there, we had responses from people thinking we were crazy opening it out there.”

Cameron says Hawaiian Bros is a unique option.

“We serve a specific niche of Hawaiian food in the plate lunch,” he says. “Poke places are really popular and there is a lot of competition among those. But while that’s definitely another niche of Hawaiian food, it’s significantly different from what we’re doing.”

A standard Hawaiian plate lunch consists of a portion of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée/protein. Hawaiian Bros works within this framework, offering different variations of entrées and proteins, from teriyaki chicken (Huli Huli Chicken) to pulled pork (Luau Pig).

The restaurant’s dessert, Dole Whip, is one of its most popular items on the menu.

“People think of Dole Whip and think of Disneyland or Disney World,” Cameron says. “But we’re also selling it and it seems to be a perfect top-off dessert to our plates.”

With a strong set of menu offerings, Hawaiian Bros have successfully opened nine locations in Kansas City, Chicago, Austin, and now Garland. Five of these are brick and mortar restaurants in the Kansas City metroplex, and the Garland location is one of the other four ghost kitchens, which is delivery and takeout only.

The idea of a ghost kitchen appealed to the McNie brothers because of the low cost of entry and lower level of commitment compared to a dine-in restaurant.

“We’re just trying to get some people used to the food and see how the reception in Dallas is,” Cameron says. “But it’s kind of level 1 to what we’re really trying to do in Dallas, which is open 15-20 brick and mortars in the next 18 months.”

Although they haven’t signed any leases for future brick and mortar spots in Dallas yet, they have been touring dozens of sites across

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Muscle Maker Grill’s ‘Ghost Kitchen’ Restaurant Model Is Riding The Wave Of Social Distancing (NASDAQ:GRIL)

There is a whole ecosystem benefiting from social distancing. Muscle Maker Grill (GRIL) could possibly become the poster child for it.

No one anticipated COVID-19 would have turned our way of life upside down, normal routines such as shopping, gathering and eating out had almost become obsolete. The transition to online ordering took a quantum leap over the past 6 months.

It all started with Domino’s (DPZ) when they announced that they were hiring 10,000 workers to keep up with the demand for delivery during the outbreak. As shelter-in-place orders have lifted, sales are recovering and many chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), McDonald’s (MCD), Yum Brands Inc. (YUM), Starbucks (SBUX), and Shake Shack (SHAK) are trying to get their piece of pie.

These fast food chains are ramping up hiring and investing in mobile ordering and delivery infrastructure, catering to consumers desire to dine at home. Many businesses have struggled during and coming out of mandatory state lockdowns due to the pandemic. But Muscle Maker Grill’s “Ghost Kitchen” strategy may be a survival solution for the declining restaurant industry.

COVID-19 and the Re-Opening Struggle

Covid-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the mix.

Most restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat and only have options of curbside pick-up and delivery. In order for them to make the same amount of money using the social distancing guidelines, they need more space and that costs more money. Owners have gotten creative and with the help of gazebo and circus style tent canopies along with outdoor tables and chairs, were able to open for business under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

But analysts are particularly concerned about the coming winter, which will eliminate these outdoor seating options for many restaurants, and about the demise of the extra $600 in unemployment benefits that had been available for jobless Americans. Eating is a necessity, but eating out may become a luxury. How long Covid-19 lingers, and the state of the economy will be major factors in shaping the recovering in this sector.

No matter where you look the job market is challenging. The restaurant sector really took a hit during the shutdown, but new stats are optimistically trending higher. Restaurant cooks and managers were some of the most in-demand jobs in June, as fast-food chains like Chipotle and Dunkin’ have been staffing up as sales recover. In mid-July, Chipotle announced that it is hiring 10,000 workers. Positions will include “hourly and salaried management positions as well as crew,” according to the company’s press release. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) is also on a hiring spree and looking to add 25,000 people to its workforce, including counter staff and managers, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile Muscle Maker Grill is in expansion mode with a cost-effective new strategy to open “ghost kitchens.” It has also delayed its expansion plans for dine in restaurants. In February they completed an IPO, raising $7.7 million to execute their growth and turnaround strategy.

Their timing couldn’t have been better in regards to raising

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Former kitchen worker at Poole’s Diner alleges sexual assault at the restaurant in 2017

A former kitchen employee at award-winning chef Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s Diner alleges she was sexually assaulted three times in seven months while working at the restaurant.

Kaylin Fulp, who granted The News & Observer permission to publish her name, started working at Poole’s Diner in 2017 when she was 19 years old. She spoke Sunday at a meeting held by the Raleigh chapter of the North Carolina Safety Alliance, a group that shares stories from victims of sexual assault and harassment.

“I was sexually assaulted three times within my seven months of employment at Poole’s Diner,” Fulp said at Sunday’s meeting, according to videos of the meeting live-streamed on the group’s Instagram page.

Fulp attended a year of culinary school, but dropped out due to finances, she said during Sunday’s meeting. In Poole’s she hoped the acclaimed kitchen would be a replacement for a classical training.

At that time, Christensen had won the James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2014. More recently, she won the 2019 James Beard for Outstanding Chef in the country. In 2017, she was also Eater’s Chef of the Year and the News & Observer’s co-Tar Heel of the Year, shared with chef Vivian Howard.

While sharing her story Sunday, Fulp said she had been proud to be hired at Poole’s, calling it Raleigh’s pedestal, and said that it felt great to be picked from among other applicants at the James Beard-winning restaurant. She said that she worked hard to prove herself in the kitchen.

Sexual assault, bullying allegations

In that kitchen, she alleges she experienced three instances of sexual assault by two different employees, as well as bullying and verbal abuse. She said that she took the allegations to the restaurant’s human resources department.

“I tried to do the right thing, I tried to go through HR,” Fulp said Sunday. “When they found out I told on their buddy, (other kitchen employees) bullied me out of my job.”

Fulp referred to the kitchen as a “boys club” and said she left the job despite not wanting to.

On Tuesday, Christensen and Kait Goalen, her wife and AC Restaurants executive director, posted an open letter on the company’s website responding to the allegations. That letter acknowledges complaints in 2017, but said that details shared by Fulp on Sunday were new information to them.

“We respect and appreciate Kaylin so much for what she did when she came forward, and how she helped us and our company grow to be better,” Christensen and Goalen said in the letter. “We are devastated that it came at such great personal cost to her — it shouldn’t have had to. The trauma she experienced while working at Poole’s is not her fault. We are deeply regretful that we failed Kaylin during her employment with our company. We are so sorry.”

Christensen and Goalen declined an interview request, but did submit an additional emailed statement. In that statement, Christensen said Poole’s was unaware of a sexual assault complaint.

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The Garden Room restaurant and bar to open at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

A new restaurant and bar is set to open at Port Lympne wild animal park.

The Garden Room will serve “unpretentious food that celebrates the best of British cuisine”, according to the team behind it.

The menu at The Garden Room has been designed by Executive Head Chef Lee Edney. All pictures: The Aspinall Foundation
The menu at The Garden Room has been designed by Executive Head Chef Lee Edney. All pictures: The Aspinall Foundation

It will be located at the Hythe animal reserve and nestled within Sir Philip Sassoon’s original stable yard and will be the first restaurant within the main reserve to be open to guests not visiting the park or staying in its variety of on-site accommodation.

Sir Philip Sassoon was a politician who previously owned the mansion at Port Lympne before it was taken over by the Aspinall family.

The Garden Room will be open seven days a week and will also introduce a traditional Sunday lunch menu.

In addition, diners who book a table for Sunday lunch will have complimentary access to the reserve.

The menu has been designed by Port Lympne’s executive head chef Lee Edney and will include dishes such as Romney Marsh lamb with confit garlic, broccoli and pearl barley risotto, tuna sashimi with soy and mirin dressing, avocado, orange and tobiko caviar as well as Longland farm chicken with sweetcorn, cep puree, girolles and cavolo nero.

It will be open seven days a week for dinner, and Sunday lunch too
It will be open seven days a week for dinner, and Sunday lunch too

Many of the ingredients will be sourced from the reserve’s very own growers based at Walmestone near Wingham.

An extensive drinks menu will also include unique botanical themed cocktail, locally produced wines and a range of Kent ales.

The restaurant has been refurbished by Interior Designer Victoria Aspinall, wife of Damian Aspinall, and features glass chandeliers, vaulted glazed ceiling, mirrored garden walls and oversized brass lanterns.

Head Chef Lee Edney said: “The new menu will appeal to every taste and showcases the exceptional range of produce available in Kent, including a seasonal crumble with fruits sourced within the Port Lympne and Howletts estate.

“The highlight of this menu is not only its innovative use of great, fresh flavours, but also its commitment to seasonality.”

It opens next month
It opens next month

The Garden Room, which will have seating for 100 people, will open on Thursday, October 1.

Reservation requests can initially be made by filling in an online reservation request at

Port Lympne is already home to a wide portfolio of accommodation and three other on-site restaurants.

The park, run by The Aspinall Foundation, was recently granted permission to start work on Giraffe Hall, a 10-bed boutique hotel that will allow guests to get up close and personal with the giraffes.

Thousands of people are already on the waiting list for a stay .

Earlier this week, the safari experience at the park was halted after a bomb was discovered on site . It was found to contain no explosive content and removed.

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

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The Berkeley’s chic al fresco restaurant The Garden to stay open to end of September

The Terrace

Justin De Souza

Those Chanel-attired, Manolo-heeled matriarchs of Belgravia love this landmark hotel. Rightly so; it’s discreet and charming, but then everything The Berkeley does is executed with such panache, from the Winter Cinema on the rooftop to its now legendary cocktail delivery service on the hotel’s Blue Bar bicycles (which is complimentary for anyone in SW1X).

As Belgravia’s enduring hotspot hotel, this is always the most glamorous staycation address in the capital, with its fabulous Bamford Spa and the most spacious suites with the largest outdoor terraces of any hotel in London. But the hotel has really upped the ante with its latest restaurant, The Garden at The Berkeley, so much so this fabulous summer terrace restaurant will now stay open to the end of September for both lunch and dinner. The Berkeley’s impossibly charming General Manager, Knut Wylde, tells us what makes this urban cocoon so alluring, ‘The Garden at The Berkeley gives Londoners exactly what they have been longing for after months of lockdown and cooking at home – simple and delicious food, a relaxed style of service and a magical setting that we hope transports you to European summer evenings. And, dare I say, a little glimmer of normality.’

And The Berkeley certainly delivers. With an atmosphere of quiet exclusivity, it’s like a little Provençal oasis on Wilton Row, romantically lit with lanterns, festooned with lights and candles and swathed with olive trees and lavender, which has been drawing an elegant crowd on balmy summer evenings for its intimate and informal vibe. The menu is as divine as the setting, where you can feast on warm sourdough with confit garlic and charred vine tomatoes, giant chargrilled prawns and T-bone steaks dripping with smoked shallot butter and chimichurri and a delightfully smoky octopus with lemon and garlic saffron aioli, not to mention a memorable sizzling saganaki with pomegranate and tomato salsa – all cooked outside on Green Egg barbeques.

In these ‘new normal’ times, The Garden at The Berkeley is a model of what a glamorous dining experience should be: transportative, beautiful, incredibly comfortable, with delicious food and the slickest service. Book now.

The Garden at The Berkeley will close on 27th September. For reservations, contact The Berkeley on 020 7107 8833; [email protected]

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