32940 Magazine — 2012-2013
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Shopping & Dining
Maria Sonnenberg

Eat your fill, shop 'til you drop… all at 32940!

Hometown traditions, national chains offer the area’s best

From the mother of shopping centers, the gorgeous The Avenue Viera, to cozy mom-and-pop establishments such as Vic’s Discount Liquors, and from chain eateries to family-run restaurants, the 32940 area rules in both the shopping and dining department.

While it’s easy to fall for the selection and convenience the Avenue Viera major department stores and giant retailers offer, the Viera and Suntree community also boasts a plethora of small stores where the unusual as well as the expected can be found.

At Vic’s Discount Liquors, for example, raise your glass to a formidable array of spirits, mixers, wines, beer and tobacco. The Suntree store is an around-the-world tour of libations, representing almost 100 different brands of vodka, more than 120 brands of rum and approximately 50 different bourbons, champagnes(including legendary Dom Perignon) and tequilas. On the shelves are also more than 200 cordials and liqueurs, more than 100 different beers from around the world and a selection of wines that represent the best vineyards from 15 countries. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate Vic’s weekend wine tastings. Gift ideas, from corkscrews to recipe books, abound, too.

Owners Kathy and Vic Macki operate under the “momand- pop” philosophy of personalized excellence. “Our goal is to provide the best customer service and the fairest prices in town,” said Kathy Macki.

Nationally known retailers such as Walmart and Target have a strong presence in the area and generously contribute to the community, too. The Viera East Market Center and the Shoppes at Murrelle additionally enhance an already superior shopping experience with unique stores and restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, fans of national chains will get their fill with Longhorn Steakhouse, Five Guys Burgers, Melting Pot, Mimi’s Café and many others. Some of the area’s restaurants even border on destination status. Take Pineda Crossing Bar & Grill, a gem that can be both homey and elegant at once. Diners from throughout Central Florida are attracted to this casual gourmet restaurant that takes pride in the diversity, presentation and taste of its dishes, from seafood to meats. At Pineda Crossing comfort food such as fried chicken happily coexists with delights that can include roast leg of lamb Prince Charles. Pineda’s panfried crabcakes and blue crab bisque drive diners wild, too, as do the to-die-for burgers.

Just off I-95 is a best kept secret the locals cherish: the $9.95 nightly dinner specials at the RendezVous Restaurant. Tucked inside the Holiday Inn Viera, the comfortable restaurant also offers breakfast specials for seniors.

Pizza was never as artsy as Pizza Gallery and Grill, the upscale pizzeria and art gallery tucked into the Avenue Viera restaurant. The restaurant is a staunch supporter of many community events, too. Good flavors, good art, good heart – what more do you want? Save some room for dessert at Redberry Frozen Yogurt, also at The Avenue.

Red Ginger, in the YMCA shopping center, is also upscale, but the emphasis here is on authentic Chinese food in a superior setting. For $14.95, diners at Thai Hana at The Avenue can feast on a three-course Asian meal that also includes wine, sake or beer.

Amici’s Restaurant in Suntree is a great friend with grand meals to boot. Amici means friend in Italian, and this amiable restaurant is indeed a good friend for many area couples, families and singles. The menu ranges from salads to seafood and wine tasting evenings add to the convivial atmosphere.

Those who prefer to stay home can find all the fixings for a gourmet meal at specialty markets such as Downtown Produce and Petty’s in Suntree.

Family-owned Downtown Produce, a “farmers’ market with a gourmet touch,” stocks fresh produce from around the world, plus an extensive collection of more than 800 bottles of wine and beer selections representing some of the world’s best breweries. Gourmet sauces, spices, salsas and pastas are always available. Full-time chefs daily prepare a delicious array of ready-to-eat meals, making it very easy to eat well at home without resorting to the same-old boring take-out.

Also a hometown tradition is Petty’s Meat Market. Don’t let the name fool you, for meats are only part of the story at this Suntree and Melbourne specialty food stores. In addition to options that include grass-fed, USDA Choice Angus and a full-line of natural, hormone-free beef and poultry, Petty’s also features oven-ready dinners, a generous seafood section, more than 50 homemade salads, gourmet sausages, wines, beers, soups, bakery items, domestic and imported cheeses, epicurean delights, dips and hot daily specials.

Are you hungry yet?

The Viera and Suntree community also boasts a plethora of small stores where the unusual as well as the expected can be found.