Really Good Coffee at Big E’s Sweets & Gourmet Coffee in Sarasota

Big E’s Sweets & Gourmet Coffee is a real college coffeehouse hangout in Sarasota, Florida.

Internet, food, friends, and of course, lots of conversation for the homesick art students at the Ringling School of Art which is right across the street.  Late hours, large round tables that you can pile books on, and great coffee for the college crowd palate. Perfect. 

orange_coffee_cupBig E aka Eric – is like the Godfather of the neighborhood in the nicest of ways because he makes sure the students eat egg sandwiches and milk often enough that he knows they are getting their nutrition while in his care. Eric would never let a student starve. It just isn’t in him and everyone loves the guy. Eric carries a great selection of homemade sandwiches, soup, pizza, and other healthy food made fresh for starving students. It’s much better than Micky D’s. 

A good selection of gourmet coffee and tea provides something for every palate. Cold drinks and milk are very popular along with hot pie a la mode. No smoking and no drinking permitted on the premises. Eric and staff run a clean shop and we would never have spent so much time there if that were not true. 

Big E’s Can Use Some More Used PC’s…

WIFI is available. Bring your laptop and your appetite.  Big E’s only has two personal computers available to use in his unique cyber cafe and Eric does not charge for the use. That is a rarity!  If you know anyone with a better than average and relatively new computer to donate; I am sure he would be glad to have it.  Students are always waiting to get on and check email from home, do research, or see what’s going on for the weekend. Many students have laptops but actually lots don’t have them and the computers are always in demand.

Wouldn’t it be great to see a flurry of donations from someone who really understands how crucial it is and how much it would help to have a few more? I remember how good it felt to get out of a dorm to work sometimes.

There is lots of parking at Big E’s and the lot in back is large and safe. Actually, the entire area is safe and there are kids walking back and forth constantly.  Food takeout is a frequent demand…what are they feeding those poor kinds across the street??  They are always hungry when they come in.  Last summer Eric started making his own pizza’s with a little help from the students who surely all want to be coffeehouse entrepreneurs when they finish art school and deck their own walls!  Naturally, the walls at Big E’s are covered in art renderings of all kinds. More than anything else, Big E’s is about comfort and camaraderie.

Last summer, on Sundays, Michael and Alexandra did a morning meditation for the students and some of them actually got up and came out every Sunday. True, that all they had to do was walk across the street but they did. They got up and came. We really enjoyed leading the meditation, and it gave purpose to our coffee hour on Sunday mornings.  Eric is off on Sunday but his staff of young art students were helpful and interested in knowing more about how to meditate. We described it as ignoring the mind chatter and listening for God.  It is a worthwhile reason to get up on Sundays.  Even some of the local adults came to meditate with us.

Big E’s was Eric’s dream when he came to Sarasota from a corporate layoff in Michigan or Ohio, I forget which, but he found a purpose and a family of students who really appreciate the comfort and ambiance of Big E’s, their home away from home. 

Large umbrellas and tables are in front of the store and you can almost always see a collection of bikes chained up while the owners get their fix on some hot caffeine to boost the mind between classes. It is a healthy, clean place where students can really relax and be themselves.  Parents can even send money to bank a tab for food when their students are broke. The place is clean and the crowd is intelligent. Students exchange info about local house-shares and rentals, yoga classes, music, art-art-art, and love. There is a lot of creativity happening at Big E’s and the laughs relax everyone. It is exactly the kind of place I’d like my daughter to hang at while going to school away from home.  We appreciate the way Eric looks out for everyone.

Stop in an grab a hot cup of French Roast or Colombian and check it out.

Big E’s

2805 N. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34234


P.S. They will even put some water outside for the dog!

I AM Alexandra Barrett

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