The Main Bar was established as a sandwich shop in 1958 by retiring circus performers Antonio (Charlie) Borza and his wife Thea. Inspired by her home town of Florence, Italy, Thea created what has now become “Our Famous Italian.”
Charlie and Thea had both been born into circus families and performed with the circus both in Europe and the Middle East, Charlie as a trampoline artist and Thea as a bareback horse rider. In the early 1940’s the Borzas were brought to this country by the Ringling Brothers Circus.
When they sold the Main bar in 1972, the Borzas left us with the collection of pictures you see hanging on our walls today. These photos pay tribute to many of the fine circus performers with whom they worked or came to know in their careers. Many of these photographs were left by their son Peppi who became an established theatrical performer in New York and London.
Located at 1944 Main Street in Sarasota Florida The Main Bar was established as a sandwich shop in 1958 by retiring circus performers Antonio (Charlie) Borza and his wife Thea. Inspired by her home town of Florence, Italy, Thea created what has now become “Our Famous Italian.” Today, The Main Bar Sandwich Shop is owned and operated by Chip and Kate Beeman. Chip and Kate have maintained The Main Bar as the institution that it has become in Sarasota.
The Famous Italian Sandwich is more popular now than it was in 1958 when it was first introduced by Charlie and Thea. The Main Bar Sandwich Shop, has over 50 different sandwiches to
Jimmy Buffett and a devotion to Parrothead culture lured Chip and Katie Beeman to move from Oregon to Florida nearly a decade ago. But an Italian sandwich, specifically one sold at the Main Bar and Sandwich Shop in downtown Sarasota, got the couple to stay. They loved the Italian and the place that served it so much, actually, that they bought the joint.
Chip Beeman and his wife, Kate, searched from Tampa Bay area to Punta Gorda for a restaurant to buy when they decided to move to Florida in 2004.
Then their broker took them to lunch at the Main Bar Sandwich Shop on Main Street, which has been operating in downtown Sarasota since 1958.