CARROLLWOOD — At CJ's Bar-B-Skew, every customer is a "rock star."
Kitchen staffer are "roadies." The wait staffers are "groupies."
The monikers are the brainchild of the restaurant's co-owner and classic rock fan, Chris Politis.
Scheduled to open on Monday at 10047 N Dale Mabry Highway, the restaurant will be the latest in fast-casual dining in the Carrollwood area. Politis said he hopes to change people's idea of barbecue by offering a wide range of items for every taste.
"We're incorporating a lot of skewers, and we're a little bit more on the healthy side," Politis said. "Barbecue has been categorized as a 'male food.' We're trying to establish ourselves as something for everyone with a fresh new look to the barbecue scene."
Some of the skewers include: the Mediterranean, which has grilled chicken and feta cheese; veggie; and beef tip. All items can be served by themselves or on pita bread.
"On top of the barbecue, we do a rotisserie chicken," Politis added. "We smoke our pork butts. We smoke the ribs, and we have unbelievable hamburgers and hot dogs. We have a friendly kids' menu, and we have beer and wine."
Politis' love of rock 'n' roll and pop music is apparent not just with his nicknames for customers and employees. The restaurant also features a mural on one wall with the likeness of many giants of the music industry, including the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Elvis and the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.
"Anyone you can think of as legendary is pretty much on our wall," Politis said.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The business plans to launch a website at cjsbarbskew.com.
For more information on CJ's Bar-B-Skew, call (813) 963-1110.
Mediterranean dining comes to Carrollwood
CARROLLWOOD — Carmel Café & Wine Bar is bringing a little bit of France to the area. And a little bit of Morocco. And Italy. And Greece.
"Carmel has taken a modern twist on Mediterranean cuisine," co-owner Nancy Schneid said. "Our food comes from all the countries that border on the Mediterranean. We have steak frites from France. From Morrocco we have a fabulous Moroccan chicken.''
Schneid expects Carmel Café, set to open on Tuesday, will be a popular neighborhood restaurant. The restaurant already has a location in Clearwater.
To make it easy for customers to introduce themselves to Mediterranean cuisine, Carmel offers small and large plates of everything on the menu.
"It allows our customers to control how they want to share and mix their food," Schneid said. "This makes it easy to pair our food with wine and for pairing with all the different flavors of the Mediterranean."
The cafe also has more than 70 wines, Schneid said, in 3-, 6- and 9-ounce glasses, as well as by the bottle.
"It allows the customers to customize their eating and drinking experience," she said.
Carmel Café, 14306 N Dale Mabry Highway, is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; dinner is 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with live music Friday and Saturday nights. It is closed on Mondays.
For more information, visit carmelcafe.com or call (813) 265-1415.
Sean Ledig can be reached at [email protected]