Here, in the dog days of summer, Pinellas County is being thrown a bone: a trio of new restaurants.
La Vie, the new Vietnamese project of Thuy Le, opens on Monday in downtown St. Petersburg. She has made a name for herself with banh mi sandwiches and boba teas at her Thuy Café at 5944 34th St. N and will now debut an expanded menu of Vietnamese classics at 441 Central Ave. .
In a similar vein, longtime Dunedin restaurateur Jimmy Stewart has branched out from his Spotos Steak Joint 2 to open Bascetti's Italian Grill at 1568 Main St. in Dunedin on July 3. At the site of the former Pugz bar, Stewart is cooking up Italian.
"I've always wanted to do really fresh, authentic Italian. Everywhere you go, you get the same, typical stuff," he said. "At Bascetti's, we're doing a cheese stick, but it's basil and cheese wrapped up in a spring roll and served with fresh sauteed tomatoes. We do a multitude of pastas, like fresh pappardelle Bolognese, and fire grilled pizzas and flat breads."
Stewart aims to split his time, cooking three days a week at Spotos and three days at Bascetti's.
And in Clearwater, Basque has debuted at the old WildFish location at 28910 U.S. 19 N. Opening its doors quietly on June 28, it is a project of Doug Illman, David Awslander, Sam Heller, Tyler Lasher and Keith Williamson. Williamson is the chef, launching a menu of Old World and New World tapas, most in the $8 to $12 range. Later in the evening Basque features DJs and dancing.