RIVERVIEW — Ever since she became an Applebee's host at 16, Donya DeVore dreamed of having her own restaurant.
Now DeVore has turned the dream into a reality with AmberJack's Grill & Late Night Bar at 11238 Boyette Drive. DeVore, who gained experience at Applebee's, Chili's and Cheddar's, opened the spot across from Riverview High School with a mixed-use approach: family-friendly dining during lunch and early evening hours, and a bit of nightlife after 9 p.m.
"I've owned a couple of other businesses, but I've always wanted to do a restaurant," she said.
The menu offers steak, fish, half-pound burgers and quesadillas. DeVore said she's particularly pleased with the amberjack fish spread and the chicken wings.
As for nightlife, AmberJack's already has designated specific nights for fun: hospitality night on Mondays; guys night on Tuesdays; karaoke night on Wednesdays; ladies night on Thursdays; live music on Fridays and a DJ on Saturdays.
The restaurant opened in December. DeVore said she's pleased with the start.
"It's wonderful," she said. "I'm finally living my dream. We just want to give people a family-friendly restaurant without the corporate environment."
The dream is aided by the fact that DeVore's husband, Thomas, lends a hand. They met years ago at Applebee's when she was a host and he was a chef.
More restaurants coming: Construction has begun for a Poblanos Mexican Grill & Bar over a retention pond in Brandon's Oak Park Plaza, at the intersection of Kings Avenue and Lumsden Road. It will join several other new tenants, said plaza property manager Jean Aiello. A Shrimp & Co. Restaurant opens Tuesday, and Brass Monkey Tattoo opens next month. The plaza recently welcomed the LOFT Hair and Nail Lounge and plans to build an additional 400-square-foot structure, which has not been leased yet.
Hess Orthodontics expands: Riverview's Hess Orthodontics will open a second location this summer off FishHawk Boulevard, directly across from the FishHawk Sports Complex and Randall Middle School.
"The FishHawk Area is a large, family-oriented community, and with its plans for continued growth, it made sense for us to open another location in this area," Dr. Michael Hess said.
Hess' current location is 11970 Boyette Road.