Make us your home page

As E&E Steakout Grill remodels, Plaza 100 merchants offer perks to keep customers shopping

BELLEAIR BLUFFS — The interior of the popular E&E Steakout Grill is a shambles. It's hot and dusty. Plastic hangs from doorways, and ears are assaulted by construction sounds.

But it's all for a good reason.

Chef Erwin Scheuringer has spent the past month studying blueprints and directing the tearing down and rebuilding of his kitchen, as well as the installation of new plumbing, air conditioning, carpeting and other improvements to the 4,500-square-foot eatery.

"Restaurants are like clothing. You need to constantly update and change with the styles," Scheuringer said.

Scheuringer, who is a native of Austria, and co-owner Eugen Fuhrmann, who is from Bavaria, have overseen other enhancements in the 26 years they have owned the business at 100 Indian Rocks Road.

To accomplish this latest update meant closing the 150-seat restaurant at the end of July.

"Some things you can never do while you are open," Scheuringer said. "When things are slow is the best time. The slowest time of the year for me is right now."

Scheuringer said he hopes to be able to reopen by mid September. The cost for the improvements is $500,000-plus, but customers likely won't notice many of the changes, he said, because the kitchen is the main focus.

When completed, the kitchen will feature "better equipment, have better flow, better working conditions and be a little bit larger," Scheuringer said. The floor will have three different levels for drainage and cleanliness and will be slip resistant. "It will be the Cadillac of kitchen floors," he said.

Scheuringer also is changing the restaurant's menu. Although the core of the menu will remain the same, there will be some new salads, new entrees and small-portion dishes.

"People are watching their dollars and their waistlines," he said. "Light portions have caught on nicely. You can build a meal around an appetizer."

Additions to the menu, he said, are a work in progress.

When it reopens, E&E will serve lunch as usual Monday through Friday and dinner seven days a week, Scheuringer said.

Some of the retailers in Plaza 100 have experienced a decline in walk-in business since E&E closed and have offered perks to encourage shoppers.

Brian Franzese, who with his wife, Cheryl, owns and operates Bella Vino Wine and Cheese Market, has had wine-tasting events and happy hour specials with hors d'oeuvres.

Franzese and other Plaza merchants met after the restaurant closed and came up with "Plaza Bucks" that give $10 off purchases of $50 or more and an opportunity to win gift certificates in a drawing at the end of this month. Each merchant put in a $50 gift certificate, and E&E put in two $200 gift certificates, he said.

Pam Timmons, who with her husband, Brian, has owned Beans About Cooking for a decade, said their business is down between 20 percent and 25 percent, mainly because women often shopped there after lunch at E&E. But they had feared a greater drop.

"I'm pleasantly surprised it hasn't been as bad as we thought," she said. "We're getting our regular customers but not seeing new customers."

Sandee Shaw, who has owned Cassi & Co. women's clothing shop at the plaza for 23 years, said she hasn't noticed much difference in sales.

"It's kind of hard to tell because it's the slow time of the year," she said. However, the restaurant's closing would have noticeably affected her business, she said, if it had occurred during the winter season.

As E&E Steakout Grill remodels, Plaza 100 merchants offer perks to keep customers shopping 08/27/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa-based vXchnge secures $200M loan to expand operations


    TAMPA — Tampa-based vXchnge, which operates data centers in 14 metro areas, has secured a loan for roughly $200 million for "major expansions and enhancements."

    Tampa-based vXchnge, a data center provider, secured a $200 million loan. Pictured is CEO Keith Olsen. | [Courtesy of vXchnge]
  2. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  3. Pinellas commission set to discuss next budget, licensing board

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Commission will be busy on Tuesday.

  4. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  5. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]