Make us your home page

Boca brings farm-to-table focus to Winthrop Town Centre

RIVERVIEW — As the sun set Monday, greeters warmly welcomed customers into the hustle and bustle of opening day at Boca Brandon Kitchen Bar & Market. Friendly servers in fresh pressed black uniforms gingerly moved about as light music cascaded through the air, with the sounds of patrons laughing in the background.

"It went fantastic," general manager Doug Scagliola said.

Boca is the latest gem in the Winthrop Town Centre crown. Local foodies looking for authentic, locally grown, farm-to-table cuisine and craft cocktail culture can look no farther than their own back yard. Scagliola said area companies like Urban Canning of St. Petersburg and the Dancing Goat Urban Farm are already benefiting from the restaurant's fresh focus.

"A lot of the people we've been able to hunt down and bring in, we've helped them grow their business," Scagliola said. "It's really about reaching out and finding these people and making these relationships. Everybody wants to know what they're eating."

Added executive chef Matthew Mangone: "People want to eat fresh and healthy. They don't want stuff that's frozen and injected with hormones. That's helping farm to table grow."

The restaurant has the authenticity of an upscale, refurbished farmhouse yet with modern accoutrements such as the urban vertical grow wall of fragrant, fresh herbs. Workers routinely pluck herbs off the wall, like sprigs of lemon basil that tastes like Fruit Loops but without the sugar and gluten.

The 5,000-square-foot dining establishment focuses on a central open rectangular bar with a lovely spillover to a generous 1,000-square-foot patio that lends itself well to dining alfresco. Boca also includes a private dining room that accommodates 65 guests and a charming fresh market featuring homemade jams, dressings and local produce.

Scagliola said greater Brandon drew the interest of the restaurant's parent company, BE-1 Concepts, because the area doesn't have a lot of dining establishments that offer a warm ambience with a focus on farm-to-table ingredients and dishes such as meatloaf, flatbreads, spiced chicken, ahi tuna and braised short rib.

"We do a lot of market research and look at our locations and look at what's going on, and this location had a need for it," Scagliola said. "There's really not much like this here. There are a lot of chains, a lot of big places that have been around a long time, but there's not really that comfortable, cozy, honest, simple kind of feel."

He added that the restaurant offers complimentary first drinks to members of the military with their identification. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until close. On Tuesdays, it's happy hour all evening.

Boca also will have brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Scagliola and Mangone worked at the original Boca, one of six restaurants operated by BE-1 Concepts.

Winthrop Town Centre developer John Sullivan said a number of restaurants vied to move into the development but Boca won out.

"At the end of the day, Boca had exactly what we were looking for," Sullivan said. "A cool, detailed design aesthetic and quality, fresh local produce in a nonchain setting."

The addition of Boca brings Winthrop's total number of restaurants to nine, to go with a Publix, medical and dental facilities, a charter school and a day care, but Sullivan already has his eyes set on the next step.

"The next project on the horizon is an affordable apartment complex to round out the community and give employees a walkable commute to work," Sullivan said.

Contact Karla Gibson at

Boca brings farm-to-table focus to Winthrop Town Centre 12/31/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2015 8:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday


    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.