VALRICO — Arlene Frisk has been called many names in her life: wife, mother, U.S. Army Sergeant and team mom — when her son Mark played football for Bloomingdale High School and daughter Kat cheered for the Bulls.
For years as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ticket holder, she was known as "the Head Mother Buccer" because she organized Bucs tailgate parties and charged friends $10 to partake in the pregame fun and frolic at what the Frisks called the "Buccing Spot."
She also is a business owner of the LOFT Hair & Nail Lounge and the LOFT Event Lounge in Brandon.
Frisk and her family will open another business today (Oct. 6) at 1608 State Road 60 in Valrico called the Comfort Craft Café, which will combine event space with comfort food and craft beer.
"This will be bigger and better on a classier scale," said Kat Frisk. "It's comfort food on steroids."
Big Mark's Meatloaf will take center stage Mondays at the Comfort Craft Café and it's a recipe Arlene said took 34 years to extract from her husband, Mark, saying, "It's all about the secret sauce." Other menu items include Thanksgiving Pot Pie and the Frisk-Oh! Burger.
The 12,000-square-foot building, which housed approximately 75 Floridians and 25 dogs, cats and birds during Hurricane Irma, formerly operated as Latino's Fresh Market and is still owned by William Guzman, whom Arlene said turned down other night club ideas for the space to bring this new concept to the area.
There are televisions everywhere, including a 180-inch projection screen that is front and center for game days, which Comfort Craft Café plans to highlight with a mimosa bar, indoor VIP tailgating cabanas, bloody marys, craft beer and a wine keg.
The outside covered patio deck will be dog-friendly, especially Thursday afternoons, and will feature menu items served in dog bowls. There's an elevator to the upstairs meeting space that can be rented for baby showers and business gatherings.
The Frisk family, which also includes siblings Ben and Shawna, who will help run the new business, said it has approximately one year remaining on its lease at the LOFT Event Lounge and will eventually transition all large events to Comfort Craft Café.
"We turn away so much business every week because we can't do more than 80 people," Arlene said, noting that there's also no bar or kitchen on site.
Veterans and first responders always receive a 10 percent discount at the Comfort Craft Café, which also will feature live music.
"We are trying to be a local, cool, fun, awesome place," Kat said.
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