CARROLLWOOD — Yannina and David Barsallo opened Cepas Wine & Tapas Bar in May, just two doors down from Terra Sur Café, which they also own.
"We needed storage for (Terra Sur), but it needed to pay for itself," Yannina Barsallo said.
The couple opened the cafe seven years ago. Expanding the restaurant wasn't possible with neighbors on both sides, so when the corner unit of the West Village Commons opened up, they saw an opportunity for more storage space, as well as a business with a different name and theme.
"Tapas are a popular concept … We thought we can do something nice, where customers can come for a little bite and a glass of wine," Barsallo said.
Neither she nor her husband has a culinary background. They came to America 25 years ago from Peru. Before opening Terra Sur, Barsallo worked as a sales representative at GE and her husband was a computer engineer for URS engineering and construction.
"There were only a handful of restaurants in the area with Peruvian food," she said.
They wanted to experience their native dishes here, so they decided to open a restaurant.
"In Peru, there's a lot of influences from different countries. It's a mixture of a lot of cultures, so we have everything from pasta to stir fry," she said.
Now both she and her husband work at the restaurants full time. They live in Carrollwood with their two children, David, 16, and Alejandra, 14.
Cepas offers an extensive wine collection and imported beers, and tapas with the same Peruvian flair as Terra Sur. "We cook with authentic ingredients from South America," said Barsallo.
Through their experience at Terra Sur, the couple learned quite a bit about beer and wine. Cepas offers more than 200 wines, with more American selections than at the cafe.
"Terra Sur doesn't have a big bar. It's a nice change to have a bar where you can sit and enjoy a drink and chat," said Barsallo. "It's a different environment."
She says Terra Sur is where customers can have a big dinner and leave full, but Cepas is where they can come for lighter fare, wine and beer.
The wine bar offers glasses that start at $7 to bottles up to $300.
Tapas range from $4 to $12 and include imported meats and cheeses, Tortilla Española (a traditional Spanish egg dish), and their signature ceviche in smaller bites.
Cepas Wine & Tapas Bar is at 5350 W Village Drive. It's open from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays and Mondays. For more information, call (813) 269-9463.
Elizabeth Miller can be reached at email@example.com.