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Everybody's Business North Tampa: Arigato settles into new location after fire; guitar instructor finds a home

CARROLLWOOD — Five long years after a fire closed the doors of Arigato Japanese Steakhouse, the chefs are up to their old tricks again just up the street from its previous location.

Since Arigato reopened in the Shoppes of Carrollwood in December, the restaurant has enjoyed a welcome reception from past customers, said co-owner Danielle Del Bello.

"A lot of the chefs are the same. They've come back to our company because they enjoyed working at Arigato and look forward to seeing their customers. I've seen customers hugging the chefs," Del Bello said. "It's really nice."

The new location boasts a sleek new look while maintaining some of the old charm. The saltwater aquarium and iconic gold Buddha in the entrance were saved from its former location. New additions include handpainted glass artwork and a second, larger fish tank that attracts kids. A koi pond with a bridge that sits in the middle of the restaurant is, perhaps, the standout feature.

"This location is much larger. We have more cooking tables and a larger bar," Del Bello said.

Del Bello and her brother Dale operate the restaurants started by their father, Dale Del Bello Sr., in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1971. The New York restaurant has since closed and, besides Tampa, the family owns two other locations in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Chefs cook traditional Japanese-style fare tableside on 500-degree grills, while using fancy knife skills intended to entertain. Entrees may include steak, chicken and seafood, as well as soup, salad, rice and vegetables.

New additions to the menu include tuna, salmon and noodles, and the restaurant's signature sauces are now available to go.

Regular entrees start at $12.99, and early bird entrees start at $9.99.

Early bird entrees are the same portion as regular dinner entrees, and are available from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Arigato's, at 14330 N Dale Mabry Highway, is open 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to Reservations and walk-ins are accepted. Call (813) 960-5050.

At the new Teaching Studio, guitar lessons are offered

Just down the street from Arigato, Roger Keplinger has set up a business space of his own in Carrollwood after nearly a year of offering private guitar lessons in homes around Tampa Bay.

Keplinger formerly taught guitar lessons at Independent Day School, and for eight years at Legends Guitars on Hillsborough Avenue. He left Legends shortly before the business closed last year, and then began offering in-home lessons.

Although teaching in people's homes had its upside, "having all of my resources at my fingertips is much more convenient," Keplinger said.

His new teaching digs, in the office space at the corner of Handy Road and N Dale Mabry Highway, includes a lobby, a recording and teaching studio, and a second room where he may begin offering group lessons or weekly jam sessions in the near future.

"I love this location. It has solid cinder block walls, so even though it's not soundproof, I can make some noise in there without bothering my neighbors," Keplinger said.

A former musician who said he has played venues from Key West to Rhode Island, Keplinger studied classical guitar performance with Bruce Holzman at Florida State University. He began teaching when his son was born so his schedule would be more conducive to family life.

Keplinger offers private lessons for ages 6 through adulthood for all styles and ability levels. He creates his own curriculum and also offers lessons in Pro Tools, Garage Band and Cubase software programs.

From rock to jazz to classical, Keplinger describes his own personal style as eclectic.

"I don't feel too dedicated to one style. I just appreciate really good guitar playing at a high level," he said.

Roger Keplinger's Teaching Studio is at 3418 Handy Road. Private lessons are $95 per month for four half-hour sessions; $155 per month for four hour-long sessions. For more information, call (813) 300-6206 or visit

CORRECTION: Private lessons at Roger Keplinger's Teaching Studio are $95 per month for four half-hour sessions and $155 per month for four hour-long sessions. Earlier versions of this story appearing in print and online were incorrect on that point.

Everybody's Business North Tampa: Arigato settles into new location after fire; guitar instructor finds a home 03/29/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 5:48pm]
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