WESTCHASE — The buzz about the latest addition to the Westchase dining scene has been building for months, and finally, the Great Spiedini is open for business. Owners Rick and Karen Swartwood and their son, Tony, are quickly proving that their spiedies were well worth the wait.
Spiedies (pronounced SPEE-dees) in their traditional form are cubed pieces of meat that are marinated, cooked on metal skewers over a char-grilled flame and served on Italian bread. They are revered in the Swartwoods' hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., but are hard to find outside of upstate New York. After moving to Florida, Rick set out to change that.
He spent more than 15 years perfecting his zesty marinade (the key spiedie ingredient) before testing the concept at Tampa Bay area farmers markets and festivals. The spiedies were a success and the Swartwoods decided a restaurant was in order.
Drawn to the community feel of Westchase, they chose a storefront at the east end of Westchase Town Center. Plans were drawn up with the intention of opening early this year. The day before the build-out was to begin, Rick got word that a larger location with patio space had opened up at the west end of the complex.
Switching locations meant starting from square one. It also meant that the Swartwoods could create the concept they envisioned. "We took one look and said, 'This is it!' " Rick said.
The Great Spiedini is a blend of casual eatery and neighborhood patio bar. With ample seating indoors and out, it is ideal for dining out with the family, catching the game or enjoying a few drinks with friends.
Spiedies are served in traditional form, as well as in nontraditional sandwich varieties such as the Buffalo and the Marsala. Vegetarians will appreciate the marinated portobello mushroom spiedie or one of the many salad options. The drink menu features an impressive selection of draft and bottled beer, as well as house and fine wine.
The Great Spiedini is located at 9648 W Linebaugh Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. A grand opening celebration, including an official "Binghamton Day," is scheduled for Sept. 19 through 21. For more information, follow them on Facebook at the Great Spiedini or visit the website at thegreatspiedini.com.
Anytime Fitness changes ownership
Also at Westchase Town Center, Anytime Fitness is under new ownership. To celebrate, the facility held a grand reopening Saturday. Initial changes include a freshly painted interior and updated signage. New equipment is being introduced in phases. For a limited time, new members can take advantage of grand reopening pricing.
Anytime Fitness Westchase is located at 9602 W Linebaugh Ave. Members have 24-hour access. Personal training is available. For more information, call (813) 792-2900.
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