BRANDON — Darren Denington has made a career of telling restaurant owners how to do things right.
Now he's practicing what he has been preaching. This month, he opened Copper Bell Café, which serves breakfast and lunch.
As the owner of Service With Style Hospitality Group, Denington consults with restaurant owners across the country and points out how they can improve their businesses. They learn from him when he points out something they're doing poorly, and he learns from them when they do something well.
That, he said, served him well as he prepared to open Copper Bell.
The main thing his 27 years in the hospitality industry have taught him, he said, is that you can hurry anything but the food.
"Everything is fresh-cooked," Denington said. "Everything is slow-roasted. Everything is done right."
Denington said he understands that a lot of his customers are in a hurry, so he makes sure the service is fast. Instead of sitting at a table and waiting until a server takes their order, customers order at the counter and take their seats.
There are no shortcuts in the kitchen. The staffers cook the cabbage rolls for nine or 10 hours. They roast turkey for 10 to 15 hours with the stuffing inside.
Denington said he's considering adding delivery service in the near future. But he knows better than to offer a new service until he's absolutely sure he can do it right. So for now, he will stick with a basic formula that he knows is a sure winner.
"It's great, simple, quality food, and nice, casual atmosphere and perfect service," he said. "It's hard to go wrong."
Copper Bell Café is at 601 S Parsons Road in Brandon. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. daily. For information, call (813) 681-3354.
Doesn't your dog deserve a massage?
It's easy to think of animal massage as something frivolous, something eccentric rich people would do for overly pampered pets. But the owner of a new dog massage business in Brandon said animals and their human companions can find it immensely rewarding.
"Massage can be used to treat everything from knee and hip problems to high blood pressure," said Julie Ashlock, a licensed massage therapist who started Canine Comfort Pet Massage in October. "It can also help puppies or strays get used to the touch of humans."
Therapeutic massage can be a treatment by itself because animals are subject to the same kinds of aches and pains as humans, Ashlock said.
For more serious conditions, it can be an adjunct to traditional veterinary care, including postoperative recuperation. In fact, Dr. Rich Kane, a Brandon veterinarian, refers clients to Ashlock and lets her use his offices to administer pet massages.
Before Ashlock could begin working with pets, she underwent training in animal anatomy and communication. Dogs, of course, can't tell the massage therapist where they're hurting. Ashlock reads their nonverbal signals.
"They tell you so much more with their eyes than you can possibly imagine," she said.
For information, visit caninecomfortpetmassage.com, e-mail Julie@caninecomfort petmassage.com or call (813) 373-8312.
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