TAMPA — The lure of homemade pasta and sauces created a loyal following for Enrique Tangari when he opened his first Casa della Pasta north of Carrollwood five years ago. But between bites of fettuccine and veal scallopini, says Tangari, customers clamored for a more central location.
"I have judges, lawyers, doctors and politicians coming for authentic Italian cuisine who want me to open in South Tampa,'' said Tangari, who left his native Bari, Italy, some 15 years ago.
They were among the first diners when he opened La Casa della Pasta II on Columbus Drive near Himes Avenue on April 4. Some knew him from earlier years when he worked at other local restaurants, including Cafe Paradiso, Spartaco Trattoria Italiana and Vizcaya Restaurante.
"I import everything, flour, water, tomatoes, cheeses … to make any kind of pasta dish you want, on the menu or not."
Dinner entrees range from $16 to $30. Daily lunch specials cost $8.99 and include soup or salad, choice of entree and a drink.
The wine list is exclusively Italian. "Bought from small vineyards in Italy,'' he said. "You won't find these anywhere else in Tampa."
Traditional desserts, such as tiramisu, panna cotta, creme brulee, also are homemade.
La Casa Della Pasta II is at 3434 W Columbus Drive. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner is served 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Visit lacasadellapasta.net or call (813) 443-0520.
Chill adds flavor to frozen yogurt scene
Another frozen yogurt bar, Chill, enters the self-serve scene, hoping to ice the competition.
"We've done a lot of research," said owner Chad Semans, who left a real estate career to open Bay to Bay Centre in March with his wife, Ellen. Chill is near Starbucks and Feet First shoe store, in the former site of Let's Eat.
"Our flavors are made by a local supplier,'' said the Bloomingdale High School and University of South Florida graduate. "They're smoother and creamier and stand out from the others."
Semans rotates 12 flavors, "based on customer feedback and seasonal favorites." Price is based on weight, at 49 cents an ounce.
There are the expected vanilla, mango tart and peach flavors. But also the unusual, such as salted caramel, "a huge hit,'' Semans said. Carrot cake is also popular. The yogurt is all-natural, nonfat and gluten-free. A 4 1/2-oz serving has 160 calories or less, he said.
Toppings number 40, including passion fruit boba, Cap'n Crunch cereal and fresh fruits.
Chill is at 3401-D W Bay to Bay Blvd. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (813) 805-2445.
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