NORTH TAMPA — Two years ago, chef Jonjie Sibayan launched the PAO food truck. His mission was to introduce authentic Filipino food to the people of Tampa. On Aug. 21, he took that mission one step further by opening his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, PAO Cafe, at 14837 N Florida Ave.
"With the food truck, space is limited. With the larger kitchen we can add more variety to the menu and expose more people to Filipino food," said Johnny Sibayan, Jonjie's younger brother and manager of the restaurant.
The expanded menu features Filipino classics like tocilog (sweet marinated pork and garlic rice topped with a fried egg), pancit (stir fried mix of rice noodles and egg noodles with vegetables) and Lola's lumpia (fried spring roll with beef and raisins).
There are also crossover items, such as Boom Boom PAO (a cheeseburger topped with cured pork known as tocino and a fried egg) and Filipino nachos (tocino with spicy mayo and green onions served on shrimp chips).
The staff is happy to help first-time customers navigate the menu.
Followers of the food truck movement can rest assured the PAO Truck is still making its rounds. PAO Cafe is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It is closed on Monday. For more on PAO Cafe, visit paocafetampa.com. To find out where the PAO truck is headed next, follow it on Facebook: PAO Truck.
Grille One Sixteen location closed
The upscale eatery Grille One Sixteen closed its doors in Carrollwood on Sept. 21, a move that took its fan base by surprise.
When the chic, South Beach-esque restaurant first opened in Carrollwood seven and a half years ago, it was like nothing the area had seen before. The niche establishment that specializes in contemporary American cuisine quickly amassed a following.
That following took to social media to express disappointment about the restaurant's closing. Co-owner Terence Terenzi took the reaction to heart. "The decision was so difficult because of the loyal customers and staff," he stated.
Terenzi explained that he and fellow owner, Tom Schelldorf, were approached with an offer to buy out their lease on the property at 15405 N Dale Mabry Highway. The partners made the difficult decision to accept the offer in order to focus on the long-term growth of the Grille One Sixteen brand.
Terenzi was also quick to point out that the Grille One Sixteen at 612 N Dale Mabry Highway remains open. Several staff members from the Carrollwood location, including the general manager, have already relocated to the South Tampa site and Terenzi is hopeful that his Carrollwood regulars will make the drive south.
Details on who is moving into the restaurant's former space in Carrollwood are still under wraps. For more on Grille One Sixteen, call (813) 350-0216 or visit grilleonesixteen.com.
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