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Former owner of Viva La Frida selling juice bar, moving on to next big thing

Angelica Diaz, former owner of Viva La Frida, is selling the Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op on N Florida Avenue.

LARA CERRI | Times

Angelica Diaz, former owner of Viva La Frida, is selling the Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op on N Florida Avenue.

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — A craigslist ad offers a unique opportunity to a person dreaming of opening a cafe.

"Turnkey business on busy Florida Ave., three miles north of downtown Tampa … next to Wellness Studio," said the ad posted recently online.

It offered up the confines of a quaint 800-square-foot bungalow for rent with a 100-square-foot patio under a grand oak tree.

Asking price? Currently $3,999.

That would include just about everything inside the 84-year-old building: an eclectic assortment of wrought-iron and wicker furniture, dolls, stained glass and the trappings needed to run a business — cash register, blenders, juicers, dishes.

But not the collection of Frida Kahlo related artwork scattered throughout.

If you know the slightest history of Seminole Heights, you now have a clue who's behind all this:

Angelica Diaz, former owner of Viva la Frida, the once-popular restaurant dedicated to the surrealistic Mexican painter with the famous unibrow.

Viva la Frida closed in 2006 when Diaz decided to pursue travel and art, which led her to Sweden and inspired her to start the Organic Juice Lounge and Co-op at 5805 N Florida Ave.

The small juice bar, within eyesight of her former restaurant — now the Honduran eatery Rincon Catracho — opened in January and serves elixirs such as the TV-inspired "True Blood," made with homegrown beets, apples, ginger, carrots and lemon. But Diaz decreased its hours a few weeks ago because the business sucked too much of her energy, she said. It is now open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

"I started this business so my two children would have a place to earn a living," she said.

But the pair, both in college, are working on other things, and Diaz, 58, said she would like to do the same.

Though she placed the ad on April 23, no one had expressed serious interest by early this week, Diaz said.

While the juice bar is for sale, she said, she plans on keeping the building unless someone knocks her over with a lease-to-own option. (The Hillsborough County property appraiser assesses the building at $77,453.) Otherwise, a renter would have to pay about $800 a month, she said.

Diaz hopes to focus on being an event planner, caterer and art instructor, specializing in themes associated with the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico.

Her other focus, of course, is Frida Kahlo.

"She is someone I feel that I relate to culturally and a woman that I admire for her strength," Diaz said. "We work very well together."

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

Former owner of Viva La Frida selling juice bar, moving on to next big thing 05/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 1:08pm]
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