TAMPA — "It's been a long 32 months," Jeannie Pierola said Tuesday morning as the phone rang in the background with people calling to seek reservations at her next restaurant.
Yes, it's true: Jeannie Pierola is planning to open a new restaurant. It has been 32 months since she and David Laxer parted ways at Bern's and Sidebern's, months she spent traveling and doing restaurant consulting with one goal: find a way to make a fruitful living with "the next concept that was really going to steal my heart."
The result is Kitchen Bar, a place she says will offer cuisines from around the world using the freshest ingredients and creative techniques in a casual setting.
Sounds like the Pierola Tampa Bay diners grew to love over the years at Boca, Cool Beans and Sidebern's. Pierola is a little coy about her plans — the location, the city, the opening date — but will start a slow reveal through a series of six dining events at existing restaurants.
It's a trendy concept called popup dining. The first will be at Pinky's Diner, 3203 W Bay to Bay Blvd. in Tampa.
Here's a summary of the idea from Kitchen Bar's Facebook page: "The brainchild of L.A.-based Chef Ludovic Lefebvre who appeared on Top Chef Masters, popup dining is a guerrilla restaurant that, as its name implies, literally pops up at a selected space for a limited time."
"We're pretty excited," Pierola said. "We're champing at the bit to get the next menu items in front of people."
The Facebook page for the Pinky's series promises "Global eats for a honky-tonk world," Nov. 9-13 and Nov. 16-20.
She plans five similar events at other restaurants on both sides of Tampa Bay but isn't ready to say where. All will be at restaurants that can accommodate a guest chef and her menu, much like Pinky's, which is not usually open for dinner (and is on the cozy side, with just 50 seats).
Pierola said she wants her new restaurant to allow people to experience great food with gusto every day "without breaking the bank."
And one more thing: "We're going to have a really good time."