TAMPA — Thirty-two years ago, Sharon Stewart opened one of the first wine bars in Central Florida. "And this shall be my last," said the owner of the Wine Studio, opened Sept. 5 on Henderson Boulevard, east of Lois Avenue. Stewart was co-owner and chef of 42nd Street Bistro on Howard Avenue for 10 years.
The neighborhood quickly welcomed the mini bistro behind the illuminated purple wall, especially those enjoying walking over for lunch and dinner to enjoy wine by the glass or bottle. "Seems like everybody who comes in says, 'I live right around the corner,' " Stewart said.
Soups, appetizers and desserts are listed with a suggested pairing. For example, a bubbly wine is recommended with foie gras topped with sauteed fig. Marinated London broil, sliced and chilled, goes well with a red wine. Try the huge cheese and fruit board, with or without artisanal sliced meats, with a white wine.
Rounding out the menu are salads (her signature blue cheese vinaigrette dressing is most popular), gourmet pizzas "and the best quiche in Tampa," Stewart said. Dessert choices include ricotta cake, nice with a red ice wine, and chocolate pate, perhaps with a robust zin.
Wednesday through Saturday evenings, Stewart offers one hearty dinner option for $14.95. This week: pot roast, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Next week, "probably Chardonnay baked swiss chicken."
Stewart calls the wine bar (four dining areas with living room seating) a studio because of all the art on display, including Joan Miró and sculptor Steve Dickey, among others.
The Wine Studio, 4106 Henderson Blvd., is open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday; till midnight Thursday; till 1 a.m. Friday and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Visit thewinestudiotampa.com or call (813) 374-8866.
Bejewel your feet with custom sandals from Tresca Italia
For years, Lori Giglio Gibson brought suitcases full of jeweled sandals home from every trip to the Isle of Capri.
"I bought them back for my sisters and friends, and every time, I told my husband, Jim, that these would work in Tampa."
Gibson is so convinced that she has opened Tresca Italia in the Carriage Trade Plaza, selling "jewelry for your feet," as she calls the custom-fit, handmade sandals of Capri.
Ladies choose the heel height: flat, middle or wedge. Then they select from 50 styles of gemstones, crystals and metallic accents laced onto calf leather or lambskin straps. Prices start at $95 without the bling and go up to high $200s, depending on the shoe jewelry.
Italian cobbler Francesco fits them in 20 to 30 minutes, said Gibson, whose love affair with the shoes includes the 30 pairs she owns. Hence, the name of the store, tresca, which means tryst in Italian.
While he works, check out the selection of jewelry, belt buckles and handbags. Coming soon, two exclusive jewelry lines: French Kande and My Flat in London.
Tresca Italia, 1704 S Dale Mabry Highway; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Visit trescaitalia.com or call (813) 251-6622.
The Speaker Exchange is now on N Nebraska Avenue
The Speaker Exchange packed up its vast inventory of speakers, tweeters, woofers, diaphragms and amplifier boards Aug. 20 and moved to the long-vacant Salvation Army building on N Nebraska Avenue, across from the Tampa Greyhound Track. The company, opened in 1977, was previously on E Hillsborough Avenue.
"It's a larger location, clean and bright and just perfect for us," said Cathy Satin, who opened the business with her husband, Glenn "MacGyver" Satin, who she said can repair or modify just about anything — the more challenging the better.
It's also a resounding vote of confidence for the Sulphur Springs area.
"This is a fabulous neighborhood with a lot to offer," she said. "It's coming into its own time for rejuvenation."
The Satins plan to offer their large parking lot as a community gathering place, possibly for a flea market.
Speaker Exchange, 8217 N Nebraska Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. Visit speakerex.com; call (813) 237-4800.
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