DOWNTOWN — Peter Pergola has long had his eye on the lofty restaurant space in downtown's SunTrust Financial Centre.
In 2007 he even offered to buy the eatery that occupied it at the time. But Pergola said he was unable to make a deal with the Boardin' House Cafe. When it closed last year, he got a second shot at the space off the SunTrust building's lobby at 401 E Jackson St.
In April, Pergola opened the Jackson Street Bistro, a sit-down restaurant that serves breakfast all day and offers a menu suitable for a power lunch menu for those trying to close a deal. He calls it a more corporate-friendly version of the East Lake Cafe, which Pergola opened in a strip center in Palm Harbor six years ago.
"I'm 55 and I said well, I (can take on) one more challenge," said Pergola, who was an owner of Rocky Point Food Service in Tampa for 10 years. "I didn't have to do this, because the (East Lake Cafe) is successful, but the opportunity was there and I wanted to give it another shot."
The Jackson Street Bistro seats 114 diners inside and 43 outside. The interior has been redesigned to feature an open kitchen and a Tuscan feel. Breakfast specialties include a variety of omelets, eggs Benedict dishes, pancakes and breakfast wraps. The lunch menu includes specialty sandwiches and salads, most under $10, as well as seven hot entrees all priced at $11.95.
Jackson Street Bistro is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restaurant's Web site is jacksonstreetbistro.com.
A nose for a bargain
For Donna Ayers, the lure of garage sales and auctions is not the stuff itself; it's the thrill of finding a great deal. Any deal.
"I like to find a bargain and pass it on to someone," Ayers said. And these days, "everybody's looking for a bargain."
That's the idea behind the Lucky Dog Thrift Store and Collectibles Corner, which Ayers opened last week with husband Earl and friend Antony Becker. The three partners are inveterate garage-sale shoppers who decided it was a good idea to empty their homes and fill a storefront at 4135 W Henderson Blvd.
"I told Donna, if her house were a boat it would be floating higher in the water," Becker joked.
The 1,100-square-foot store is like an ultra-organized garage sale, with low prices and an unpredictable selection that includes items such as antique and collectible items, clothing, toys, tools and health and beauty items. An Earl Ayers original is even for sale: a patented dog ramp that was featured in a 15-second clip on Jay Leno's Tonight Show several years ago. "I never got rich," he said.
Dogs get special treatment at the store: A community bulletin board has been set aside for photos and listings of area dogs that need adoption. Hours at Lucky Dog are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 813-282-3450 for more information.
Busier at Blue Moon
Vintage and antique furniture shop Blue Moon Trading Company has expanded both its space and its services.
Owner Katie Gagnon has taken over a one-room cottage behind the main shop at 4129 S MacDill Ave. The 500-square-foot cottage has been dubbed Studio Blue Moon. Gagnon recently began teaching decorating workshops there for customers who want to learn the basics.
The cottage has a small kitchen and bath. The main living area has been divided into four spaces that showcase different styles.
"We started doing workshops because all of a sudden we have such an influx of younger (women) who are buying large homes," Gagnon said. "I'm not a decorator; I'm not trying to be a decorator. It's Basics 101 — this is how you get started."
For more information about the workshops, call the store at 813-839-2056.
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