Make us your home page

Joe Redner plunges into the pizza business

TAMPA — It is an ordinary fast-food restaurant building. It has dark red tile floors to hide stains, easy-to-wipe square tables and a front counter that could serve tacos as easily as it could burgers.

The small building at 2038 N Dale Mabry Highway along a strip of chain stores, restaurants and strip bars, opened last week serving pizza.

Looks pretty plain Jane.

Except by name: "Not Your Average Joe's Pizza."

And the Joe behind it all isn't an everyman like Joe Six Pack or Joe the Plumber.

This pizza parlor proprietor is Joe Redner, Tampa's strip club king, the owner of the nationally renowned Mons Venus.

"What we're really trying to do is give out a superior product like the Mons does," he said.

Redner, who also owns a gym, a film lighting company, a brewery and real estate, owns the fast-food building, which is next to the Mons and once housed Taco Bell and a Cuban eatery.

When that closed, he batted around opening his own restaurant with his grandson, Kyle Burns, 19.

Burns, a Hillsborough Community College student, wanted to run it. His friend Alex Urrutia, 20, a former sous chef who finished all but three classes for a culinary degree at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, offered to help.

Shannon Adams, 31, a longtime Mons dancer who had also taken culinary classes, wanted in, too.

Redner now had three managers to run an establishment that would stay open until at least 1 a.m. serving suits, blue collars and the late-night lap dance crowd. They came up with pizza.

"Simple and cheap and we have the drive-through," Adams said.

They know the pizza market is crowded, but they aim for a niche in the middle, offering upscale toppings and gourmet combinations at prices between $10.99 and $15.99 a pizza. They also serve slices.

The menu includes pizzas with tzatziki sauce, cucumbers and feta as well as pies with ricotta cheese, capicola and taco-seasoned beef. The hope is to add more distinctive Tampa ingredients such as ropa vieja, or shredded beef, as time passes.

Competitors such as 24-year-old Sally O'Neals gourmet pizza in Hyde Park think this isn't the best time to open up a pizza restaurant.

"If you don't already have your clientele established, it's going to be tough for you," manager Frank Simms said. "If you don't have a name, you won't make it."

If Not Your Average Joe's has anything going for it early on, it is its name, which is being flashed on the Mons Venus electric sign board along Dale Mabry.

The Joe's restaurateurs concentrate on consistency and quality. They believe in their imported ingredients and say they spend time making their pizzas visually appealing. "You taste with your eyes first," Urrutia said.

Redner, a vegan for more than 10 years, cannot taste the pizzas but has told his managers how much looks count.

Adams knows this. She continues to strip at the Mons Venus when she's not managing Not Your Average Joe's.

"I don't know when I'll ever leave the Mons," Adams said. "If I ever get too fat or too old, you let me know."

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or

Joe Redner plunges into the pizza business 06/03/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  2. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month


    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  4. Is sinkhole damage sinking Tampa Bay property values?

    Real Estate

    On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 16.

    A gated community in Hernando's Spring Hill area, Pristine Place has long been susceptible to sinkholes with nearly a third of its houses with documented sinkhole damage by 2012. Today, however, many houses with repaired sinkhole damage are selling for more than houses without any issues. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]
  5. The real estate pros in charge of Tampa's $3 billion makeover are younger than you think

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Brooke May, a 36-year-old senior construction project manager, knew she wanted to work for Strategic Property Partners the minute she met some team members involved with the group's massive downtown Tampa makeover.

    Matt Davis, Vice President of Development posed for a portrait in the Strategic Property Partners office in Channelside on July 12, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]