CHANNEL DISTRICT — Francisco Arias is not the black sheep in his El Salvador family.
Not at all, he said laughing. The inspiration for the name of his Channel District artisanal (aka homemade) bakery and coffee house, Le Mouton Noir Bakehouse, (aka The Black Sheep) came from an oil painting in his Harbour Island dining room.
The painting depicts a flock of sheep, with a lone black sheep off to the side, said Arias, 35, who holds individuality in high esteem.
"Things are finally happening here," said Arias, referring to the neighborhood where he expected to be open in the Ventana condominium.
Chef Hachem Al Aaloui originally from Morocco, bakes old world-style breads, including baguettes, focaccia and multi-grain loaves, as well as croissants, scones and cinnamon buns. An array of quiche and sandwiches are offered daily, served with Buddy Brew coffee and non-traditional sodas, sweetened with cane and natural sugars. A communal table seats 10, and a comfortable lounge area offers free Wi-Fi.
A former catering and sales manager at the Tradewinds resort in St. Pete Beach, Arias has taken pastry and baking classes and plans to be literally hands-on with every part of the business. He holds a master's in business administration, with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management, from Johnson and Wales University.
Le Mouton Noir Bakehouse, 1112 Channelside Drive; is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Visit LMNbakehouse.com or (813) 226-8833.
Gourmet Greek market and deli on S MacDill
Brother and sister Nasos and Effie Alexopoulos bring a taste of Tarpon Springs to south MacDill Avenue with the Sept. 6 opening of Nasos Gourmet Greek Market and Deli.
The tiny market offers imported cheeses and olives and an array of prepared salads, spanokopita, Greek yogurt and hummus. Bakery items include tsoureki bread and sweets such as koulouria, kok, diples and katafi. And baklava cheesecake, "that's a treat," said Nasos.
On the shelf: olive oils, greek coffee, tea and spices.
First generation Greek-Americans, the siblings practically grew up in their parents Busy Bee diner in Pinellas Park, said Effie, recalling "sleeping in the booths as little kids." Their brother Greg owns the Forest Hills Diner in north Tampa, home of the beloved Goody Goody burger.
"He owns the recipe rights," said Effie. That means, in addition to catering herbed roasted chicken, roasted leg of lamb and other Greek specialities, she adds, "Oh yes, we can cater Goody Goody burgers."
Nasos Gourmet Greek Market, 3215 S MacDill Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; call (813) 831-5461.
Artist David O'Keefe opens second gallery
Artist David O'Keefe has expanded his Tampa operation, opening a gallery in Channelside Bay Plaza to sell his original paintings, sculptures, wearable art, tumblers and novelty items.
And visitors just might catch the artist there, perhaps working on his next painting: Republican presidents Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Reagan golfing together.
After that one, he'll paint four Democratic presidents on the golf course, said Rena Charles, studio director. "He's deciding on which four right now."
O'Keefe spent more than 25 years as an editorial illustrator at the Tampa Tribune. He left in 2007 to open David O'Keefe Studios, cartooning and lampooning pop culture and sports personalities. Two of his most popular works feature the casts of The Godfather, Caddyshack and I Love Lucy.
The new gallery, opened in August, is O'Keefe's second. A St. Armand's Circle location opened three years ago in Sarasota.
David O'Keefe Studios, 615 Channelside Drive, Suite 103, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; till 7 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit davidokeefe.com or call (813) 254-5056.
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