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Mediterranean cuisine, simply mac and cheese, a new salon and event decor

DAVIS ISLANDS — Downtown Davis Islands' popular dining corner's newest incarnation, Fountain Square Mediterranean Cuisine, combines "the best of 14 countries on the Mediterranean Sea," says owner Alex Chouri, naming some of his Lebanese, Greek and Italian specialities. Previous tenants at the East Davis Boulevard restaurant include a deli (Freid's), a Cuban cafe (Pipo's), Chez Bryce (French cuisine) and Bailey's (southern comfort fare).

Shopping center developer Chouri has owned four Middle Eastern restaurants, inspired by his Italian-Lebanese mother's recipes. This location features hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, grape leaves and classic appetizers, served individually or on a $14.95 meza platter. Kebabs, gyros, shawarmas, sandwiches, flatbreads and burgers are offered as lunch and dinner entrees. Vegetarians will find an array of salads, lentil soup and other options.

Dining is outdoors only for now, as the interior renovation is under way. Artist Ron Francis is creating Mediterranean arches and other architectural details.

Entertainment is booked nightly, with flamenco and belly dancers on weekends in the hookah lounge. Two indoor bars and two outdoor bars offer daily Happy Hour specials on beer, wine, sangria and spirts.

Late-night diners will find the kitchen open till 11 p.m. and the bar till 2 a.m. weekdays and till 3 a.m. on weekends. Catering is available.

Fountain Square Mediterranean Cuisine, 238 E Davis Blvd., is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit or call (813) 251-4600.

Mac and cheese land near university

Who doesn't love mac and cheese, Greg Artale asked and answered himself by opening Max & Chz, a tiny eatery south of Kennedy Boulevard near the University of Tampa.

There's classic Velveeta mac and cheese, of course, as well as such mix-ins as burger, hot dog, scrambled eggs and bacon, or tuna, served in 7-inch or 9-inch bowls. Ham and swiss was a recent daily special and seafood Alfredo and Philly cheesesteak are already popular.

After 5 p.m., wings and nachos are added to the menu. Nearby delivery is free for orders over $15.

Artale, a TV cooking show aficionado originally from New York, hopes to expand the brand to malls and college campuses.

Max & Chz, 117 S Hyde Park Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (813) 259-0055 or visit

Salon Sassin opens on Armenia Avenue

Beauticians Omar and Maryteresa Sassin bring a combined 50 years of experience and hundreds of hair styling championship awards to Salon Sassin, which opened Aug. 1 in an Armenia Avenue bungalow neighboring Inkwood Books. The Sassin name may sound familiar as they have owned or worked in several South Tampa beauty salons.

"Makeovers are our thing," Maryteresa said. "Creating an overall new look." The couple have taught advanced haircutting and color techniques for many years, and styled hair at New York Fashion Week for Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and other designers.

Salon Sassin, 212 S Armenia Ave., is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Visit or call (813) 259-9191.

Event decor galore on N Howard

Event decor designers Stephanie and Marty Prenatt expanded FH Wedding & Events into a N Howard Avenue warehouse at Cypress Street last month.

Modern and vintage furniture, draperies and lighting equipment fill the space, ready for use in customized designs for any occasion. A large walk-in cooler for the floral designers on staff is under construction.

"We're known for new ideas and concepts," Stephanie said, adding that their work has been published in several magazines and blogs.

The couple began decorating wedding and event venues as Fishhawk Wedding & Events, eventually abbreviating the name to FH Wedding & Events.

FH Weddings & Events, 903 N Howard Ave, is open by appointment. Call (813) 390-9371 or visit Visit

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Mediterranean cuisine, simply mac and cheese, a new salon and event decor 08/20/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:06pm]
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