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Petra brings Mideast fare near University of Tampa

TAMPA — The late-June opening of halal restaurant Petra expands South Tampa's global cuisine profile, bringing Mediterranean fare to W Kennedy Boulevard, just east of Willow Avenue.

"Everything is made from scratch — falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, said Muein Alutaibi, one of the owners, along with Ayman Saed and Musa Hamdan. Also a variety of kebabs and shawarma seasoned with a blend of Middle Eastern spices.

This is the third location for the restaurateurs. The original Petra restaurant opened in 2005 on Busch Boulevard, the second more than a year ago in Tampa Palms. The newest, casual, 130-seat spot is near University of Tampa, home to more than 1,300 international students, many from the Middle East.

No alcohol will be served, but an outdoor hookah lounge will stay open until 3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Catering will be available.

Petra, 1118 W Kennedy Blvd., will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call (813) 513-3000.

Rockatar Music Academy expands

Neighbors Michael and Julie Levy and Mary and Stephen Bennion struck a chord when they met in their Westchase neighborhood. Three years ago, they combined resources to open Rockatar Music Academy and Studios there. This week, their second location opens on S MacDill Avenue, in St. Croix Plaza, north of Gandy Boulevard.

Voice lessons and formal instruction on all instruments are coupled with live performances. "We are known for performing in neighborhood restaurants," said Mary Bennion. "So we're very excited to be near the new Roux restaurant and other awesome South Tampa places."

Rockatar's six lesson rooms and large performance space are cheery and comfortable. "Kids should want to come to music lessons," Mary said. Starting June 7, weekly summer camp programs begin for ages 4 and older.

"The children become a band, choose the songs and try all the different instruments," Mary said. "On Fridays, they perform for their parents, which we video and put on our private YouTube channel and our online learning platform."

Michael Levy, who plays keyboards, drums, guitar and piano, is associated with music enrichment programs and events at more than 100 Hillsborough County schools and soon, at the Northwest YMCA. Most recently, he conducted the entertainment at the Relay for Life cancer benefit at Alonso High.

The public is invited to the grand opening Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. to meet Michael Levy and lead instructor Richy Scally and to enjoy the house band in concert.

Rockatar Music Academy, 4205 S MacDill Ave., is open 2 to 8 p.m. daily. Visit or call (813) 404-9194.

Outdoor kitchen store opens on Henderson

Summer grilling goes upscale with the opening of Soleic Outdoor Kitchen Store on Henderson Boulevard near Swann Avenue.

"We build and install complete turnkey, outdoor kitchens using waterproof and weatherproof outdoor cabinets," said David Waring, general manager. "It's more elegant than the traditional welded frame and stucco boxes. And there are hundreds of appliance combinations … grills, coolers, sinks."

Customers start with a showroom visit "to see the high quality," Waring said. Then staff comes on site to provide design proposals, ''from $3,000 to the sky's the limit."

This is the first company-owned store for the local manufacturer.

Soleic Outdoor Kitchen Store, 3605 Henderson Blvd., is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Visit or call (813) 515-6980.

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Petra brings Mideast fare near University of Tampa 05/29/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:34am]
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