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SoHo gelato restaurant shopping for new location

AMY SCHERZER   |   Times

AMY SCHERZER | Times

SOHO — Italian dessert spot La Casa Dolce Cafe has deserted its space at 406 S Howard Ave.

The SoHo gelato store and restaurant plans to move elsewhere as soon as possible, but a new location has yet to be determined.

Wherever it lands, manager Sanford Lederman said, La Casa Dolce will be downsizing, eliminating for now the wine and beer offerings and focusing instead on coffee, gelato and desserts.

Lederman said the new location will have to be better for families and more easily accessible.

"Parking was horrible," Lederman said. "Ice cream is really something for the kids, and there are no kids in that area. Also, it's more of a club area. Parents are not going to bring their kids so much to a club area."

The lease has been taken over by the owners of MacDinton's Irish Pub and Restaurant across the street. Details on plans for the La Casa Dolce space were not available from MacDinton's officials early this week.

La Casa Dolce had earned local awards for its gelato and got a bit of a buzz boost when former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani stopped by during his campaign last fall.

She's nuts for mutts

A former accountant has gone from crunching numbers to fluffing and fussing over pups in SoHo. In April, Karen Nash opened Mutts a Million dog grooming and day care service at 1413 S Howard Ave., Suite 103A.

"Probably the greatest gift that anyone could ever get is working with animals and getting their unconditional love every day," Nash said.

This is the first shop for Nash, who has worked for other groomers for about five years since leaving accounting. She said she is proud of her dog-show quality cuts, also known as breed standard haircuts. "We are not a shave down shop," she said.

Her 1,265-square-foot shop also sells high-quality dog foods and offers day care for up to 10 small dogs a day.

Drop-ins are welcome, Nash said, but it is best to bring a dog in for a quick visit the day before its first day-care session.

Hours at Mutts a Million are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 to 3 on Saturday.

Groceries to your door

It's been tried before (notably and unsuccessfully by Publix), but Martin Jordanov said he believes the time is right to launch a grocery delivery service for the Tampa Bay area.

Jordanov recently started a franchise of WeGoShop.com, covering Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Unlike area concierge services that do a variety of errands and delivery, Jordanov is sticking strictly to groceries.

"I talked to (Publix), and they said that they put a lot of money into (grocery delivery), with little outcome," Jordanov said. "But I've also talked to other (WeGoShop) franchisee owners, and they said it's going great."

His is a niche clientele that ranges from companies that need food for events, to shut-ins, to people who are too busy to go to the store.

"Some are home bound. They don't own a car," Jordanov said. "I had one or two seniors that don't like to go out too much. … I had a gentleman in Tampa, a businessman. He hates shopping."

The per-trip service charge ranges from 23 percent of the order for a grocery order under $100 to 17 percent for orders over $300. Online ordering is available at wegoshop.com, or call (727) 637-6693 for more information.

More tart treats

The "Everybody's Business" column has reported about two Pinkberry frozen yogurt clones that are marking their grand openings in South Tampa this month — SunniBunni on Howard Avenue and Berryism on S Dale Mabry — but it's worth noting that another has been open for a year at 2303 W Morrison Ave.

Cali Yogurt, which offers so-called tart yogurt with a variety of toppings, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394 or e-mail [email protected]

>>the find

Art Strings

The Florida Orchestra Guild of Tampa invited five artists to paint violins for their Art Strings project as a fundraiser for the orchestra. Two examples — Singing Violin, left, by Donna Collova and Gustav Mahler by Karen Solomon — are seen here. Tickets to win one of these original works of art may be purchased at www.tampaguild.org. One ticket costs $5, seven tickets are $30, 15 tickets are $50 and $100 gets you 40 tickets. Winning tickets will be drawn May 28. For more information, visit the Web site or call (813) 334-6812.

SoHo gelato restaurant shopping for new location 05/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2008 2:03pm]
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