BRANDON —The Rack, a South Tampa hot spot known for its sushi and billiards, didn't start that way.
In the beginning, there was no sushi.
"We had a back bar that started as a rum bar with a very wide selection of different rums, said Seth Ronchetti, who owns the Rack with two business partners. "When that idea didn't pan out, we decided that we could use half the bar for sushi with minimal changes to the work area and make it a true sushi bar."
Since October 2002, the Rack has established itself as a mainstay on the South Howard Avenue restaurant scene. Ronchetti and his partners, Tom Golden and Greg Anastasas, have long wanted to open a second location. But they never found the right property. Until now.
They plan to open New Year's Day in a busy plaza on Brandon Boulevard. In the new location, the formula for the business will remain mostly unchanged.
"We'll have the same menu, same eclectic decor, and the same atmosphere," Ronchetti said. "Although, it will be a little bigger, especially the dining area."
The business partners plan to open the Rack at 1025 W Brandon Blvd. They will occupy the former Piccadilly Cafeteria near Burlington Coat Factory and the forthcoming Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant. For information, call (813) 927-6566.
Learn to make your own wine at home
One evening, Carol Faesslar and Darcy Herminda were enjoying homemade wine when they realized there wasn't a store in Tampa to help the home brewer. They decided to create a retail outlet in Brandon for people who want to brew at home.
The pair opened Bootleggers this month.
"I got into brewing because I like red wine, but it gave me headaches," said co-owner Carol Faesslar. "Someone suggested I make my own wine. I found a couple who taught me how, and I've been hooked since then."
Give her an opening and Faesslar explains the benefits of at-home brewing.
"If you drink wine or beer regularly, it's more economic than store bought," she said "The preservatives in store-bought wine can be harmful, and since you're making it yourself, there aren't any preservatives."
Bootleggers offers everything the home brewer needs from ingredients to bottles and labels. Kits start from $12.99 and go up to $200. Soda, liqueur and cider kits are available as well.
The store also offers on-site classes to learn how to make wine.
"You don't need experience to make wine," Faesslar said. "We can show you how in the store."
Bootleggers is at 650 Oakfield Drive. The store opens Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The store is closed on Mondays. For information, call (813) 643-9463.
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