DOWNTOWN TAMPA — Downtown diners have waited nearly six years for a restaurant to reopen on the ground floor of the BB&T Bank at Ashley Drive and Madison Street.
By late July, they'll find Nature's Table serving "healthy fast food" in 1,200 of the 5,000 square feet occupied by Lucky Dill until its September 2008 eviction.
It will be the fifth Nature's Table location for franchisees John and Cindy Olejnik, working with their children, executive chef Jonathan and general manager Heather.
Breakfast bagels, bowls and wraps will be offered until 10:30 a.m. Wraps, sandwiches, salads, and veggie and fruit smoothies comprise the core menu, plus daily specials and soups. Customers can sign up for menu updates via email.
"Our West Shore Boulevard location was the first to introduce a lighter menu: pulled turkey, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, baby kale and spinach, brown rice and quinoa," said John Olejnik, anticipating similar items in downtown Tampa.
Catering is always available, he said. "It's a very small location, but we will be able to handle any volume."
Nature's Table, 400 N Tampa St., will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays during special events.
Ravioli Company opens second location
The Ravioli Company, known for freshly made pasta, sauces and creative fillings (cinnamon chile-rubbed bison ravioli, anyone? Or purple yam, leek and truffle ravioli?), has opened a second storefront on S MacDill Avenue in the Bayshore Plaza.
"This is the most efficient kitchen I've ever seen," Lauren Otis said, calling the new location "a model to grow on." She and husband Dwight Otis will keep the original Manhattan Avenue store as home base for gourmet carryout.
Two items quickly became "crazy popular" since the February opening, Lauren said. Artisan macaroni and cheese, such as ropa vieja with beef cheeks or tenderloin, and grilled foccacia pizza, hot from the oven or ready to take and bake at home.
There are also grab-and-go salads, fully or partly baked breads, cookies and cannoli.
Later this summer, the couple will begin building a pasta production kitchen and hydroponic garden to grow their herbs and greens on S Howard Avenue opposite the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory.
The Ravioli Company, 3215 S MacDill Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Visit raviolicompany.com or call (813) 515-5805.
Anise expands into adjoining burger joint
Just 15 months after opening Anise Global Gastrobar at the foot of Skypoint condominiums, co-owners Xuan and Kevin Hurt have expanded into the adjoining space vacated by Five Guys in February.
"This will more than triple the size of our kitchen," Kevin said. More space means new menu items, none of which he is ready to reveal just yet. He will, however, happily discuss the addition of new covered outdoor seating.
In the meantime, the Hurts welcome soccer fans and newbies to watch the World Cup on a 200-inch high-definition screen while enjoying craft cocktails and Korean-Asian fusion cuisine, especially the popular Stinky Bunz, pork belly buns with kimchee or pillowy buns filled with beer-battered shrimp and green papaya slaw.
The kitchen will be fully functioning during the renovation, from 11 a.m. to midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. on weekends.
Anise Gastro Bar is at 777 N Ashley Drive. Visit anise globalgastrobar.com for updates.
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