PALMA CEIA — Expanding Toffee to Go into a renovated building on Bay to Bay Boulevard is a sweet move for owners Lisa and Jim Schalk, who opened the enlarged factory and sales outlet Oct. 5.
"The new location is three times the size, with better retail visibility,'' Lisa Schalk said. Jim Schalk and operation manager Anne Hazen designed the 3,000-square-foot space with separate areas for retail, cooking and shipping. Previously, the business, which specializes in corporate gifts, operated on El Prado Avenue.
"Now we have room to try new things, such as a toffee sauce and brittle, maybe an ice cream topping,'' Lisa Schalk said.
The Schalks "took the plunge'' nearly nine years ago, she said, starting the toffee-manufacturing business from a family recipe. "We gave it away to friends and neighbors for Christmas gifts and they wanted to buy more.''
Jim Schalk left a career in hotel management and the couple began making three flavors of toffee: milk chocolate almond, dark chocolate pecan and white chocolate macadamia nut.
Toffee to Go, 3251 Bay to Bay Blvd., is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit toffeetogo.com or call (813) 831-6247.
Shaq drops by new pizza restaurant
Guess who was eating pizza last week at Your Pie?
Shaquille O'Neal, that's who — a friend of the owner, according to general manager Myron Carlton.
Carlton personally made the basketball great three or four pizzas at the restaurant, which opened early last month on Dale Mabry Highway across from Plant High.
At Your Pie, all the pizzas are 10 inches — about the diameter of a basketball, Carlton said — baked in a brick oven at almost 600 degrees and sliced into sixths. Diners choose from three crusts — white, wheat or gluten-free — and more than 40 toppings.
Prefer a salad? The pizza dough can be cooked inverted on a ceramic bowl in the oven, then filled with veggies and cheese, spinach or romaine lettuce to create a bread bowl salad. Calzones and paninis are also on the menu.
"We're a quick lunch stop or leisurely family restaurant,'' said Carlton. "Pizzas only take about five minutes because the oven is so hot.''
Beer and wine is also available. Monday nights, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.
Your Pie, 2219 S Dale Mabry, is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit YourPie.com or call (813) 402-2982.
Specialized products, services just for dogs
Two new businesses have gone to the dogs: Health Mutt boutique in Seminole Heights, and Dogma, a mobile spa service traveling throughout South Tampa and into Pinellas County.
Kendra Bailey, 23, calls Health Mutt "an all-natural neighborhood pet store,'' providing a variety of nutritious, holistic foods. "Everything in the bag has a purpose, such as kelp, butternut squash, flaxseed, cranberries," said Bailey. "No fillers, wheat, corn, soy or by-products."
In addition to selling an array of collars, leashes, toys and treats, the store features a self-service dog wash. The $12 fee includes ear wipes, eye wipes, warm water and towels. Customers who prepay for five baths get one free.
Pictures can be taken in Health Mutt's portrait studio after Fifi is all prettied up. Bailey holds a degree in fine arts with a concentration in photography from the University of South Florida. A holiday special Dec. 3 offers a 30-minute pet photo session for $50.
Health Mutt, 6116 N Central Ave., is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit tampahealthmutt.com or call (813) 231-3137.
Tracy Gannuscio, 39, and Elizabeth M. Krege, 25, launched Dogma Mobile Grooming Spa this month. The partners are scheduling bathing and grooming appointments for all breeds, sizes and ages in their vehicle, which they say is serene, clean and cage-free.
"Facials, pedicures, moisturizers, tranquil music, aromatherapy," said Gannuscio. "We provide a true spa experience using all-natural products, just like you'd want for yourself."
Bath prices vary; grooming fees start at $70. Visit dogmaspa.com or call (727) 698-9500.
Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Reach Amy Scherzer at (813) 226-3332 or [email protected]