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'Vietnamese fusion' restaurant looks to fill void

District Designs

District Designs

DOWNTOWN — Not many residents live near their new restaurant yet, but Xuan "Sing" Hurt and Lynn Pham say they already have a built-in clientele.

While the facility was being renovated, people kept popping their heads into the Bamboozle Cafe at 516 N Tampa St., wondering when it might open.

Hurt said she couldn't blame them.

"This downtown area was really missing a restaurant like ours, that's casual but has really great, naturally healthy food," Hurt said.

The "Vietnamese fusion" restaurant opened this week for lunch service but will soon serve breakfast and, possibly by the end of the year, dinner. Because Bamboozle Cafe is just a block from the new SkyPoint condominium tower, Hurt said the goal is to serve not just downtown workers but local residents, too.

"We would like to be considered a neighborhood business and grow as the neighborhood grows," she said.

Bamboozle is more of a quick service restaurant, Hurt said, featuring healthy food that is mostly Vietnamese. Diners can choose their meat and their vegetables and watch as their meal is made.

Signature dishes include pho, which includes rice noodles, steak, sprouts and beef broth and is "synonymous with Vietnamese cuisine," Hurt said. She expects rice noodle salads to be popular; customers can add chicken, pork, steak, shrimp or tofu.

Hours for now are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, but Hurt said Bamboozle should be open for breakfast at 6 a.m. within a few weeks. Pastries will include beignets; Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk will be the signature drink. Bamboozle also is expected to offer beer and wine in the coming months.

More power to you

Batteries are like groceries: Everyone needs them; few enjoy buying them.

A Wisconsin-based company called Batteries Plus is trying to make battery shopping less painful for those who need more juice for their iPods or voltage for their vehicles. This month, franchisee Dan Snyder opened a Batteries Plus store at 138 S Dale Mabry.

Snyder, who also has stores in Brandon and Lakeland, calls Batteries Plus "a one-stop shop" for just about any battery. "We're trying to be the first stop and not the last stop for batteries for cell phones, watches, laptops, PDAs, iPods," he said.

If the store doesn't carry a specific battery, it has a tech center that can obtain one or put one together within a couple of days, Snyder said. "If you have a cordless mixer or cordless razor or a flashlight that has rechargeable batteries, instead of throwing the device away, we can replace the battery."

Battery replacement for watches is a major segment of the business, but Snyder said his store generally does not accept high-end watches.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday.

Stars heads north

Stars Athletics was displaced from its building at Lois Avenue and Gandy Boulevard after Wal-Mart bought the site in the fall, but the gymnastics and cheerleading center has reappeared at 3702 W Beach St. off N Dale Mabry Highway.

Stars offers team and recreational gymnastics, cheer classes and all-star cheerleading instruction. Its new 18,000-square-foot location is about half its previous size, gym director Rick Schultz said, but the facility is offering the same classes and is available for birthday parties. Call (813) 835-1600 for more information.

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

>>The find

Ghost clock

Tick tock. The traditional carriage clock is reinterpreted as a glass-cased fantome clock, also known as the ghost clock, with ornate scrollwork etching and Roman numerals. The rear mirror reflects the elegant engraving and intricate chrome clock mechanism. Place it on a mantel or attach to a wall. The clock is 21 inches high and 14 inches wide and sells for $210 at District Designs, 1212 E Whiting St., in the Channel District. Call 221-4607.

Amy Scherzer

'Vietnamese fusion' restaurant looks to fill void 04/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:36am]
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