Make us your home page
Everybody's Business

Rojo Taco to open on Twigg Street in Tampa

Like many business owners during the recession, Mary Khabbaz has mulled creative ways to bring frugal fun to the midday meal.

Her solution? The new Rojo Taco, slated to open early next month in a tiny spot at 309 Twigg St.

The owner of the well-reviewed Paninoteca Mediterranean Café is opening a second venture because, she believes, downtown workers need it.

"I know this recession has just been killing everyone," Khabbaz said. "We want to bring down our price point for lunch to where people are able to afford to eat (out) every day instead of packing their lunch."

Rojo Taco will be built around "fun Mexican," she said, with create-your-own burritos and tacos and taco salad, much of it for takeout. There will be a small amount of indoor and patio seating. "It will be more of a fast-food type place, but we want to keep it healthy, the same as what we are doing with Paninoteca," Khabbaz said, meaning organic vegetables and grilled and antibiotic-free meats and chicken.

Rojo Taco also will stay open late for those who need a bite after a night out. It will be open daily from about 11 a.m. to 2 or 3 a.m.

"It's going to be that place that is always open, every day," Khabbaz said.

Biergarten opens at Hyde Park Cafe

Jayne Portnoy swears that when the Hyde Park Café opened 14 years ago it was much more low-key than the humming night spot it has become.

Portnoy, marketing director for the cafe and parent company Soho Leisure Group, said the club hopes to bring back some of its earlier customers — that is, the ones who may now have to be home by 10 p.m. — with its new (and more relaxed) Biergarten.

The Biergarten opened Jan. 1 in an outdoor atrium at the Hyde Park Café that seats up to 200 people. It serves over 60 handcrafted and domestic beers, along with everything else on the main Hyde Park Café menu.

The difference: It's more mellow, and open at 5 p.m., five hours before nightclubs Velociti and Wally & Bernie's get rolling. The kitchen serves traditional favorites like Cajun peanuts, wings, sliders and Paranelli's pizza.

"We added the Biergarten in hopes of bringing back that 35-plus customer who used to be at the cafe all the time," Portnoy said.

The Biergarten is open Tuesday through Saturday. The club's Web site is

Davis Islands duo does massage and facials

Massage therapist Erin Powers has teamed up with a former colleague to create Islander Massage and Skin Care.

Powers opened up her own shop in 2008 near the entrance to Davis Islands, 43B Davis Blvd. She was joined last month by Cathy Tunick-Cabeche, who needed a place to go after the closing of the DI Body and Boutique location on Davis Islands, where they both once worked. "We've always stayed in touch," Powers said. "I had a back room that ended up being a perfect spot for her."

Powers is a licensed massage therapist and Tunick-Cabeche is an esthetician who does facials and waxing with a holistic approach. Hours at Islander Massage and Skin Care are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday, all by appointment. Islander's Web site is

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

Rojo Taco to open on Twigg Street in Tampa 01/21/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  2. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  3. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter


    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  4. Air bag inflator ruptures, driver killed in Pasco County


    DETROIT — Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

    Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator. 
[Associated Press]
  5. Jeff Bezos tops Bill Gates as world's richest person — for a day


    Jeff Bezos on Thursday took something away from a billionaire neighbor in the Seattle area, Bill Gates — the mantle of world's richest person.

    Well at least for a day.

    Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, discusses his Blue Origin reusable rocket project in Colorado Springs in April. A bump in the price of Amazon shares in July of 2017 was enough to move  Bezos above Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who has topped Forbes' billionaires list 18 out of the last 23 years. 
(Nick Cote | The New York Times]