VALRICO — After nine years of serving regulars a different kind of seafood experience that often including patrons dining on the sidewalk of Brandon's La Viva Plaza, the Shrimp Boat restaurant finally has settled into its new home.
Owners completed the move, which was announced late last year and planned for December, on Jan. 31 when the popular eatery opened its doors at 1078 Bloomingdale Ave. in Plaza Bella after going dark for just two days during the transition.
"We wanted to make sure we were fully set up and ready to go," said Albert Paone Jr., the head chef of the restaurant owned by his parents, Sharon and Al, who taught his son to cook after toiling in eight restaurants dating to his youth in Philadelphia.
The new location, which sits in the former Cheddar Biscuit spot near Bell Shoals Road, boasts an expanded dining room with space for 60, an enclosed patio with another 40 seats and a larger bar that features 12 beers on tap and more than 30 cocktails ranging from $6.50 to $11.
Paone also boasts about once serving Gov. Rick Scott.
Regulars have come to enjoy a couple staples that will hold over at the new location. The popular Saturday night Category 4 taste testing $26 pre fixe menu that appears only online and has included more than 130 versions during the past 2½ years, will continue. So too will the three kinds of homemade ice cream, frozen with liquid nitrogen, including a malted milk chocolate with crushed Whoppers, salted butter caramel and bananas foster.
The phone number remains the same: (813) 571-7860.
"This is the pleasure business," said Paone, a Tampa Prep graduate with no formal culinary schooling. "We want to provide an experience for people to enjoy themselves."
CrossFit training arises in Gibsonton
Don Moss got one of the best workouts of his life in 2010 when he was serving in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq. A 23-year veteran who retired last May, he thought he was in good shape until a friend persuaded him to try a CrossFit routine.
"I was laying there completely exhausted," he said. "I felt so good, I wanted other people to feel like this."
When he returned to full-time civilian life, the first thing he did was grow a beard and the second thing he did was start a community CrossFit group out of his Riverview garage with about five regular fitness friends. Since the nearest CrossFit gym was 20 minutes away in Brandon, he and his wife, Tracy — currently on active duty in the Air Force — decided to open CrossFit Apogee at 7130 Big Bend Road, Suite 104 in Gibsonton near East Bay High School. Texas resident Andy Reardon is a silent partner in the business.
Every Saturday morning from September through its December opening, CrossFit Apogee held free workouts in the field outside the building, while workers added finishing touches to the 5,000-square-foot facility. They opened the doors with 25 members, a number that has grown to 103.
CrossFit Apogee just expanded to six classes and still offers free trials every Saturday at 8 a.m. for potential members. Memberships are paid up front for one, three, six or 12 months and rates go down the longer the investment. The gym also offers free kid care and drop-in workouts for $15.
"It's a tribe environment where people develop friendships," said Moss, who believes he's in better shape at 40 than he was in his 20s because he can now execute handstand pushups and one-legged squats. "It's an effective workout in a good, supportive environment."
Learn more by calling (813) 677-1234 or visit cfapogee.com.
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