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Sofia's restaurant brings healthy eats to Seffner

Susan Stanley, left, opened Sophia’s with her mother, Sally Stanley, right, and daughter Shelicia Stanley to honor family matriarch Sofia Nocek.

Eric Vician | Special to the Times

Susan Stanley, left, opened Sophia’s with her mother, Sally Stanley, right, and daughter Shelicia Stanley to honor family matriarch Sofia Nocek.

SEFFNER — In Polish, they called her Babci.

At 1432 S Kingsway Road, she is Sofia Nocek, the inspiration behind Sofia's — a fusion of healthy eating and healthy living that goes beyond what you might expect from a restaurant.

While Sofia's offers a full menu of breakfast, lunch, baked goods and fruit-blended drinks, it's the items not found on the menu that give this 3-month-old establishment a unique twist on healthy living.

"Sofia's is a balance of nutrition for body, mind and spirit," said Susan Stanley, who opened the business with her mother, Sally Stanley, and daughter Shelicia Stanley, to honor the matriarch of the family.

"We know that if we are eating real food and not processed food-like substances (fast food), we will be supplying our bodies with the needed building blocks to heal ourselves."

Susan, a collegiate swimmer at Indiana University and former human resources professional, believes in eating to thrive, not just survive. She asked Father Arthur Proulx of Nativity Catholic Church to bless Sofia's during its December opening.

She also follows the teachings of Max Gerson, a German physician who developed an alternative dietary therapy, and Drs. Joel Fuhrman and Mark Hyman.

With every $4 mighty muff or $5 garden salad, patrons can expect a dash of flaxseed or G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds) designed to boost immunity.

Sofia's does not use any butter, sugar, white flour or salt in the cooking process and whenever possible, uses local, farm fresh ingredients.

"You won't be hungry an hour later," Sally said.

Sofia's is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch, but it caters to networking groups of 10 or more from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and hosts special events after 2 p.m.

Sofia's also caters to the community through food and deed. Grab-n-go suppers are available during the week from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for orders placed online by noon the previous day.

Sofia's acts as a special event venue for meditation, vegan buffets, movie & munchies night, Bible study and even a kids club.

Ask about making leprechaun juice in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Hobby Town owners branch out into yogurt

Carole and Steve Raimondi understand what it takes to be franchise owners. For the past 12 years, they have owned Hobby Town USA Regency Square in Brandon.

So when a retail space opened near the AMC Regency 20 movie theater, they decided to open another business — frozen yogurt, or froyo. The Raimondis plan to open the first Orange Leaf franchise in Hillsborough County at 2494 W Brandon Blvd. at the beginning of April.

Carole said that while local residents may know about froyo, they likely don't know froyo the Orange Leaf way. The company has headquarters in Oklahoma City, and the Regency location will be the first in the Tampa Bay area. The closest open Orange Leaf is in Sarasota.

"The atmosphere is very bright and fun," Carole said. "Their flavors and product were a step above some of the others we looked at."

Carole, who has lived in Valrico for 23 years, said the attributes that attracted her to Orange Leaf included the taste and texture of the yogurt and the machines and processes they use to make it.

Contractors are placing the finishing touches on what Carole expects will be a family-oriented, visually uplifting environment that will allow her to become involved with school spirit nights and similar community events.

She said the opening created eight to 12 jobs and there are still some part-time positions available.

And as if two franchises weren't enough for the Raimondis, they plan to open a third.

Great Clips is slated to open March 16 at 3476 Lithia-Pinecrest Road in the Lithia Crossing center.

Expect another eight to 12 jobs there as well. And yes, they are still hiring.

If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, please contact Eric Vician at

Sofia's restaurant brings healthy eats to Seffner 03/07/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 3:10pm]
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