BRANDON — Brandon Saladworks staged its grand opening March 26, but the soft opening may have been more impressive thanks to a visit from New York Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson.
It was no accident. Granderson is a close cousin of owner Calvin Rucker.
Whereas Granderson is known for his hitting prowess and fielding ability, Rucker and his wife, Felicia, hope the healthier options offered at their restaurant will be a big hit with locals.
Saladworks is at 2020 W Brandon Blvd., in the Brandon Lakes Plaza near Outback Steakhouse. Rucker said he plans to start delivery service.
"We just wanted to get things up and going before we started delivery," he said. "We're looking at delivery in a 5-mile radius."
Of course, customers are still welcome to dine in or pick up a to-go order.
Saladworks offers 13 salads, from familiar Greek and Cobb salads to their signature Bently salad, which includes baked ham, roast turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, chopped eggs and tomatoes.
Customers can also create their own salad from a choice of 70 fresh ingredients and 18 dressings. (The salad ingredients are displayed in a case, like choosing flavors at an ice cream parlor, and the staff makes the salads using the ingredients the customers want.)
The meats, fruits and vegetables for the salad are all chopped fresh in-house. The soups are Saladworks products that are delivered ready-made.
This location of the restaurant chain offers seating for nearly 60 customers. Within the next few months, outdoor seating overlooking a lake behind the restaurant will be added, Rucker said.
Saladworks is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call (813) 689-2396 or visit saladworks.com.
Bloomingdale Pizza is branching out: People never seemed to mind driving from FishHawk Ranch to Bloomingdale Pizza at 4334 Bell Shoals Road. In fact, co-owner Al Carapella said that since he bought Bloomingdale Pizza about five years ago, a lot of his customers have come from FishHawk.
So when Carapella and partner Lou Bevilacqua decided to open a second location, the FishHawk area seemed like the natural choice.
FishHawk Pizza is set to open in a few weeks, right outside the Osprey Point entrance to FishHawk Ranch.
Since so many people knew Bloomingdale Pizza, it might seem a bit odd that the new location didn't keep that name. But Carapella said he really wants the new restaurant to be identified with its new neighborhood.
"The reason I called it FishHawk Pizza is that I really want to be part of this neighborhood," he said.
He said he wants FishHawk to be part of community events and organizations, to sponsor youth sports teams and enhance the neighborhood in any way it can.
The name is different, but Carapella said there's been no reason to vary from Bloomingdale Pizza's formula for success.
The menu, which includes pizza, ziti, eggplant Parmesan, veal cutlet and other Italian-American favorites, is the same at both locations. The prices are the same, too — almost every entree is less than $10, and draft beers are $1. Delivery is available for a $2 charge.
FishHawk Pizza is at 15260 FishHawk Blvd. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Delivery orders will be taken until 30 minutes before closing. The phone number isn't available yet, and the website (fishhawkpizzeria.com) is not up yet, but bloomingdalepizza.com should have details on the new location when it's closer to opening.
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