FISHHAWK RANCH — Shawn Sarkisian noticed a pattern among his customers at Park Square Cellar.
"They would come here early in the evening, then they'd leave and go somewhere for dinner and they would come back after dinner," he said.
So when the restaurant next door closed, it seemed like a natural idea for Sarkisian; his wife, Mary; and their partner, Kevin Fulcher, to transform Park Square Cellar from a wine bar into a full-service restaurant.
"We knocked down the wall," Sarkisian said. "We were a wine shop with a wine bar that sat about 25 people. Now we're a 165-seat full restaurant. We had three of us running the wine shop and now we have 40 employees."
The transformation took six months, but the wine shop stayed open until the beginning of October. It closed for a few weeks for the final construction and renovation, and reopened Oct. 22.
Sarkisian and his partners asked their customers what kind of restaurant they would like Park Square Cellar to become and designed their new eatery accordingly. It's priced reasonably, so a typical family from the neighborhood could afford to eat there once a week. The menu offers a mix of fine foods with a southern French flair, and it includes burgers and chicken nuggets for the kids.
The wine selection that made Park Square Cellar a success remains, along with a wide selection of liquors. Unlike most restaurants that serve wine, Park Square Cellar sells its wine at retail prices, even when it's served at a customer's table.
It has two-for-one happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays and live music several nights a week.
Park Square Cellar is located at 16132 Churchview Drive. It's open from 2 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 to midnight Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Call (813) 689-4560 or visit parksquarecellar.com.
Restaurant undergoes subtle transformation
New York Diner and Bagel, next to the Walgreens at State Road 60 and Valrico Road, has a new owner who's giving the place a slightly new look and a somewhat different name.
Jeff Conover and his wife, Laurie, who have worked in the restaurant business for 20 years, took over the eatery on Oct. 18. They've spruced up the interior with the retro look of a real Manhattan diner: the traditional red upholstery and silver metallic trim. Around the end of the year, they'll officially change the name to the New York Diner.
Their menu focuses on the kind of fare that has made diners an enduring American tradition: breakfast (including bagels flown in from New York several times a week), overstuffed hero sandwiches, burgers, gourmet desserts and comfort foods.
The diner is open 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (813) 654-4300 or visit newyorkdinerandbagel.com.
Ichiban Buffet opens a second location
For four years, Riverview residents have been flocking to the original Ichiban Buffet location on U.S. 301. Now Brandon residents are getting a taste of the same all-you-can eat Asian experience.
A second location opened Oct. 6 at 1721 Brandon Blvd.
Business has been brisk since day one, manager Andrew Kiang said.
"Fantastic, fabulous," he said. "Everyone keeps coming back for the value."
The buffet includes 45 kinds of sushi, a variety of fresh seafood, and lots of Chinese and Japanese favorites.
Diners can eat all they want for $7.99 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, $12.99 from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, $13.99 from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, and $11.99 from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday.
Call (813) 689-6788.
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