Make us your home page
Instagram

Zifero's brings family recipes, Italian specialties to Ridge Manor diners

RIDGE MANOR

Heading east on State Road 50, where the road shrinks to two lanes past Interstate 75, travelers could rightly worry that they've passed the last place to eat for a while.

But folks are in for a treat a couple of miles down the road, where, at the southwest corner of SR 50 and U.S. 301, a freshly bricked, mansard-roofed trattoria beckons.

The grand opening sign still catches the breeze. But it assures that cooks and the wait staff at Zifero's Pizza & Diner have ironed out the wrinkles.

Allen Zifer operated a take-out pizza place in Ridge Manor from 1993 to 1995, then worked a stint in Sumter County law enforcement.

"I didn't have any problems," said Zifer, 43, "but I wanted to be my own boss again."

He and his wife, Tammie, opened the dine-in and carry-out emporium — the only full-service restaurant in Ridge Manor proper — in November.

Italian cooking is in Zifer's genes. And his great-grandmother's recipes — brought from Calabria, Italy — are in his file.

Zifer's grandmother, Josephine — "She's famous back in Dover, Ohio, for her restaurant," says her grandson — taught him how to make and handle dough, bake various breads, season tomato-based sauces and replicate a plump, tasty meatball.

The family name was shortened from Ziffero on their immigration to the United States, but Allen Zifer reinstated an "o" for the diner to let people know that his cooking is authentic Italian.

Pizza in nine specialties leads Zifero's menu and sales, the owner said. Grandma Zifer may never have tasted buffalo chicken pizza, one of the nine, but she'd certainly recognize its blanket of ricotta and mozzarella. For a basic pizza, Zifero's lists the availability of 16 toppings, from extra cheese to spinach or pineapple.

Among 10 varieties of hot and cold sandwiches, all served on home-baked bread, Zifer said customers' favorites include the hot steak and cheese sub and the pressed Cuban, both with generous fillings.

The menu includes "super" calzones, according to Dawn Badami of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, plus appetizers, spaghetti, salads, ice cream and beverages. A chalk board announces daily specialties.

Full-time chef Jason Guy, a former sous chef at Cheval in Lutz, reigns in the kitchen while Tammie Zifer oversees the 24-seat front of the house. Allen Zifer said he is "usually at the oven." About five part-time employees make up the interchangeable-assignment staff. Dad, Ken Zifer, lends a hand, especially when early morning baking demands are great.

Travelers patronize the diner, but the mainstays are locals among the 4,000-plus residents of Ridge Manor who otherwise would need to drive to the I-75 interchange or to Dade City for dining opportunities.

In the near future, Zifer said, he hopes to take his business off-site, under a sizable tent, maybe to high school sporting events, where he would turn over some of the proceeds to the school's athletic teams.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

. If you go

Zifero's Pizza & Diner

Where: 34508 Cortez Blvd., Ridge Manor (at the intersection of State Road 50 and U.S. 301)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Specialties: Pizza, calzones, sub sandwiches; homemade bread doughs

Service: Dine-in, carry-out

Phone: (352) 608-4888

Zifero's brings family recipes, Italian specialties to Ridge Manor diners 04/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 8:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco doubles tourist tax to finance sports complex

    Tourism

    DADE CITY — Pasco County is doubling its tourist tax to 4 percent to build an indoor sports complex in Wesley Chapel and improve its outdoor boat ramps in west Pasco.

    Pasco County's plan to double its tourist tax on overnight accommodations to 4 percent is intended to help finance a $25 million sports complex in the Wiregrass Ranch area of Wesley Chapel. It  would include a 98,000-quare-foot multipurpose gymnaisium of eight basketball courts and dedicated space for gymnastics, cheerleading and a fitness center. Shown here is the four-court fieldhouse with 50,000-square-feet of space for competitions at  Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.  Times photo by James Borchuck (2007)
  2. USAA expansion at Crosstown Center may bring Tampa 1,000 more jobs

    Corporate

    BRANDON — USAA will bring as many as 1,000 more jobs to Hillsborough County in early 2019 with the expansion of its existing operations in Brandon.

    Stuart Parker, president and chief executive officer of USAA, speaks at the company's new Crosstown Center location in Brandon during a visit following its 2015 opening. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times, 2016]
  3. FHP bids for pay raise a week after disastrous publicity

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — This is real bad timing.

    FHP license plate.
  4. Rhetoric over: Three-nation effort to revise NAFTA begin

    National

    WASHINGTON — Of all the trade deals he lambasted on the campaign trail as threats to American workers, President Donald Trump reserved particular scorn for one: The North American Free Trade Agreement.

    Claudio Montes checks a shipping manifest for U.S. manufactured parts heading to assembly plants in Mexico at Freight Dispatch Service Agency LTD in Pharr, Texas, in June. The freight service ships parts between the U.S. and Mexico that pass through the border freely due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Of all the trade deals he lambasted on the campaign trail as threats to American workers, President Donald Trump reserved particular scorn for one: NAFTA. [Nathan Lambrecht | The Monitor via AP]
  5. Rick Scott finds out today if he has backing on Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Now Florida's Cabinet gets to weigh in on Venezuela.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miam. Governor Scott called on the Venezuelan government to free Leopoldo Lopez, a political prisoner from house arrest, as well as those that have been wrongly imprisoned by Nicolas Maduro's government.  [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]