SPRING HILL — Avid diners in Spring Hill will tell you that when it comes to finding a restaurant worthy of a special night out, choices are limited.
There seems to be no limit to the predictable chain eatery formula. And mom-and-pop restaurants, for the most part, tend to cater toward mainstream tastes.
So where does one go in this community for coquilles St. Jacque? Or fresh wild-caught haddock? And where is there a place that's appropriate for that "little black dress"?
Anita Bosworth had all that in mind long before she opened the restaurant at Spring Hill Drive and Anderson Snow Road that bears her name. It just seemed like Hernando County was due for the kind of eclectic, upscale dining experience — the kind that folks in Tampa and St. Petersburg seem to have in abundance.
Bosworth is no stranger to the restaurant business. She spent 14 years working with the top chefs in the tony Berkshire resorts around Lennox, Mass. More recently, she was hand-picked by Hampton Golf to oversee its restaurant operation at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville.
But all of that doesn't do justice to the woman who describes herself as a devoted all-around food aficionado with a penchant for healthy eating. A vegetarian, Bosworth believes that creating fine cuisine goes beyond making it taste good.
"I want my customers to enjoy what they eat and know that what's in it is also good for them," she said.
Offering an array of appetizers and entrees, Bosworth has spread her menu with her own creations, as well as popular dishes with a fusion twist or two. And when it comes to ingredients, Bosworth is extremely picky.
Seafood dishes such as the nut-encrusted haddock ($18) and parmesan-panko lemon-encrusted flounder ($17) feature fresh, wild-caught fish. More familiar favorites such as chicken florentine ($14) and Lewis lasagne ($14) — so named after a former chef protege — are made from whole-grain pasta that is prepared daily on-site.
All of this fits into an atmosphere that is elegant, but not snobbish. Established in the former home of the Chesapeake Bay Crab House, Bosworth gave the place a complete makeover, with stylish lighting and decor that's comfortable and inviting. There's even a small pre-dinner mingling area complete with comfortable couches at tables near the bar.
"Going out to dinner should be a thoroughly enjoyable experience," Bosworth said. "I want my customers to expect the best and be able to expect it every time they visit."
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.