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Down Home BBQ, a carry-out, opens in Valrico


Barbecue has been a tradition in Ernest Kennedy Jr.'s family for 100 years.

"My great-grandfather was from Georgia, and he moved to Tampa and he sold barbecue and moonshine," Kennedy said.

For eight years, Kennedy and his father operated a sit-down barbecue restaurant in New Tampa. They closed that eatery in August, and in February opened Kennedy's Down Home BBQ in the Shell station at State Road 60 and Valrico Road.

"We had a relationship with the owner of this location, and he's been trying to get us to come out and look at it for three years," Kennedy said. "Now that we're here, we wish we had moved here three years ago."

They have a strictly carry-out operation now, and that suits them just fine, Kennedy said. It's a simpler way of doing business so they can concentrate on cooking.

Business has been growing steadily, he said.

Customers who stop by for gas smell the smoke from the outdoor smoker, and once they sample the Kennedys' family recipes they're hooked, he said.

"Nobody does real barbecue anymore," Kennedy said. "They do it on gas grills, not pure oakwood the way we do. Our concept is to have great meat and great sauce. It's like a marriage. They belong together. A lot of other places have a good sauce, but they don't use great meat."

The menu features pork, chicken, sausage and a few side dishes. Kennedy said he expects to expand the menu as business grows.

Kennedy's Down Home BBQ is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (813) 735-5627.

Mexican food done fresh for the whole family

BRANDON — Quality Mexican food has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Luna's Mexican Restaurant is the latest area eatery to tap into the trend.

Luna's, which opened in January at Bloomingdale Avenue and Providence Road, offers fresh food in a family atmosphere. Virtually all the dishes and sauces are made from scratch every day.

Its owners say they strive to provide a family-friendly atmosphere with reasonable prices. Luna's also has a full bar that features happy hour specials on margaritas and draft beer from 2 until 7 p.m. every day.

Luna's is located at 5924 Providence Road. It's open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (813) 681-1590.

Sam's Club to open near U.S. 301 Thursday

RIVERVIEW — The big day for Hillsborough County bargain-hunters is almost here.

On Thursday, Sam's Club will open at 10385 Big Bend Road, near U.S. 301. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 8 a.m., and the store will welcome its first customers at 8:30.

The 139,000-square-foot store offers its members bargains on everything from groceries and prescriptions to kitchen appliances.

Regular hours will be from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (813) 371-2394 or visit

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Down Home BBQ, a carry-out, opens in Valrico 03/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 3:30am]
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