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Austrian Peppers opens; Pinky's Diner expands; Betty boutique

TAMPA — The owners of Austrian Peppers love Tampa but miss the Viennese food of their homeland.

So this week, Martin Schubert and Helmuth Pfeffer opened the tiny takeout-delivery spot offering authentic Austrian food from a retail strip on S Dale Mabry Highway, just south of Kennedy Boulevard.

"They came to Tampa on vacation and got hooked on the sunshine here," said chef-manager Catherine Gauthier, who has cooked at lots of restaurants in her career, including Klein Bakery in Kaiserslautern, Germany; Cracker Barrels in Henderson, N.C. and Sturbridge, Mass.; Boondocks in New Port Richey; and most important, in Germany growing up in a military family.

"They travel to Austria regularly where they own a business," Gauthier said. "But they want to make available to us the schnitzels — breaded pork or chicken cutlets — cordon bleu and dumplings here that taste like home."

Chef Manuela McFarland, who also lived in Germany and worked for the military food service as well as catering businesses, will be cooking with Gauthier.

"We finally found the right ham for sandwiches and cordon bleu, which was daunting," she said." Everything made in America is different from the European products. We want the taste to be authentic."

Mashed potatoes and french fries will be made from scratch. "Nothing frozen," she adds.

Don't miss the desserts, such as mohnnudeln. Noodle dough is made from fresh potatoes, topped with melted butter and dusted with confectioners' sugar and poppy seeds.

If you've skied the Alps, said Gauthier, you tasted kaiserschmarrn. It's a fluffy pancake made with egg whites that are stiffly beaten and folded into the batter. It's usually cut up and sauteed with butter, then topped with cinnamon and sugar.

Austrian Peppers, 138 S Dale Mabry Highway, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit apeppers.com or call (813) 402-2974.

Pinky's Diner expands with the Annex

Pinky's Diner, one of the most popular breakfast joints around, has expanded into an adjacent, vacant Bay to Bay Boulevard antique store. Pinky's Annex opened March 3.

The small gift shop is packed with candles, soaps, tea towels and home decor; funny cards, books and retro kids toys, like jacks and harmonicas.

"Something for everybody, from ages 5 to 85," says Cary Shirai, co-owner with her husband, Jacob. "Fun, eclectic, hip stuff."

The Annex also offers Wi-Fi and seating for customers waiting to eat Pinky's Diner's award-winning food. "We're known for pushing the breakfast envelope," Cary said.

Customers are accustomed to very long waits for their well-known favorites, from their java to French toast.

"Now diners can take their coffee and laptop and hang out in air-conditioned comfort at the annex," she said.

Pinky's Diner is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends. Pinky's Annex, 3205 W Bay to Bay Blvd., is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends. The phone number and website are the same as Pinky's Diner, (813) 831-9339; pinkysdiner.com.

Betty boutique opens in Hyde Park Village

Grandma Betty is the beloved inspiration for Betty, the women's boutique that opened March 10 in Hyde Park Village, said Liz Calver, who is named for the grandmother she never knew. Back in the 1950s, Betty was the most popular name for baby girls, becoming slang for a very attractive lady.

"Vintage Tampa meets Florida sophistication," says the shop's online description of casual lifestyle clothes, shoes, hats and jewelry and accessories.

"Affordable and adorable," says Calver's mother and business partner, Joyce McLean, owner of two fashion boutiques in Texas.

The small shop is painted in shades of seafoam, yellow and coral to complement the sunny selection. A children's corner displays Baby Betty's one-of-a-kind clothing from newborn to toddler, handmade in Hawaii. Betty customers may host Pinterest parties, bringing treats and recipes they've "pinned" to enjoy while shopping with their friends.

Asked to comment about similarities to other boutiques in the retail center, McLean replied, "No different then being in a mall. With a mass of boutiques, we all do well."

Betty, 1619 W Snow Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit whosbetty.com or call (813) 254-1420.

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Austrian Peppers opens; Pinky's Diner expands; Betty boutique 03/14/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 5:37pm]
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