Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Dining

Chef Domenica Macchia heading to Tampa's Datz Dough

TAMPA — Tampa Bay chef Domenica Macchia, celebrated and controversial, has another new home.

Starting next week, Macchia heads to South Tampa to Datz Dough, the recently launched bakery project of Datz owners Suzanne and Roger Perry. Macchia has been hired to re-envision Datz Dough's food, with carte blanche to come up with a new menu.

Macchia has done stints in kitchens at Redwoods, MJ's, Diner 437, BellaBrava, Shackleton's Folly and Three Birds Tavern, all in St. Petersburg.

The longer commute is no accident: Due to a noncompete contract she signed with Three Birds owners Robin and Jack King, she is legally prohibited from working in Pinellas County restaurants until February 2014.

In fact, Hans Klenke, owner of Primi Ristorante Italiano in St. Petersburg, hired Macchia three weeks ago under the mistaken understanding that the legal injunction had been lifted. According to Klenke, Macchia was nearly thrown in jail last Thursday and the Kings' lawyer threatened Klenke with a lawsuit.

While Klenke tried to negotiate her settlement with the Three Birds owners, Macchia met with Suzanne Perry and signed aboard.

"She took the job before she had a chance to tell me," said Klenke. "I wish it had turned out a little differently, but it is what it is. This has been a hard time for her."

So how did the Perrys agree to take on this notoriously itinerant chef?

"It's a curious story," says Suzanne Perry. "I'd been reading all these stories about her for a year. But I asked around, 'Do you know this girl?' And everyone said they loved her and she was the best chef. At Dough, we've been focused on the baking part but the savory food part has really struggled. I had the idea to give it to her."

A straight talker, she added: "I flat-out like her."

For her part, Macchia asserts with equal candor, "I am so grateful for Suzanne."

Her aims, once on the payroll, are a little esoteric: "To cook like I've never cooked before in my life because they have the resources. I'm thinking elegant but homey. After the crazy year I've had, I feel like I have angels. I want to make it shine, and I want to shine."

In a bit of Twitter banter Wednesday afternoon, when asked more specifically what the future holds, Suzanne Perry tweeted coyly: "I'm pretty sure it holds duck-fat fries. That's all I know. @dmacchia keeps secrets."

Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

Comments
Restaurant review: The Local doesn't stand out enough above its Tampa neighbors to make an impact

Restaurant review: The Local doesn't stand out enough above its Tampa neighbors to make an impact

TAMPA Do you have this debate? "Florida is not in the South." "Um, look at a map." I guess I am in the former camp: It seems Florida gets more Southern the more north and west you go, accents only creeping in as reliably as boiled peanuts up on the ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Chefs offer up a taste of what’s coming to Sparkman Wharf

Chefs offer up a taste of what’s coming to Sparkman Wharf

TAMPA — On Wednesday night, about 60 people got a sneak preview of what Tampa diners soon will experience at Sparkman Wharf, part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa neighborhood that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners are developing in what...
Published: 09/14/18
What’s new in food: Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week, National Cheeseburger Day

What’s new in food: Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week, National Cheeseburger Day

DINE AROUND: CLEARWATER BEACH RESTAURANT WEEKPromoted by the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce, Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week is celebrating its ninth year Friday through Sept. 23. The culinary celebration offers foodies an opportunity to exper...
Published: 09/12/18
Restaurant review: Part fish shack, part high-end cocktail bar, Trophy Fish in St. Petersburg thrives on a fresh approach

Restaurant review: Part fish shack, part high-end cocktail bar, Trophy Fish in St. Petersburg thrives on a fresh approach

ST. PETERSBURGI value restaurants and people the same way, I suppose. I like those with a take. They don’t have to be the smartest or the prettiest, but the ones I like have a unique perspective, something that differentiates them from everybody else...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/11/18
Tampa’s Fly Bar and Restaurant will move locations

Tampa’s Fly Bar and Restaurant will move locations

TAMPA — Restaurant announcements for Sparkman Wharf and Strategic Property Partners’ 50-acre Water Street Tampa project have come fast and furious the past couple weeks. With a price tag of more than $3 billion and reading like a who’s who of Tampa B...
Published: 09/07/18
James Beard winner Anne Kearney to open Oak & Ola in Armature Works

James Beard winner Anne Kearney to open Oak & Ola in Armature Works

TAMPA — It was always part of the plan for the 22,000-square-foot Heights Public Market at Armature Works to have two anchor restaurants in addition to the fourteen quick-serve vendors. The developers debuted Steelbach, a sprawling steaks and chops b...
Published: 09/06/18
What’s new in food: The Artisan, Big Ray’s Fish Camp, Joe and Son’s Olive Oils

What’s new in food: The Artisan, Big Ray’s Fish Camp, Joe and Son’s Olive Oils

COMING SOON: THE ARTISANGulfport is heating up. I’ve been hearing raves about Golden Dinosaurs vegan deli, and now it seems that seasoned restaurateurs Michael Stewart, left, and Tom Golden will open an art and food collective called the Artisan in G...
Published: 09/05/18
Updated: 09/06/18
Are tacos the new burgers? A slew of new taco-centric places in Tampa Bay make the case

Are tacos the new burgers? A slew of new taco-centric places in Tampa Bay make the case

One thing has remained constant. Ketchup may give way to salsa as the dominant condiment, with sriracha nipping at its heels, but for decades the hamburger has been the No. 1 most-purchased menu item in food service. There it is, the hallowed beef pa...
Published: 09/05/18
Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant will be tented for termites

Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant will be tented for termites

Ringling Brothers may have been put to bed, but there’s another serious big top soon to be erected in Tampa.Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant is said to be the oldest restaurant in the state, as well as the largest — a whole city block in historic Ybor Cit...
Updated one month ago
What’s new in food: Splitsville goes gourmet, Crafty Squirrel coming to St. Pete

What’s new in food: Splitsville goes gourmet, Crafty Squirrel coming to St. Pete

END OF SUMMER: RUM FESTIVAL Labor Day, end of summer. Sad, right? But if you want to keep the summer fun alive, the Summer of Rum Festival is this weekend. Held at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa with more than 30 brands on offer, it runs noon to 11 p.m....
Updated one month ago