Make us your home page

Chef Domenica Macchia heading to Tampa's Datz Dough

Domenica Macchia last worked at Three Birds Tavern in St. Petersburg.

Domenica Macchia last worked at Three Birds Tavern in St. Petersburg.

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 or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

Chef Domenica Macchia heading to Tampa's Datz Dough 09/25/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue


    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  2. Halloween Horror Nights: 'The Shining,' 'Saw' and more things to give you nightmares at Universal Orlando


    The 27th year of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights will scare the pants off you -- in the best possible way.

    The scare zone inspired by horror flick Trick r' Treat is one of the most beautiful at this year's Halloween Horror Nights 27.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 22


    Arcade Fire: The wildly acclaimed indie rock outfit tour in support of their fifth album, Infinite Content. Presumably, the band will also play songs from their first few albums. Wolf Parade opens. 7 p.m., University of South Florida Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $35-$75. (813) 974-3004.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Musician Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs onstage during The 24th Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Shrine Auditorium on December 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for
  4. What the 10 terms Merriam-Webster just added to the dictionary say about our foodie culture


    Joining "troll" (as in, a rude person on the Internet, not a bridge-dwelling creature), "alt-right" and "dog whistle," 10 food-related words were added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this week. That's out of 250 new terms, a pretty good ratio that signals the ongoing shift toward a more food-obsessed culture, one …

    IPA is one of the words recently added to the dictionary.
  5. St. Petersburg's newest hotel opens with craft beers, cocktails and Cozy Corners

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Last spring, Ryan Tarrant applied for a job with the new Hyatt Place nearing completion in downtown St. Petersburg. Among the questions an interviewer asked:

    What does this hotel need to succeed?

    Hybar, a bar area with outdoor seating  that will feature craft drinks and Sunday brunch starting Oct. 1, is ready to open at the new Hyatt Place hotel at  25 2nd St. N in downtown St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]