BRANDON — David Amen doesn't give directions to the Seafood Dive anymore. After nearly three years of success in Sun City Center operating a full-service seafood restaurant, a spinoff opened March 4 at 140 N Parsons Ave.
"When people call, I just tell them we are in the old La Septima location and then they know," said Amen, the general manager.
Amen works for his uncle, Tom Kazbour, who owns the restaurants. Kazbour is no stranger to the restaurant business in the Brandon area, where he has lived since 1984. The Kazbours have owned Kazbour's Grills as well as BubbaQue's and Hungry Howie's pizza, where Amen began working in the family business.
Expect a more casual dining experience at the new Seafood Dive, compared with the Sun City location that includes a bar and all the fixings. At the new Seafood Dive, customers order at the counter and then have their meals delivered to their tables within 10 to 15 minutes.
"We are trying to cater to Brandon, which is a faster pace than Sun City," Amen said. "There's nothing else like it. Seafood is a concept not mastered by many."
Amen said the Seafood Dive tries to stay away from processed ingredients. In fact, he said, the restaurant prides itself on homemade sauces made fresh daily such as tartar, cocktail, garlic and boom boom, which is a combination of sweet and spicy.
"We like to leave the sauces all up to the customer," Amen said. "A lot of people ask for the recipes."
But those are closely guarded family secrets.
It's no surprise, however, what the eatery is all about — fast, fresh and fun food. The average meal comes with a $10 price tag. Amen recommends the scallop po' boy for $4.95 or the half-pound fish plate for $7.95. And if you choose the grouper, it is grouper — not a cousin or brother as some restaurants have served. Tags on the boxes prove it.
The restaurant seats 149 and is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
If the concept catches on, Amen said the family has plans to open more area locations. Online: theseafooddive.com.
Ross dressing up Valrico, Plant City
Ross Dress for Less customers in East Hillsborough finally can avoid the mall rush if they want to shop at the nation's largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain.
The newest addition to Valrico Commons Shopping Center was bustling March 9 as Ross opened its 26,000-square-foot center to a large crowd. Checkout lines were dozens of people deep at the newest location near the southwest corner of State Road 60 and Valrico Road.
Another Ross Dress for Less is slated to open in July in Plant City's Lake Walden Plaza on W Alexander Street alongside PetSmart and Michaels.
Ross Stores Inc., with headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., is a $9.7 billion company with 1,091 locations in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. It is known for in-season, name-brand and designer apparel, accessories and other items. Prices are reduced 20 to 60 percent off department and specialty store prices.
While the Valrico store opened, Ross also opened stores across the nation including Illinois, Kansas, California and Hawaii.
Eric Vician can be reached at [email protected]