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Restaurant owners promise patrons a Mondo good time

(ran EO edition)

The voice on the other end of the line said simply: "Mondo's. Talk to me."

The voice, female, straightforward, a little raspy, like a friendly rock 'n' roller, mixed with the clatter of kitchen noises. It suited the place, Mondo's Munchies, Music & Mayhem, a new restaurant at the water's edge in Oldsmar.

Mondo (he goes by one name, like Cher), who is the "personality" of the place, gets on the phone. The former disc jockey who loves to entertain people says he's having the time of his life.

Mondo and his partner Bill Ciaccia, the chief executive officer and president of the corporation that leased the restaurant, run the former Peg Leg's Grille at 1011 St. Petersburg Drive in the Greentree Marina. They transformed it from a slice of Key West into Oldsmar's own Hard Rock Cafe, a "family fun place" with a rock 'n' roll theme.

Mondo refused to name the corporation which owns the restaurant. It opened July 3.

"It is so much fun," Mondo said. "This is my house."

On the walls are mementos from Mondo's 20-plus years as a radio disc jockey _ photos of Mondo with the rock group Motley Crue, actor Pamela Lee Anderson and the Three Stooges, and guitars signed by Joe Walsh of the Eagles and other famous pickers.

"Everything in here comes from my house," Mondo said.

His real house is six miles away from the restaurant in Town 'N Country, where he lives with his wife, Dawn, the restaurant's general manager, and two children, Angela, 8, and Nicholas, 4.

Mondo worked in New York City at stations WNEW, WAPP and WPLJ as on-air talent and as a producer creating comedy skits and songs. Locally, he was part of the Scotty and Mondo morning show for two years on the classic rock station, then Thunder FM-105.5, going mike to mike with Bubba the Love Sponge.

After the Thunder gig ended, Mondo worked as a general manager for the Edge and a "personality" for Club Hedo, both in Ybor City, staying behind the bar and running contests and games. The experience was a stepping stone, a natural progression to overseeing the entertainment and customer satisfaction at a restaurant that bears his name.

While the theme of his restaurant is music, the food is surf and turf and everything in between. On the menu made out of an album cover patrons find Hunks of Beef & Fungi (tenderloin and button mushrooms), crab fritters and chicken "wangs," and the Cha-Cha Hummer, a foot-long hot dog, among other items.

The restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and noon to midnight Sunday. Weekend nights will feature rock bands. On Sunday, reggae bands will entertain.

Almost every night at 10 p.m. the mayhem begins. It "starts out with a conga line with a limbo at the end," Mondo said.

Ciaccia is an actor who said he has had a few local movie credits to his name: the flick Summer Rental, which was filmed on Pinellas beaches and starred the late actor-comedian John Candy, and Cocoon, filmed in St. Petersburg. He has also appeared in America's Most Wanted as an actor.

Ciaccia and Mondo just put the finishing touch on the restaurant: a wooden front deck where patrons can eat, drink and listen to reggae music on Sundays while looking at the boats coming in and out of the marina.

Theater group readies

original production

So far, about 100 tickets have been sold for the play Trimming the Fat, a comedy-satire by the Oldsmar Players theater troupe.

That's about one-third of the tickets that must be sold to fill the house at the Oldsmar Arts Centre. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Aug. 15.

Michael Harris, the director, and Cynthia Rae co-wrote the play. Harris said the play is "coming along" and that dress rehearsals are scheduled for this week.

The original one-act play is funny, he promises.

"We've had some people come to review it and they were on the floor laughing," Harris said.

Tickets are $4 in advance and $5 at the door. For more information, call Oldsmar Arts Coordinator Laure Day at (813) 814-1562.

Planning for a hurricane no laughing matter

Hurricane season may have started June 1, but most Floridians know the storms form most often a little later in the summer, starting now and into September and October.

So many people put off getting their hurricane kits together and learning whether they live in a mandatory evacuation zone.

With this in mind, Ann Reishus, Oldsmar Fire Department fire prevention specialist, has organized a Hurricane Expo scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Oldsmar City Council chambers.

"We've never done it before," said Reishus. "But last year we had storms (in September). So let's go with it."

The miniseminar will feature a display of the perfect hurricane supply kit, which includes a necessary item.

"One of the things people forget is a can opener," Reishus said. "They need a can opener _ and not an electric one."

Bob Cyr, Oldsmar's assistant public works director, will be on hand to answer a seldom-asked question: What kinds of city services will be available to residents after the storm?

"Things like, "What do we do with the garbage?' " Reishus said. "Things you'd never think about."

Helping Cyr field questions will be City Clerk Lisa Lene, the designated public information officer during a disaster.

People who have health problems which would limit their mobility during an evacuation situation can apply for the special needs program. If they meet the criteria, they will be bused out of their homes during an emergency and taken to a shelter or nursing facility depending on their physical needs.

"People from all over the county can apply (during the expo)," Reishus said. "Not just from Oldsmar."

Hurricane guides and packets illustrating the new evacuation levels will be given out, as well as $10 off discount coupons for Radio Shack NOAA weather radios provided to the Oldsmar Fire Department by WTSP Channel 10.

One lucky person who attends the expo will walk away with a free hand-crank can opener, a nice starter item for their hurricane kit.

_ We need news for this Oldsmar column. If you have news about Oldsmar organizations, churches, schools, neighborhoods or residents, please contact Eileen Schulte at the North Pinellas Times. You may call her at (727) 445-4229, fax material to her at (727) 445-4206 or mail it to the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.

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