By just about anyone's definition, barbecue and pizza are "the best of comfort food,'' says Ken Elmore.
He expects to test that theory when he opens Slice of Tampa Bay on Davis Islands, in the former Tate's Pizza site, "by Memorial Day, hopefully."
Elmore grew up eating barbecue in South Carolina. His business partner, Layton Lynch, ate his share as a kid in Alabama.
"We'll be cooking ribs, chicken, pork and brisket in a Cookshack smoker,'' said Elmore. All will be topped with a variety of sauces.
They'll make their own pizza dough - thick and thin, traditional, wheat and gluten-free. Barbecue chicken will be the signature topping. It's the first restaurant venture for the two Davis Islands residents, and renovations are under way to create a tropical, Key West setting.
"We'd love to host youth sport teams, Little League and sailing events,'' said Elmore, who serves on the Davis Islands Civic Association board and is active with the islands' chamber of commerce. He's already signed up to sell food at Bluz & BBQ on Oct. 15 in Curtis Hixon Park to raise funds for restoration of the historic Roy Jenkins swimming pool.
The restaurant will seat 100 diners, inside and out front, and will sell beer and wine.
Slice of Tampa Bay will be open daily at 235 E Davis Blvd. from 11 a.m. to midnight. Visit www.slicetampabay.com or call (813) 254-5818.
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NoHo Bistro moves, now called Bistro Bleu
In March, after seven years braving the north of Kennedy frontier, NoHo Bistro surrendered to the lure of South Tampa.
"We decided not to renew our lease on N Armenia Avenue,'' said co-owner Tomas Carrasquillo III, "to concentrate on serving our primary clientele."
He and Chef Tina Hurless re-open their restaurant May 16, reinvented as Bistro Bleu. The new location on S MacDill Avenue is a few blocks from Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club.
"We're still the neighborhood bistro we've always wanted to be,'' Carrasquillo said. "But now with more space, a full bar and patio dining."
Previous tenants included Marrakesh and Koba's Japanese restaurant. The owners have modernized their decor.
The menu has been tweaked a bit, adding chicken and vegetarian burgers in addition to their signature bison burger.
Bistro Bleu, 2402 S MacDill Ave. will be open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (813) 514-0691 or www.bistrobleutampa.com.
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And Castillo's moves into NoHo's space
Castillo's Cafe & Catering quickly filled the former NoHo Bistro space, opening May 2 to customers' delight.
"I'd say 90 percent are regulars,'' said co-owner Raul Castillo, who originally opened five blocks north with his twin, Henry, in November 2007. They quickly outgrew that tiny space, "kitchen and dining room in 700 square feet,'' Raul said. "But the building had so much character, we hated to leave."
A solution arrived when NoHo Bistro vacated 1,700 square feet on the same street. Now Spanish, Cuban and American food (crab enchilada is their speciality) is served 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday at 1714 N Armenia Ave., between Union and Main streets.
The 54-year-old twins were born in Cuba but have lived in West Tampa since age 3.
They will keep the old building, at 2001 N Armenia, for catering jobs. The phone number remains the same, (813) 251-2015.
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