After sitting empty for three years, the former Social Security office at 391 34th St. N will soon open as the Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet. This isn't just another Asian restaurant or just another buffet joint. It will have 15, count 'em, 15 buffet stations offering cuisine from around the world.
At 18,000 square feet, close to half the size of the Publix up the street, it's one of the biggest restaurants in Tampa Bay, with room to seat 500.
"You can try every kind of food you want," said Kevin Zheng, manager of the restaurant set to open in a few weeks. Offerings include Chinese, Italian, Thai, American and sushi.
"More than 200 items," Zheng said.
There's also a station where you select food to be grilled for you, teppanyaki-style, Zheng said. Beer and wine will be available.
Lunch will cost $6.99 and dinner, $9.99. Prices for children will depend on their age and the time of day.
The Teppanyaki Grill is elaborately decorated, with a large stone fountain at the entrance, stained glass doors and lighted columns depicting mountain scenes. Half walls with pagodas and bonsai trees carved in the glass divide the restaurant into sections.
"It looks really good in there. They had to convert an office into a restaurant," said Peter Politis, who owns the building. "When I walked in there I was like 'Wow, is this the same place?'"
Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.