Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. /
  3. Food

Tampa’s new Luv Child, a 1970s-themed Cuban-Mexican restaurant, opens Oct. 31

It’s the latest venture from the Ciccio Restaurant Group.
Opening on Halloween, Tampa's Luv Child will feature shareable plates such as sliced steak with Cuban pesto. [Courtesy of Ciccio Restaurant Group]
Published Oct. 22

The latest Ciccio Restaurant Group project will bring a Cuban- and ’70s-inspired restaurant with Mexican-American flair to Tampa’s SoHo district.

Luv Child is scheduled to hold its grand opening on Oct. 31 at 516 S Howard Ave., where Ciccio bar and restaurant the Lodge closed last year. Ciccio partner David Pullman said the new indoor-outdoor restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, making plant-based offerings and a fun atmosphere a priority.

“We’re really going for simple, fresh, clean food and beverages,” Pullman said.

The menu pays homage to the favorite eats of longtime Ciccio executive chef and partner Luis Flores. Flores, who was born in Central America, joined the restaurant group in 1990 as a sous chef at its flagship Ciccio and Tony’s restaurant in New York City. He has played an integral role in developing everything from Ciccio Water to Forbici.

Look forward to plates and sides meant for sharing, like farro and black bean risotto and roasted pork chicharrones; salads; combination meals like Raiz (mashed yucca, tomato broth, black beans, maduros, spiced broccoli rabe); $3 tacos; and sandwiches like shredded aji verde chicken (Swiss cheese, fresh jalapeno, garlic ailoi) and Cubano (roasted pork, pickles, cucumber, salami, pimento cheese, stone-ground mustard).

Luv Child will occupy the Lodge’s former SoHo building, which Tampa-based Ciccio Restaurant Group has fully renovated. [Courtesy of Chris Fasick]

Cocktails made with fresh-pressed juices, including a few on tap, are planned on the beverage end. Two signature frozen drinks and draft wine and sangria complete the boozy bill.

In addition to showcasing live music, Luv Child will use the large community table that divides the interior bar area from the dining room to regularly host family-style dinners. During each installment, Pullman said, the Luv Child chefs will dream up their own menu and come out to discuss the nosh.

Ciccio gutted the Lodge’s former building in preparation for Luv Child, about 5,500 square feet with 180 or so seats. A second full-liquor bar was added as part of the renovation, as was a coffee bar and a takeout area, which the restaurant will push.

And in true Ciccio fashion, the restaurant group has its next venture figured out — sort of. Pullman said he and the gang will start working on the old TC Choy’s space up the road at 301 S Howard Ave. after Luv Child settles in. The restaurant doesn’t have a name yet, and Ciccio is still throwing around ideas for the project, but they’re shooting for a debut in late 2020.

cicciorestaurantgroup.com.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Diners at Yummy House in Tampa. Times (2018)
    Escape the traditional holiday menus at these Tampa Bay restaurants.
  2. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
     Justin Grant
    The Lakeland brewery delivers a lively, medium-bodied pale ale. | Local craft beer of the week
  3. Bar Chinchilla in downtown St. Petersburg offers eight beers on tap, a well-rounded selection of bottled beers, wines and canned cocktails. Justin Grant  |  tbt*
    The tiny downtown bar has more than 50 wines available by the glass and a thoughtful beer selection. | Bar review
  4. Try a holiday punch with prosecco. Courtesy of  ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
    Some tips for perfecting the boozy vibe.
  5. A Thanksgiving plate MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s a game plan for preparing the big meal.
  6. The Bookstore at the  Oxford Exchange during its First Friday event on 09/06/13. TIMES (2013)  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Plus other Instagram-worthy spots around Tampa Bay.
  7. Winter squash at Lucky's Market Lucky's Market
    Butternut, acorn, spaghetti can all bring big flavor to the holiday table.
  8. Logan Skinner and James Lampkin cook chicken on a stick in 2017 at the annual Plant City Pig Jam. Times (2007)
    The Plant City Pig Jam brings a barbecue competition, food trucks drive the Italian Food & Wine Festival and Vintage Wine Cellars samples Thanksgiving-friendly wines.
  9. The versatile dessert is similar to pie, but more forgiving.
  10. Simple Thanksgiving stuffing. MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Keep it simple this year.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement