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.


  1. Death By Pepperoni Pizza. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Get ready for some dinner theater at this pizzeria. | Restaurant review
  2. There will be numerous salutes to the military today and Monday for Veterans Day.
    Veterans Day, Julie Andrews talks about her practically perfect career and country stars line up for Q-105′s Guitar Pull.
  3. McDonald's is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Happy Meal by re-releasing some of its most popular toys from Nov. 7-11. McDonald's
    From Power Rangers and Space Jam to Cowboy McNugget and Furby, McDonald’s is re-releasing some of the most popular Happy Meal toys from the last 40 years for a limited time.
  4. Dishes made with edible insects like ants, crickets, by Joseph Yoon of Brooklyn Bugs. Courtesy of Joseph Yoon
    Joseph Yoon will present a bug-centric dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.
  5. John C. Pelczynski of Massachusetts untangles the lines on his kite at the Veterans Day Fall Fly on TI. Tampa Bay Times (2014)
    Museums and aquariums are offering free admission, plus there are parades on land on sea in honor of Veterans Day
  6. Michelle Stark and Helen Freund Tampa Bay Times
    Our food writers will share what’s on their plates every Wednesday.
  7. The designs for Starbucks' 2019 holiday paper cup Starbucks
    There’s also a giveaway of its reusable red cups Thursday with the purchase of a holiday drink.
  8. The Tampa Greek Festival will invade St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church this weekend with Mediterranean-style food, including pastries. Times (2002)
    Treat your taste buds at the Tampa Greek Festival, Chowder Challenge, Tampa Bay Veg Fest, Flavor of West Tampa, Florida Ferment Fest and more.
  9. Downtown St. Petersburg's lively social gaming bar Park & Rec has brought its signature Party Pouches and throwback fun to Tampa. Courtesy of Chris Fasick
    Mata’s Philippine Cuisine has also launched in Tampa, plus St. Petersburg’s Italy Bottega and Tampa’s Rome + Fig are coming.
  10. "Doctor Sleep" stars Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
    ‘Pain and Glory,’ ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘Playing With Fire’ round out this week’s new openings.