Comfort food meets health-focused food with Seminole Heights' two newest offerings — King of the Coop and Florida Eats.
King of the Coop is a Nashville hot chicken restaurant, serving the popular spicy chicken in tenders and leg quarters or chicken sandwiches. They also serve catfish, hush puppies and side dishes like macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and collard greens.
The eatery's name stems from the crispy chicken grilled cheese sandwich that owner Joe Dodd made out of his Soul Food Street Kitchen food truck, which previously resided at Armature Works.
"We sold many of those sandwiches," said Dodd, "so when opening a fried chicken place, it just clicked."
It also clicked for Dodd to incorporate his love of old-school hip hop and particularly the late rapper Biggie Smalls into his new business. The rapper's style inspired his logo and mascot, which is a multi-colored, jewel toned rooster wearing a crown.
Their next-door neighbor, Florida Eats, features a different approach, offering sweet potato fries, customizable bowls with brown rice and diners' choice of chicken, shrimp, tofu, pork or steak. The eatery also serves kombucha, produced locally by Kombucha Tampa.
"The community has been asking for a health, fast-casual restaurant," said co-owner Greg Spadaccini, who also owns the nearby Spaddy's Coffee Co., "so I can only hope that we're filling that void."
Each restaurant spans 1,000 square feet each, but the two share a backyard space with a few picnic tables for outdoor seating.
Both owners live in Seminole Heights and appreciate the community's close-knit and supportive environment. When opening their own restaurants, they wanted it to be a collaborative place where the neighborhood can hang out and have multiple dining options.
"It (the collaboration) works out well because everybody has different tastes," said Spadaccini, "so the community really gets the best of both worlds."
King of the Coop opened on April 17 at 6607 N Florida Ave. in the former Hey Giant space. Florida Eats also opened last month, at 6605 N Florida Avenue in the former Chop Chop Shop location.
Both restaurants are open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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