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Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

St. Petersburg eatery Bodega has built a reputation for its Latin street food and now the fast-casual concept has expanded to a second location in Seminole Heights.

Its name Bodega, which means grocery in Spanish, represents the owners, George and Debbie Sayegh's New York roots.

"We both grew up in Brooklyn where people would head down to the bodega and get something at any time of the night," said Debbie Sayegh.

"So it was for nostalgic purposes."

The husband and wife duo started in the restaurant business in New York, then gradually moved south to Atlanta and eventually to St. Petersburg in 2012.

After much success in St. Petersburg, the couple knew they wanted another location, they just didn't know where.

Debbie Sayegh said it took years to find a spot, but when they did, it happened naturally from their friendship with the owners of Mandarin Hide. They share the property at 5901 N Florida Ave.

"We were looking for a second location anywhere, but Bodega has a certain look about it," she said, "and this was it; we loved Seminole Heights."

Now Tampa residents familiar with the concept no longer have to travel across the bridge to get Bodega's famous Cuban sandwich, the jicama slaw, the pollo asado sandwich or its fresh market salad.

Bodega prides itself on its fresh ingredients and making all of its food to order. It also offers organic, vegan and vegetarian options as well as smoothies, juices and beer and wine.

Its prices are inexpensive, ranging from $4 to $12, and for now Bodega Seminole Heights operates from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m Wednesday through Sunday with plans to soon operate seven days a week like its St. Petersburg location.

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