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Jaye Maddon: Eat at Ava, work it off at her new boxing studio Epic

SUSHI UCHI: Manager Sophia Yang shows off a special request roll: Jalapeno Proof, with jalapeno peppers and light tempura. 
SUSHI UCHI: Manager Sophia Yang shows off a special request roll: Jalapeno Proof, with jalapeno peppers and light tempura. 
Published Feb. 4, 2015

TAMPA — On a plane ride from California back to Tampa, Jaye Maddon decided she was going to open a boxing studio, Epic Boxing and Fitness Studio.

"When I first moved out here, I started taking one- on-one boxing with a trainer at the gym," Maddon said. "I liked it, but it was one-on-one."

While in California, Maddon became inspired when a friend brought her to a different kind of boxing class.

"It was the best 60 minutes I have ever spent."

Ironically, she had met boxing trainer Esther Solano a week or two before her fitness epiphany.

Now, the partners will stage a grand opening on Feb. 9, offering a $99 package, which includes unlimited classes

They will be the first Tampa studio to offer Spoxing, which mimics professional boxing.

The first three rounds are done on spin bikes, then athletes transition to the bags.

With stadium seating, close to 40 classes and a Chicago urban feel, Maddon and Solano are excited to bring interval workouts to the South Tampa area.

"You can burn up to 900-1,300 calories per workout," Solano said.

Maddon's husband, Joe, also recently opened Ava on South Howard. Though the two new endeavors may seem on opposite extremes, Jaye Maddon joked, "Eat at Ava, then work it off at Epic," Jaye joked.

'Cozy' sushi restaurant finds home in Valrico

VALRICO — The quaint restaurant that opened last week at 1713 State Road 60 E in Valrico adjacent to Judy's Dance Academy has a cozy, family appeal.

Sushi Uchi manager Sophia Yang said that is what owners Derek Zheng and Huaifeng Chen had in mind when they opened their first eatery.

Yang said Uchi loosely translates to family or house so after moving from New York a few years ago and working in Japanese restaurants in Florida, Zheng and Chen wanted a cozy place to serve their sushi, tempura, hibachi and noodle dishes.

The front of the house offers diners a sushi bar experience. The back features ample sit-down dining.

Take out has become a popular service in the restaurant's infancy.

The Uchi special rolls have become house favorites, including the Out of Control Roll (raw tuna) and the Hawaiian Roll (cooked shrimp) for $12.95 each. The restaurant offers lunch specials, kids options and Friday specials on rare fresh seafood.

Sushi Uchi is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Call (813) 662-0728 for takeout.

Stage Left enters Lutz dining scene

LUTZ — Brothers Brian and Sean Dunleavy were looking for a way to share their passion for food, drink and music with the masses.

The result is Stage Left, the newest addition to the Lutz dining scene that combines quality meals and live entertainment in a hip, laid-back atmosphere.

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The diverse menu puts the focus on freshness. There is no freezer, deep fryer or microwave in the kitchen.

Ingredients for specialty items like Maryland-style crab cakes, Thai chicken flatbread and 16- spice rub steak are purchased fresh and then cooked over a wood-fired grill.

A selection of homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and tapas are also available.

When it comes to drinks, patrons can choose from an extensive selection of craft beer and wine or enjoy a cocktail prepared by one of the three mixologists on staff.

Local musicians, including popular acts like Phoenix and Soul Circus Cowboys, take to the stage Wednesday through Saturday evenings.

A private room with its own bar and room for up to 55 people offers the perfect setting for everything from birthday parties to business meetings.

Stage Left is located at 24400 State Rd. 54 (near the intersection of Oak Grove Boulevard and State Road 54) and opens at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Happy Hour is offered until 7 p.m. Visit or call (813) 949-4334.

Compiled by Times staff writer Arielle Waldman and correspondents Eric Vician and Karen Ring.


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