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New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
Published Jun. 22, 2017

YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

"I want it to be sort of like an adult Chuck E. Cheese's," Jaime DeCrisci, owner, said. "But it's in a mysterious, cool kind of building."

DeCrisci's attention to detail inside the building narrows down to each individual piece of plank wood, which was smoked to "get that certain look and smell."

Upstairs, diners can take a seat in booths decorated with the Italian flag and order one of DeCrisci's grandmother's original recipes.

"My nona was from the Tuscany region, which is big on pastas and sauces, so the menu will include her specialties," DeCrisci said.

It will also feature a build your own portion with toppings like shrimp, green olives and sun dried tomatoes, as well as Lobster chimichanga, a calzone layered with lasagna (no noodles) and a focaccia, soup and salad bar.

"A lot of people know what they want, so instead of saying sub this, sub that, if we have it, we'll make it," DeCrisci said. "Our food is very important. The quality, taste and timing. Ybor is a great neighborhood so we're here for the locals. We want to add traditional Italian to the flavor of Ybor."

Games like Golden Tee, the old style Ms. Pacman and pin ball, as well as a 70 inch television and a 120 inch projector television viewable from the entire dining room, provide plenty of entertainment while waiting for food to touch the table.

Downstairs, an "out of order" pay phone hangs on a brick wall. Once guests dial in, someone will come out and escort them through a secret door leading into the speakeasy.

"The speakeasy has three indoor cabanas separated by see through curtains that can accommodate two to six people. Then there's six high tops, a bar and massive U-shaped booth for eight to 15 guests," DeCrisci said. "There's also a VIP room with a see-through mirror so no one can see in, but you can see it out. You wouldn't even know it was there unless you're assigned to it."

Prior to planning this concept, DeCrisci was a part owner of That's Amore Restaurant in Harbor Island, which he left over one year ago. Joining him in the new venture will be his "right hand guy" Eddie Pearce (from Pane Rustica) and his son Roman (after graduation from Florida State University).

DeCrisci is also looking at locations in Orlando and Fort Myers.

A soft opening at 1909 N 15th St. will take place in the upcoming week or so.

For more information and to stay updated, visit or call (813) 284-0250.

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