Have a bite or a puff at Twist Vapor Café

Published Aug. 21, 2014

NEW TAMPA — When Twist Vapor Café opened in New Tampa earlier this summer, it was the realization of a dream for owner Manny Hilmi — with a slight twist.

For seven years, Hilmi visited a cafe in his native Puerto Rico every day on his way to work and again on his way home. And for seven years, he dreamed of opening a similar cafe in Tampa. When he decided to make that dream a reality, his friend Sam Askar suggested adding an e-cigarette component and the idea for Twist Vapor Café was born.

Twist Vapor Café is more than just a coffee shop with an e-cigarette store tacked on. It is a place where the two interests merge in an inviting atmosphere that entices patrons to sit and stay awhile. "You can come here and hang out for hours," Askar said.

The cafe menu features gourmet coffee (the same coffee Hilmi enjoyed in Puerto Rico), tea, smoothies and frappes. Fresh pastries and sandwiches are also available.

E-cigarette options range from starter kits for those looking to kick the tobacco habit to customizable mods for the vaping enthusiast. E-juices are offered in a variety of flavors. Nicotine levels vary from 0 to 24 percent.

Twist Vapor Café is located at 14937 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. For updates on the official grand opening celebration, follow Twist Vapor Café on Facebook.

Café Jem's comes to Jem's Natural Living

CITRUS PARK — Café Jem's, which opened Aug. 8, brings a new healthy eating option to Citrus Park. The cafe is an extension of Jem's Natural Living, a store specializing in natural and organic items.

Cammie Cunningham opened Jem's Natural Living in 2010 with the intention of adding a smoothie bar later. When the Carvel ice cream store next door closed, Cunningham seized the opportunity to expand her operation and add a full cafe.

Café Jem's menu is chock-full of healthy options, including smoothies, wraps, wheatgrass shots, organic vegetable juices and an organic salad bar. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. "We will eventually (in the next month) start opening at 6 a.m. People can stop in and get a healthy alternative to McDonald's and other morning stops," Cunningham said.

Cunningham's main objective is to make healthy living affordable. "Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to cost a lot of money. From our cafe to the products in our store, we have the best prices in the area," Cunningham said.

Café Jem's is located at 11909 Sheldon Road in the Citrus Falls Commons Plaza. Hours are currently 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays. For updates on new hours, follow Jem's Natural Living on Facebook.

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