1. Tampa

Sicilian roots grow into quaint Italian walk-up in Riverview

Jennifer Rhoades, a Plant High School alum, has combined two concepts -- Italian dinner dishes and homemade toffee -- into Riverview's DiMisa Gourmet Sicily + Dolci. ERIC VICIAN | Special to the Times
Published Nov. 23, 2018

RIVERVIEW – Jennifer Rhoades wanted to stay true to her Sicilian roots when she recently opened her first certified kitchen – authentic food, family and fun.

DiMisa Gourmet Sicily + Dolci is a quaint, walk-up window at 8205 U.S. 301 that offers Italian fare inspired by her grandmother Josephine DiMisa and her father Joseph DiMisa. It also builds on her five years of making sweets known as Toffee Tradition.

"I used to be a stay at home mom and was able to make fresh meals for my family every night," said Rhoades, whose four children now range from 14-23. "I see families struggling to do that. My whole concept is to make their lives easier."

Rhoades, a Plant High School alum, offered her homemade toffee to friends and then enhanced its popularity by placing it in restaurants such as Eats American Grill. After spending the past three years catering Italian food privately for doctor's offices, she decided to combine both concepts and offer everything from toffee cheesecake and ice creams to single meals or family trays of fully cooked Italian fare that just needs to be re-heated.

Rhoades was renting space in a South Tampa shared kitchen and said she wanted to "start small" with her first public location. Her fares include everything from hand-bread cutlets to pasta dishes with homemade sauce that range from $6.99 to $12.99 including meatball and chicken parmigiana plates that are staples of the menu. If you want to feed a family of 4, meal trays are available for $40-$45 and Rhoades invites you to try a free sample before you buy.

DiMisa Gourmet Sicily + Dolci is open Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. View the menu at

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