Cena offers Italian classics in Tampa's Channel District

Published March 20, 2013

CHANNEL DISTRICT — "Modern Italian backed by the classics," is how chef Michael Buttacavoli describes the menu and setting created for Cena, the new Channel District restaurant.

Beef short rib and braised pork in a rustic Bolognese sauce is just one example of a twist on tradition featured at the March 15 opening in Grand Central at Kennedy.

Owners Ken Stoltenberg and Frank Bombeeck turned to several local experts for their new venture. Buttacavoli, who previously cooked at Bern's, SideBern's and various venues within the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, collaborated on wine and menu development with Susan Bianchi and Romeo Patron, owners of Bianchi's Enoteca. Maitre d' Stanley Young brings experience from working at Edison: Food+Drink Lab and Mise en Place.

All that foodie talent combines to make Cena, which translates as supper in Italian, a sophisticated but neighborly scene. Conversations entwined on a recent visit to the 40-seat spot, including 15 at the bar. Guests couldn't resist making recommendations to other diners. Try the braised oxtail and gnocchi, urged a barmate. And don't miss the mussels, his wife said.

Appetizer selections start with assorted charcuterie and cheeses. Salads include a medley of shrimp, mussels, scallops and baby octopus in an orange fennel vinaigrette. Seafood lovers will go for the cioppino, the traditional fish stew in a tomato broth, and the risotto loaded with shrimp, calamari, scallops and such.

Save room for dessert; tiramisu and chocolate marsala cake topped with homemade caramel gelato are recommended.

Cena is at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. The bar opens at 4 p.m.; dinner service is 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit or call (813) 374-8840.

Drawing classes for young artists

Children ages 6 to 18 learn the fundamentals of drawing at Vosler Young Artists Studio, run by Kerry Vosler, in Santaella Studios for the Arts on Armenia Avenue, two blocks north of Interstate 275 in West Tampa.

Vosler, known for her paintings of flamenco dancers and commissioned portraits, has taught adult art classes for many years. Now she has rented additional space near her studio in the former Santaella cigar factory to begin offering weekend sessions to youth.

Students draw in charcoal from still life and anatomical casts, replicas of renaissance and modern sculpture, eventually advancing to painting and color classes.

"We start with basic forms, studying and drawing from casts of statutes and body parts, such as a hand or head of a horse," Vosler said, "and progress to more complicated work."

Preteen classes are 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays and cost $30 per week. Teen classes are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays and cost $45 per week. Supplies are included. There is a one-time $50 enrollment fee. Summer programs are also planned.

Vosler Young Artists Studio is at 1906 N Armenia Ave., Suite 210. Call (813) 417-5867 or visit

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Integrative medicine is focus at Crane Health

Acupuncture and nutritional specialists Courtney Connell and Cynthia Clark have announced a name and location change. Now known as Crane Health, the couple are sharing office space with Ocean Chiropractic on S Dale Mabry Highway at El Prado Boulevard.

The practice combines training in Chinese medicine and Western science to diagnose and treat a range of health issues, including chronic pain, migraines, endocrine/thyroid disorders, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety, and sports injuries. Both earned master's degrees from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. In addition, Connell is a specialist in traditional pulse diagnosis.

Crane Health, 3612 S Dale Mabry Highway, is open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Visit or call (813) 690-1628.

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