MenuDirections 2013 Dine-Around Preview

Signature event gives attendees a chance to sample dishes from three Tampa restaurants.

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

This year’s Dine-Around will showcase Ybor City, Tampa’s Latin Quarter. We talked to staff from each of the Dine-Around restaurants on this year’s agenda to get the inside scoop on what kind of culinary delights attendees can expect March 3.

Columbia Restaurant
2117 East 7th Avenue
Web: columbiarestaurant.com/ybor
Preview provided by: Caroline O’Connor, banquet and catering manager

What should a first-timer to Columbia Restaurant know?
We are the oldest and largest Spanish restaurant in Florida. We have Flamenco shows six nights of the week.

History: We opened in 1905. We started as a corner café for the cigar rollers to visit during their breaks. Gradually we grew into a restaurant that is a block long. The same family, The Hernandez Gonzmart family, has been with the restaurant since the beginning.

Atmosphere: It almost has an “I Love Lucy” atmosphere. We have a lot of people who have been coming here their entire lives. Most of everything in the restaurant has been brought over from Spain—most of the hand-painted tiles inside and outside, furniture, etc.

Signature dishes: Definitely paella. We basically do Spanish and Cuban food. We do a lot of tapas with seafood,but you’ll also see Cuban dishes like roast pork and a Cuban sandwich.

Bernini of Ybor
1702 East 7th Avenue  
Web: berniniofybor.com
Preview provided by: Thomas Leechin, general manager

What should a first-timer to Bernini of Ybor know?
We are an eclectic eatery where the cuisine complements your surroundings without compromising your wallet. The restaurant is named after the famous sculptor, architect and painter, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini.

History: We have been here for 17 years. We are located in a refurbished bank.

Atmosphere: We’re classified as a pretty romantic restaurant. There is low lighting and everything is in some shade of red. We have prints of Bernini artwork all over the restaurant.

Signature dishes: We have a crispy duck made with goat cheese mashed potatoes and broccolini, finished with a dried cherry and vanilla Chianti demi-glace that is very popular—as is our pistachio-crusted grouper served with herb-roasted mashed potatoes and broccolini, finished with marsala brown butter sauce. We change the menu often so there is always something new.

Carne Chophouse
1536 E. 7th Avenue
Web: carnechophouse.com
Preview provided by: Michael Ingrassia, general manager

What should a first-timer to Carne Chophouse know?
We are an affordable chophouse with an emphasis on Latin flavors.

History: The building is 125 years old. It was originally The Spanish Club, which is where immigrants came in the early 1900s to get help with immigration law and medical needs.

Atmosphere: It feels like a Spanish castle. It has very low lighting and 30-foot ceilings. We use a lot of red velour on the drapes so it’s very warm and inviting. There are beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceilings.

Signature dishes: We’re known for our steaks, and each of those comes with a sofrito potato, which is basically a twice-baked potato that is pan-seared and served with oil, garlic, peppers and onions. The overall menu has a Latin feel to it, with kind of a New Orleans feel as well.

Keywords: 
menu development

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

The new unpaid-balance policy at Canon-McMillan School District in Pittsburgh is making waves after a former cafeteria worker sounded off about the practice on social media.

Stacy Koltiska said she quit her job with the district after being forced to take hot meals away from students who owed lunch money, CBS News reports .

Under a new policy that was implemented at Canon-McMillan this year, students whose lunch debt exceeds $25 are not allowed to receive a hot lunch. Children in grades K-6 are given a sandwich in its place, and older students receive no lunch. A recent...

Industry News & Opinion

Due to low participation in its lunch program, Talawanda School District in Oxford, Ohio, is raising the price of school meals this year, Patch.com reports .

The cost of school lunches will see a 30-cent increase, half of which is being enacted to cover the district’s budget. The other half is being required by the government to cover the cost of free and reduced-price lunches provided to low-income families. Prior to this year, the district had not raised prices since 2009.

The district’s cafeterias have experienced a decline in student participation since implementing the...

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...

FSD Resources