More Italian, Honest!

Oronzo Honest Italian is expected to open in late-April in the old Men’s Wearhouse store in the Walk at Highwoods Preserve on Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

Dan Bavaro, who founded Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria in downtown Tampa in 2009, is teaming up with the Front Burner Brands restaurant group on the fast-casual Italian concept. 

“Oronzo is named after my grandfather, Oronzo Bavaro, who migrated from Giovinazzo, Italy, to Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s,” said Bavaro in a press release. “My grandfather established Oronzo & Sons General Trucking Company, which made deliveries to area grocery stores and restaurants.”

Front Burner Brands owns The Melting Pot and Burger 21 franchises. Its CEO, Bob Johnston, said in the release that when he first met Bavaro, “We knew there was something special about him.”

The menu at Oronzo’s will focus on from-scratch recipes, many featuring Piadana, a thin Italian flatbread whose dough is made by mixing imported Italian flour, water and lard or olive oil and then grilled and sandwiched around a number of different fillings. The menu will also have chicken, steak, hand-rolled meatballs, Forza bowls and homemade pasta, as well as vegan options like zucchini noodles. — JCC

Lima Opens In El Pescador’s Place!

Quick, which cuisine is widely regarded as the finest of Latin America? No, it’s not Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican or Colombian.

If you want to find out the answer, head to the new Lima Restaurant, which is located in the former El Pescador location in the Publix-anchored New Tampa Center plaza, near the Mobil gas station. Lima, owned by Oscar Escudero and his family, is named, of course, for the capital of Peru and yes, Peruvian food is world-famous for unique flavors like the best rotisserie chicken and the most incredible fish and seafood ceviche. 

At Lima both dishes live up to their lofty reputations. The chicken has a crispy coating and even though the chicken itself is extremely well done, it’s still juicy inside, and is served with two different, moderately spicy dipping sauces. Since I can’t eat the seafood ceviche, I got the mahi-mahi ceviche marinated in a trio of different sauces, with those incredible giant Aztec corn kernels (think corn nuts, only better). If you order either of these dishes and hate them, tell Oscar to call me and I’ll come get ‘em!

For more info, stop in or call Lima (19062 BBD) at (813) 304-0205. — GN   

Aldi, Aussie Grill, Bonefish & Carrabba’s (& More), Oh My!

Despite Earth Fare’s closing, there’s still plenty of action happening these days on both the north and south side of S.R. 56 just west of I-75, but nothing is more anticipated than the Aldi grocery store taking shape in front of Costco.

Although no grand opening date has been announced, the signs are up on the outside of the building that looks to be just a few weeks away from opening.

Right across S.R. 56, a number of eateries are going vertical in the Cypress Creek Town Center, including three Bloomin’ Brands restaurants — Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Aussie Grill by Outback (photo, left). The local Aussie Grill will be the first-ever freestanding location for the fast-casual eatery that currently only has kiosks at the International Plaza and the Brandon Town Center. After our Neighborhood News Online video came out about the progress on these restaurants three weeks ago, a comment on our Facebook page said that the Bonefish on BBD south of S.R. 56 would close when the new Bonefish opens, but we could not confirm that at our press time. — GN

 • In other news from this area of 56, according to permitting filed with Pasco County, Zukku Sushi is also opening in the Cypress Creek Town Center.

Zukku means “canvas” or “cloth” in Japanese and, according to the restaurant’s website, the rice is your canvas. With its first location inside the trendy Armature Works in South Tampa, Zukku specializes in sushi bowls and sushi. — JCC

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