As you can see in the ad on the left, Azteca d’Oro is set to host its Grand Opening in the space (at 2000 Piazza Ave.) at the Shops at Wiregrass previously occupied by Cantina Laredo on Saturday, June 24, with a mariachi band, indoor and outdoor bar with cocktails and more. Azteca d’Oro promises a truly authentic Mexican cuisine experience in an upscale, but still casual atmosphere. For more info, visit

Crazy Sushi Is Open!

Until Azteca opens, you probably should try the new Crazy Sushi Wiregrass at the Shops. Crazy Sushi is more than just another replacement for the several restaurants that have opened and gone out of business at 28152 Paseo Dr., #150 — it’s a much larger (having also taken over an adjacent store), real sit-down restaurant that just happens to also offer all-you-care-to-eat lunch (for $22.95 per person; available Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. only) and dinner (and Sat.-Sun. lunch, for $32.95) Japanese cuisine that, based on our first visit, is well worth the price. 

The sushi (the photo is of a tasty sushi sampler that isn’t on the menu) is really fresh, the appetizers (including gyoza dumplings, tempura veggies, fried chicken karaage, etc.) and lo mein are spot-on and the hibachi sirloin steak and chicken are both of a higher quality than what we’re used to getting at Ginza or Koizi. And. the premium full-liquor bar offers full-sized drinks at lower-than-mall prices.

For more information, call (813) 991-8989 or visit and please tell our friend Edgar behind the bar that we sent you! 

Johnny C’s Italian Eatery Has Opened On Cross Creek Blvd.!

The new Johnny C’s Italian Eatery has been open at 10970 Cross Creek Blvd., Suite A (on Morris Bridge Rd.), in the former location of Precinct Pizza, since May 15, and the reaction to the food, the family atmosphere and the service have so far been pretty great.

Johnny C’s, named for Johnny Ciaccio, the father of former Saddlebrook Resort GM Pat Ciaccio, is a partnership between Ciaccio and former Saddlebrook owner Tom Dempsey and Erik Ravenna, a trained chef who worked for years in food and beverage (among other jobs) at the resort.

The restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner (11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.) daily, features New York-style pizza (like the Margherita pizza shown top), plus a variety of Northern Italian comfort foods, from lasagna to chicken parmigiana, Italian meatballs (left) & more.

“One thing we noticed,” Ravenna told me during the Johnny C’s Friends & Family pre-opening, “is that (the other Italian restaurants in) this area doesn’t have a big variety of seafood options. We all do linguini with clams, but Johnny C’s also has shrimp marinara (shown being prepared above), parmigiana and scampi, as well as a spicy fra diavlo and even a frutti di mare (aka ‘Fruits of the Sea,’ right) with shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari over linguini.” (There’s also a mussels Posillipo appetizer.)

Ciaccio added, “We want everyone who visits Johnny C’s to feel like family. My dad owned restaurants his entire adult life and we lost him a few years ago, so Johnny C’s is a tribute to him.” To which Ravenna added, “He would have loved to have been the ‘mayor’ here.” For info, call (813) 278-8020, visit

Blush Champagne Bar Is Open!

The Blush Champagne & Cocktail Bar (photo above), the second establishment at the KRATE Container Park (the other is the nearly adjacent Blush Wine Room) owned by Felicia and Nimesh Desai, is an intimate, upscale champagne bar serving sparkling wine from both near and far, champagne cocktails and martinis, and a dozen frozen cocktails, with plans to serve food starting this summer. 

“Until then, you can grab food from the Blush Wine Room and drinks from either of our locations,” Felicia says. “And, just like at our original location, the Champagne & Cocktail Bar will have wines and cocktails you won’t find anywhere else.” For more info about the Blush Wine Room or Champagne & Cocktail Bar, call (813) 428-6247 or visit

Provisions To Add A 3rd Location?

Meanwhile, Provisions Coffee & Kitchen, which was the first tenant to open in the KRATE Container Park, has announced that it will open a second Wesley Chapel location (Provisions also has a New Tampa location at 2816 E. Bearss Ave.) in a new plaza on BBD Blvd. that is home to Abdoney Orthodontics. For more info, visit either currently open Provisions location or

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