Cravings Blog

Tampa-based Greek restaurant headed for Sarasota

Acropolis Taverna, a Tampa-based Greek restaurant, will open at 229 N. Cattlemen Road, next to JPan Sushi & Grill. Both restaurants are located west of The Mall at University Town Center.
Acropolis Taverna, a Tampa-based Greek restaurant, will open at 229 N. Cattlemen Road, next to JPan Sushi & Grill. Both restaurants are located west of The Mall at University Town Center. jodea@bradenton.com

To entice shoppers’ appetites, Benderson Development Co. is adding more to the restaurant lineup sandwiched between The Mall at University Town Center and The District at UTC shopping plaza.

The newest announcement comes from a Tampa-based Greek restaurant, Acropolis Taverna. The Acropolis locations in Ybor City, Riverview, New Tampa, St. Pete and South Tampa all offer small plates and entrees and open at 11 a.m. The Sarasota restaurant will be similar, said ATG Restaurant group operations manager Autumn Nickels, and will also offer a lunch and brunch menu.

Acropolis Taverna serves traditional Greek fare like hummus, tzatziki, souvlaki and dolmades, or grapevine leaves stuffed with Greek rice and herbs. Restaurant chef Sam Waez also puts a Mediterranean twist on American favorites like salmon salad and meatballs. The Acropolis locations come alive with belly dancing, plate breaking, napkin throwing, zorba dancing and live music to “recreate the ancient culture of the Greeks,” according to acropolistaverna.com.

Nickels said the company hopes to open the location at 229 N. Cattlemen Road in March or April. The location will employ approximately 50 to 60 people, she said, though applications are not yet being accepted.

In late January, California Pizza Kitchen will open a location behind The Mall at University Town Center at 192 Cattlemen Road. The pizza chain started in Beverly Hills, California, and has grown to more than 250 locations since the first one opened in 1985, according to the CPK website.

Guests at CPK can choose from more than a dozen unique pizza combinations such as a carne asada pie and what’s basically a club sandwich spread over a pizza crust. The menu also includes pasta, salads, soup and plates such as hearth-roasted halibut and fire-grilled ribeye.

The Cattlemen Road strip south of University Parkway had a bevy of restaurant openings during the last year, including JPan Sushi & Grill, Rusty Bucket and BurgerFi.

Benderson’s surrounding UTC properties also have seen a flurry of activity between new retail and restaurants. In 2017, discount chain Five Below, upscale men’s grooming salon Modern Gents and a new concept by the people behind the Fast N Fresh salad shop, Lesley and Michael Harb, will open in The Shoppes at UTC, located between Cooper Creek Boulevard and Interstate 75.

Plated Modern Kitchen, the Harbs’ new concept, seeks to “reinvent how dinner is done with a fresh approach to comfort food.” The Plated Modern Kitchen website and Facebook page emphasize that meals used to be more of an experience and time to share with family and friends, whereas today food is often eaten on-the-go.

“What you feed yourself and your family is very important to their health and happiness, and we want to help make that attainable and affordable,” Plated Modern Kitchen said on its Facebook page.

The Harbs aim to open Plated Modern Kitchen in early January 2017, according to a message left on the former Fast N Fresh location’s answering machine.

Janelle O’Dea: 941-745-7095, @jayohday

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