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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Northeast News

Ciccio’s returns to New Tampa with new format

BY JOYCE MCKENZIE
Special correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: January 14, 2014 at 01:11 PM

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TAMPA PALMS – It’s back, albeit with a new name, look, location, serving style – and the added ambience of a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio.

The latter will be a focal point for folks of all ages on Saturday as the two-story Ciccio Cali at 17004 Palm Point Drive in the Shoppes at the Pointe celebrates its grand opening.

Matt Lanza, a founder and partner in the Ciccio Restaurant Group, invites families to stop by between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and to enjoy a bonus of live music, a stilt walker, balloon twister, magician and face painter. He hopes many will also return for a sit-down dinner that evening. Valet parking will be provided.

Located at the former World of Beer site, the new restaurant is meant to fill a void left in the community when the former Ciccio & Tony’s in City Plaza at Tampa Palms closed in January 2013, Lanza said.

It is open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On weekends brunch/lunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wine and beer are available.

Unlike the other Tampa Palms restaurant, the new eatery features an over-the-counter ordering process designed for diners who either come for a quick brunch, dash in during their lunch breaks and or are otherwise strapped for time. However, those who dine from 3 p.m. until closing will be greeted tableside by waiters who take their orders and serve them in a more leisurely environment.

Customers can expect menu similarities, including Ciccio’s signature stir-fry items, California-inspired “bowl” creations, grilled wraps served with a choice of dipping sauces, and thin-crust pizza. Many are dairy- and/or gluten-free and there also is a kids’ menu designed for children 10 and younger.

“We’re excited to bring something unique back to the area with our fresh, made-to-order food complemented with simple ingredients and great flavor,” Lanza said.

Tampa Palms resident Kathy Elam had been a frequent diner at Ciccio & Tony’s so she was delighted to hear about the new place and to have lunch for the first time at the new Ciccio Cali.

“I think they have a very unique menu and their food is always fresh,” she said. “I like this place better than the old one in that it has a brighter atmosphere.”

Stephanie Wilson of South Tampa, one of Elam’s dining buddies among the trio of lady friends, shook her head in agreement.

“It’s brighter, it’s quick and it’s healthy,” Wilson said.

Other Tampa Bay area eateries within the Ciccio Restaurant Group include a Ciccio Cali in St. Petersburg; and Daily Eats, the Lime and Ciccio’s/Water in South Tampa.

For more information, call (813) 440-7484.

Joyce McKenzie can be reached at joycecmckenzie@gmail.com.

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