*Reposted. Originally written on Tampa's Downtown.
Taps Restaurant Bar & Lounge owner James DeVito is going back to basics with his next downtown Tampa restaurant: DeVito’s Italian Specialties.
Debuting in February, the sophisticated full-service newcomer at 200 N Tampa St. will serve a menu of classic Italian cuisine, with a focus on guest interaction.
“What I enjoy most about owning restaurants is the intimacy and the relationships with the clientele. I want to get back to those roots and one-on-one personal connections with our patrons,” DeVito said in a news release.
DeVito opened the first Taps location at Ashley Drive and Polk Street in 2008, growing the brand through the launch of five other outposts. All but the original were eventually sold.
The native New Yorker and chef Alessandro Magnani, who was born in Bari in the southern Italian region of Puglia, have developed the food for DeVito’s. Guests will chow down on traditional dishes made with premium ingredients imported from Italy, including Roman pizzas known for their light, airy crust, specialty sandwiches and fried turnovers called panzerotti during lunch.
Dinner plans to bring more upscale items like octopus carpaccio, bone-in veal chop, pappardelle al cinghiale (flat pasta with boar ragu), whole branzino and zabaione (egg-based Marsala custard).
For drinks, the bar will marry Italian wines and beers with their American and local counterparts, respectively. Cocktail favorites like Americanos and Aperol Spritzes are in store as well.
In the release, DeVito said the restaurant is meant to celebrate old-school Italian cooking, simple dishes that let the ingredients speak for themselves.
“We want to go back to our Italian heritage, bring back traditional recipes, and resurrect recipes that have vanished and/or that are difficult to find in today’s everyday offerings of modern Italian cuisine, where dishes have been over modified,” he said.