*Reposted: Originally written on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay by Jenna Rimensnyder.
Next month, downtown Tampa is set to welcome a new concept, crafted by Taps Bar and Restaurant owner James DeVito.
Utilizing his 12 years of experience in the bar and restaurant industry, he has created DeVito's Italian Specialties, stationed in the former Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs storefront at 200 N. Tampa St. DeVito told Tampa Bay Business Journal that he is shooting to host soft opening events in February, followed by a full-scale opening in March.
During the interview, DeVito said that this new concept will stand alone from the handful of other Italian restaurants in Tampa Bay by creating an intimate, more personal experience similar to that of Donatello on N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
When it comes to the kitchen, DeVito recruited executive chef Alessandro Magnani, a native of southern Italy's Puglia region. The menu is set to be constructed to accommodate downtown Tampa's bustling scene, with a grab-and-go lunch menu and transitioning into an upscale, full-service concept.
As far as bites go, we DeVito told TBBJ that the menu will focus on seasonality utilizing house-made ingredients. That means pastas, Roman-style pizzas, and bread. Some dishes revealed from the forthcoming menu include octopus carpaccio and orecchia di elefante which includes a pounded bone-in veal chop, arugula, tomato, and lemonette. We're still patiently waiting for a wine list to be released.