Ava invites diners to be culinary guinea pigs

Tampa's Italian-inspired Ava restaurant to host a series of test kitchens starting next week.

click to enlarge A rendering of SoHo's Ava, with its Acunto Napoli oven behind the bar. - Flags of Origin
Flags of Origin
A rendering of SoHo's Ava, with its Acunto Napoli oven behind the bar.

Ava, the latest restaurant project by 717 South owner Michael Stewart and former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, announced it will open its doors to diners for a seven-day series of test kitchens.

From 6 to 10 p.m. beginning Thursday, Nov. 20, culinarians will nosh on Italian-inflected eats such as fusilli al pomodoro, pork belly, half-grilled hen and zeppole off the restaurant's sample menus.

In August, Ava was featured in a CL piece on buzzed-about fall restaurant openings. The Tampa eatery's slated to open Nov. 28, Stewart told the Tampa Bay Business Journal Monday.

Highlights of the restaurant include its Italian-made Acunto oven, house-cured charcuterie, hefty wine list and chef Joshua Hernandez's emphasis on simple dishes with a few fine ingredients.

Interested diners should reserve their seats online, where they'll also find each evening's test-kitchen lineup.

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