Luv Child, located at 516 S. Howard Ave., is the newest concept to come out of the Ciccio Restaurant Group (CRG) family, and it makes a debut next Thursday, October 31.
“We have a lot invested in South Howard and we wanted to revamp the area too. We thought it was important to stay ahead of everything and open new concepts, bring new vibes,” CRG Managing Partner David Pullman tells CL about the 180-seat, 5,000 square-foot space that’s set to open in the former home of The Lodge. “We’ve had a great run with a lot of the local spots.”
Luv Child is the first Ciccio concept completely centered around CRG Executive Chef and Partner Luis Flores, who emigrated to the United States almost 40 years ago before beginning his culinary career as a dishwasher. He joined CRG in 1990 as a sous chef at the original NYC Ciccio and Tony’s restaurants.
“Luis was integral in creating several of our other concepts including Forbici, Taco Dirty, and Green Lemon,” says Pullman. Like Flores, Pullman plays an essential part in the growth of CRG. He’s been in charge of opening a few of their concepts including vegan sweet hotspot Sweet Soul and Fresh Kitchen’s Boca Raton location.
The whole vibe at Luv Child is ‘70s Miami. The décor features a bold, floral print wallpaper and several chandeliers. The menu is 100% Cuban, Luis’ favorite cuisine. Guests can expect menu items ranging from fried cauliflower bites with a Cuban Sriracha sauce to a shredded aji verde chicken sandwich (yes, Cuban sandwiches are also on the menu).
The newest edition to the Ciccio fam was born from realizing what works at the fellow CRG concepts. “Luv Child will be a representation [of Green Lemon] but with a Cuban menu and a bar scene,” Pullman explains. The full bar will be loaded with wines on tap, fresh in-house sangria, signature frozen drinks and craft cocktails made with fresh-squeezed pressed juices.
“We’re introducing a ‘vibed-up’ party version of healthy dining with a fresh-squeezed, juiced up bar with lots of fun, live music and high-energy DJs,” he adds. South Tampa diners will also be able to get their buzz on in more than one way at Luv Child, thanks to the Cuban-driven coffee bar serving up a variety of espresso drinks.
Hours for Luv Child are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday — weekend brunch will also be popping off. Monday food service will launch after the concept is up and running smoothly. By the way, hospitality workers can slide by Sundays, from 3 p.m.-midnight for 50% off food and 25% off liquor.
Pullman says Luv Child is a good addition to what already exists in SoHo; it’s CRG’s thank you to their loyal customer base. With a thriving South Tampa food scene, it looks like that Ciccio reign just won’t let up in SoHo.