Oh my darlin': Ybor's new Clementine Café has 'real food' focus

Misty and Brian Sommerses' Clementine Café will nourish the heart of Ybor through clean eats.

click to enlarge The open-air Clementine Café will rest in the downstairs half of Ybor's old Frankie's Patio. - MEAGHAN HABUDA
Meaghan Habuda
The open-air Clementine Café will rest in the downstairs half of Ybor's old Frankie's Patio.

On Monday, the new Clementine Café restaurant announced its plans to open in Ybor City next month. Grass-fed beef and poultry, as well as high-end and organic produce, will anchor the clean eats-slinging restaurant’s menu.

Owned by husband-and-wife partners Brian and Misty Sommers, the restaurant at 1920 E. Seventh Ave. occupies an outdoor portion of the former restaurant-bar-venue Frankie’s Patio, which regionites may remember from the ‘90s. 

The space will soon be reimagined as the Ybor Daily Market, where local handcrafted goods and organic produce will be showcased. Clementine Café and an organic coffee bar, housed inside, are among the market’s planned permanent vendors, Misty told CL Tuesday.

Offering delivery and catering services to the region since last year, the Sommerses’ restaurant is the latest project under their ClementineChef brand. The couple’s worked in fine-dining eateries throughout the country, and moved to Tampa Bay two years ago from Dallas.

Misty’s headed a range of industry roles, everything from cocktail waitress to general manager. And Brian’s acted as executive chef in locales like Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

With a formula of small, simple and concise, Brian said, Clementine Café will feature walk-up counter service and an open-air dining room, while a retro-fitted Airstream trailer (the project’s centerpiece) will house its kitchen, which he will lead.

Misty said she and Brian aren’t sure what diners will use their restaurant for yet, sit-down or take-away, but that they’ll offer around 30 dine-in seats. Although only lunch will be served to start, weekly dinners will follow.

And the eatery’s grub? It’ll be gluten-free (sorry, sandwich lovers). The Sommerses are in negotiations with area farms, too.

While the dishes will focus on as many grass-fed and organic components as possible, the duo doesn’t consider Clementine Café a health-food restaurant. Their foodie following seeks them out because their fare’s chef-driven, Misty said, not because it's healthy. 

According to Brian, the restaurant is about creating tasty, quality food that the average Midwesterner will still enjoy. He describes it as “real food” in a news release. 

And if Brian cooks up a Puerto Rican or Cuban menu item, influenced by his Miami roots, it’ll be authentic, G-ma approved.

“We’re trying to make people feel better,” he said.

In the future, the Sommerses would like to occupy a larger section of the space. Misty said she envisions a rooftop event venue for Clementine Catering, as well as an urban garden to grow ingredients for dishes.

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