What happens when a group of South Tampa guys decides to revamp a longtime late-night staple's old home? The soon-to-open Platt's Pizza Pub, that's what.
Deck Pizza & Pub operated at 2202 W. Platt St. for around 10 years or so before five partners — Russ Bruno, Scooter Courtney, Joey Rosati, Rich MacKizer and Ryan Quinn — settled on its vacant headquarters to devise their latest endeavor. While Quinn was a founding partner of The Bungalow, Bruno, Courtney and MacKizer have spots like The Outpost, Scooter's Saloon and The Patio under their culinary black belts. 2001 Odyssey and BarProducts.com are among Rosati's involvements.
During a walk-through of the space on Wednesday, the group told CL they're adding the final touches to their 1,300-square-foot pizza joint, whose grand opening will take place mid-September.
Platt's will put an emphasis on indoor dining through flat-screen TVs, lacquered high-top wood tables, counter seating and a jukebox, along with design elements such as exposed wood, subway tile and Edison bulbs above the small bar. A large red "PIZZA" sign adorning one wall was retrieved from a St. Petersburg pizzeria via eBay. Plans for outside include a mix of picnic tables and other seating, a walk-up order window, cornhole and some landscaping.
According to the partners, the new atmosphere is "more authentic, more simplified" than the Deck's. Unlike the building's former pizza tenant, Platt's will cater to the lunch crowd in addition to foot traffic from SoHo and its after-hours scene.
"We need to be more involved with the neighborhood," Bruno said. "Consistency is gonna be the key."
The restaurant's homey feel will be incorporated into dishes churning out of the open kitchen, too. Back in March, MacKizer and Bruno's Italian father sat down to develop the menu, which also highlights original items from the Deck.
Though the Stuffed Zucchini a la Bruno specifically honors the patriarch, MacKizer went on to list eats like flatbreads, bruschetta over crostini, grinders and salads ranging from the traditional Caesar to one with gorgonzola and roasted pear. A selection of desserts, including a tiramisu parfait and rotating gelato flavors, will accompany espresso, cappuccinos, beer and wine.
"It's classic but with a little bit of a new twist," he said.
The house-made sauce, used in pizzas and more, is a natural blend with fresh Italian herbs, and just five ingredients are necessary for the restaurant's dough. Early on, he learned from his father, a classically trained chef, that simple is sometimes better.
"That's what's most important for us," MacKizer said, "that simplicity."
Other concepts on the horizon for the group are an upscale Mexican eatery (Bruno: "Somewhere between a Green Lemon and a bartaco") in the old Reilly's space on Westshore Boulevard and a sports-bar-meets-Mexican-cantina next to 2001 Odyssey.
One of the long-term goals for Platt's, however, which will continue to offer Deck deals like pitcher and slice specials, is to extend its outdoor area with a wrap-around porch.
"We want everyone to feel like it's their place," Bruno said.