Owners of Tampa restaurants Kofe and Xilo, Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro, are bringing a new dining concept to Clearwater, and don't expect a dining room or waiters.
These "ghost kitchen" will operate out of a newly leased 5,000-square-foot commissary kitchen, but will exist only as a virtual eatery—where customers order food online and get it delivered to their door.
Chef Rivera is fresh off a win against Bobby Flay on Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay,” defeating the Iron Chef with her infamous empanada recipe. These winning empanadas will be at the forefront of Rivera and her husband’s newest culinary adventure—R2 Provisions.
R2 Provisions is an all-encompassing culinary vision that includes the newly-leased 5,000-square-foot warehouse and the food truck that Rivera and Castro purchased. It will offer catering services, fuel the ghost kitchen, use the food truck to deliver product, as well as support their restaurant Xilo, which resides at the Hall on Franklin.
The first ghost kitchen to operate out of the new R2 Provisions space in Clearwater will be Rivera’s Empanada Factory, which is set to open on February 1, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
A retail side is also in the future for R2 Provisions, as the Tampa chefs plan to sell various types of smoked meats out of a storefront at the Clearwater warehouse soon enough.
This isn’t the first time the ghost kitchen concept has been tested in the Tampa Bay area. In April of 2019, UberEats fueled countless virtual restaurants that survived solely on take-out online orders.
Want to know everything going on with Tampa Bay's food and drink scene? Sign up for our Bites newsletter.