Grecian Earns

Louis Pappas Market Café is branching out.

Since the opening of the original Riverside Café in Tarpon Springs in 1925, the Pappas name has been renowned in Greek-American cuisine. Louis Lucas Pappas, grandson of the pioneer restaurateur Louis M. Pappamichalopoulos (who shortened his name after arriving from Greece), is carrying on the family tradition with the hugely popular Louis Pappas Market Café.

The café, which opened in 2001 at 14913 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Tampa, specializes in "New Generation Greek" and offers soups, sandwiches, salads and entrees.

Four locations have followed, most recently at 13823 W. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa, which opened in mid-December.

Two more restaurants are slated to open in 2006, said Louis Pappas' wife Nancy. One is scheduled for a Feb. 1 opening at 1318 Towncenter Drive in Lakeland and another at 1530 Fourth St. N. in St. Petersburg in late March or early April.

All Louis Pappas locations are open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon. through Sat. For information, visit www.louispappas.com or call 727-937-1770.

Akiva's opens in Clearwater

For those looking for something new in downtown Clearwater, check out Akiva's. The restaurant officially opened at the end of September, but a grand opening celebration will be held on Tues., Jan. 10. The ribbon-cutting takes place at 4 p.m., and promises the presence of the mayor of Clearwater and other dignitaries as well as samplings of Akiva's dishes.

The restaurant serves Mediterranean-European cuisine — a mixture of tastes including falafel, hummus, shish kebabs, salads, beef stew, deli sandwiches and fish.

"It's fun, its creative. Akiva can make anything," beamed co-owner Hemda Ginzeurg of her husband and chef Akiva Shaked. The duo, who moved to the area seven years ago, have owned two restaurants in Israel and one in Nairobi, Kenya. This is their first in Tampa Bay.

Chef Akiva trained in Israel before opening the new restaurant. His cooking is "traditional and he learned it the right way," said Hemda. "Our hummus and falafel are exceptional," she added.

Akiva's is located at 45 N. Fort Harrison Ave., and is open 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mon. through Fri., and 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. Call 727-213-0486 or e-mail [email protected] for information.

Latitude 23.5 opening in St. Pete

Planet Food Critic Brian Ries described Latitude 23.5 Coffee & Tea's offerings as "the best coffee I've ever had ... I can't wait until there's a Latitude 23.5 on every street corner."

This month, Ries' dream is coming closer to fruition. Sarasota-based Latitude 23.5 Coffee & Tea is crossing the Skyway to open up shop in downtown St. Petersburg.

Latitude, which first opened in October 2004, now has three Sarasota locations: 8165 27th St. E.; 3412 Clark Road, Suite 230; and 8768 S. Tamiami Trail. The owners decided to make the move northward to "expand our horizons," said manager Charles Hellenberg.

The shop features coffee roasted locally by Sarasota coffee pioneer Chris Keesecker, teas, espressos and smoothies as well as fresh-baked pastries, bagels and cookies.

The official opening date has yet to be announced, but the storefront is virtually ready to go, Hellenberg said. The new store hosted a special event Wed. (Jan. 4) leading up to the grand opening, offering samples of its products.

The St. Pete branch, at 330 First Ave. S., will be open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon. through Fri., and 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat. For information visit www.latitudecoffee.com or www.latitudedeals.com.

New home for Dockside Dave's

A favorite for grouper sandwiches and casual seafood, Dockside Dave's has moved a few blocks south to John's Pass Village and Boardwalk. The old location, at 13203 Gulf Blvd. in the Charterboat Center, closed on Dec. 11 to make way for new condos (what else?). The restaurant reopened on Dec. 19 at 119 Boardwalk Place, Madeira Beach, after a brief hiatus.

Located in the former home of Uncle Charlie's Crab Shack, which closed a few years ago, the new joint is about the same size as Dave's previous site, said manager Brenda Gregory. Everything else is the same, and don't worry, Dave's is still close enough to the water to be called "dockside."

Dockside Dave's is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon. through Sat., and noon-10 p.m. Sun. For info, call 727-392-9399.

NoHo Bistro moving to expand

Popular lunchtime spot the NoHo Bistro has closed temporarily in preparation for a move to a bigger locale. The restaurant at 1912 N. Howard Ave. served its last meal at that location on Fri., Dec. 23, and will be closed for several weeks during the move.

In an e-mail sent out to customers, owners Jessica Raia-Long and Michael Long explained that the new digs at 1714 N. Armenia Ave. "will allow for 25 seats, additional menu offerings and plenty of off-street parking." They are projecting a Feb. 1 reopen date.

Raia-Long will continue to do catering in the interim. For information, call 813-514-0691.

A Cordon d'Or correction

In a recent article ("The Gravy," Dec. 21-27), I wrote about the first annual Cordon d'Or Cookbooks and Culinary Arts awards ceremony. Noreen Kinney, the president of Cordon d'Or, objected to my description of the event. Her letter to the Planet is excerpted below:

"Anne Arsenault's inference that the recent Cordon d'Or-Gold Ribbon Awards were "reminiscent" of the movie Waiting for Guffman was very insulting and slanderous to the many professional people who were involved and associated with the Awards event. My work as the Pioneer of the New Irish cuisine goes back over 45 years, and is well-documented. Her published remark that I am "the self proclaimed pioneer of the New Irish cuisine" is insulting and slanderous.

"Before proceeding, I would like to add that aside from the fact she had the date incorrect for the event, it is obvious that she had not done her research properly. I have traveled extensively, but have never had, as she claims, a "career as a traveling gourmet, who regaled the audience with stories." As everyone at the event knows and can verify, I had severe laryngitis and could barely speak, let alone regale the audience with stories. My daughter had to stand in for me and run the awards ceremony and do the announcements. I attempted to speak briefly at the end of the awards presentation, about the Cuisine of the Year and Hall of Fame Awards, and named the two Cash Award Winners. And I announced the Academy of the Culinary Arts, opening in January 2006.

"The fact that the awards event was the first presentation, and we got the ball rolling with the new awards, did not mean it was put on by amateurs who did not know what they were doing. She certainly misinterpreted the comment 'You have to start somewhere,' in reference to it being the first time the awards were presented. Research would have shown her what went on behind the scenes to get to the starting point of the first awards ceremony."

Noreen Kinney, President,

Cordon d'Or-Gold Ribbon Awards

Ms. Kinney is correct that I muffed the date of the event (it took place Dec. 8, not Dec. 7, as I reported). As for the story's admittedly irreverent tone, I certainly didn't intend to demean or insult Ms. Kinney, the Cordon d'Or Awards or Kinney's involvement in developing the New Irish Cuisine. She has made a name for herself internationally, and has been recognized as a pioneer in New Irish Cuisine by, among others, the Irish Food Board (Bord Bia). As for her speaking ability during the ceremony, she proved to be an entertaining host despite any limitations from laryngitis.

Know of restaurants opening or closing? Have news of new chefs, new dishes or other culinary gossip? E-mail [email protected].

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