Japanese steakhouse Arigato reopens in Carrollwood
This was one case of a business really going up in flames. Arigato Japanese Steak House was a staple on Dale Mabry Highway for years. It was founded by Dale Del Bello Sr. back in 1971, only the second authentic Japanese steak house in the country. He was told it would never work. The idea not only worked, but became one of the most popular restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. However, seven years ago, the Dale Mabry location suffered a setback when an unexplained fire burned the restaurant to the ground. By this time, the brand had expanded to include Arigatos in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and, for a time, Orlando, but Vice Presidents Danielle and Dale Del Bello – the son and daughter of the founder – were determined to make it work in Tampa. It took awhile, but the restaurant up and running again at 14330 N Dale Mabry Hwy., offering one of the most creative meals in Tampa Bay. Each table is made for more than just one family. It’s a great way to meet friends, and with personal chefs making the food, people can watch as their dinners are prepared. The flames fly high and the chefs make it fun, even adding some comedy to the meal. For a fee, customers can participate. The dress is casual-professional, but everyone from children to kids on first dates, to adults, are among the regular clientele. “We know a lot of people who have become friends eating at the same table,” Danielle Del Bello said. “It’s a great way to meet people and have fun at the same time.” Arigato, which translates into “thank you,” offers all homemade sauces including two specialties — Goody-Goody sauce and Yummy-Yummy — and a homemade soy sauce without the artificial ingredients. The steaks are, unlike most steakhouses, hand-cut and the shrimp is hand-peeled. Dale Del Bello said that, no matter what the dining experience is like, the food is still the bottom line. “We’ve become a destination restaurant,” Dale Del Bello said. “People come here specifically from everywhere, not just Tampa. People come from far away because they know our food and they know our reputation. Our filet mignon is great and you won’t find better anywhere. When you have a 500-degree grill right in front of your plate, you can tell the chef exactly what you want.” The Del Bellos also have plans to expand and are considering franchise possibilities.