Years ago, cities like Chicago, San Francisco and New York started to see a wave of new “bowl” joints pop up around town, blending together everything from basic noodles and rice with hip grains like quinoa and topped off with organic or local-vore proteins.
Now Tampa will have a “bowl joint” too, called FK, standing for Fresh Kitchen.
The owners of restaurants including Ciccio’s and The Lodge are launching the new bowl restaurant, with a first location potentially opening in January at the former site of Chavez at Home at 1350 S. Howard Ave. in South Tampa.
“We’re really looking for quality over quantity,” said Matthew Lanza, a founder and partner with the Ciccio Restaurant Group. “We want to make sure each (restaurant brand) is perfect before we open a new one.”
Chavez at Home, meanwhile, is still operating a catering business away from its former Howard Avenue location.
Much of the FK menu and food thinking will be led by Erin Guggino, an up-and-coming player in the Tampa food scene who helped launch the popular restaurant in the Oxford Exchange complex on Kennedy Boulevard. She’ll be a food and kitchen consultant for FK, as well as part owner, while also continuing her role leading the kitchen at the Oxford Exchange.
The focus will be on healthy ingredients, Guggino said. “I’m very much into healthy diets and food that is nutritionally balanced,” she said. “This was an easy thing to say ‘Yes’ to.”
This comes as the Ciccio group slowly but deliberately expands in the region. Two Ciccio’s California restaurants will open in Tampa Palms, likely in the first week of December. Daily Eats is the company’s modern diner, with a menu of breakfast all day. Water is the company’s sushi restaurant. The Green Lemon restaurant on South Howard Avenue was renamed from Lime earlier this year.