Ciccio's to take place of World of Beer in New Tampa plaza
TAMPA PALMS - Less than a year after Ciccio's Lodge restaurant closed at City Plaza, the Ciccio's brand is set to return to New Tampa. A sign in the window of the former World of Beer location at The Pointe plaza on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard just south of Interstate 75 says Ciccio's will open there this fall. Officials with the restaurant chain or leasing agent could not to be reached for comment. However, when Ciccio's Lodge closed in January, managing partner Robert Garofano said at the time he planned to launch an intense search to find a new location in Tampa Palms or New Tampa to reopen the restaurant.Garofano and his business partners wanted to remain at City Plaza, he said. But they were unable to finalize a deal to make it possible. The restaurant has received strong support on its Facebook page since it closed on Jan. 5. On May 1, space opened at 17004 Palm Point Drive, the former site of the World of Beer, which closed the last weekend in April. World of Beer co-owner Philippe Theodore said he was shutting down the New Tampa franchise location because an amenable lease agreement could not be reached with the shopping center's leasing representatives. Ciccio's plans to move into that space. The chain has six restaurants; its unclear whether the New Tampa location will be a Ciccio's Lodge. In 2009, Garofano and his business partners opened two trendy restaurants, Ciccio's and The Lodge, under one roof at 16023 Tampa Palms Blvd. West in City Plaza at Tampa Palms. Ciccio's originally operated out of a smaller, adjacent storefront as the well-established Ciccio & Tony's restaurant. The Lodge, an eatery with a large, traditional menu that caters more to families, was owned and operated by the same group that owns Ciccio & Tony's. Both restaurants combined to form Ciccio's Lodge and operated out of a 4,400-square-foot space that included a shared kitchen.