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Brandon diner blends fresh, gourmet with Latin flair

Special Correspondent
Published: November 7, 2013 Updated: December 3, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Barbara Routen Dos Manos Latin Diner breakfasts, such as this guava/cream cheese-stuffed French toast, potatoes with peppers and onions and two fried eggs, are served all day.

BRANDON — Rick Franco, 33, grew up in a Latin household, worked as a chef for 16 years and dreamed of owning his own restaurant.

When his brother, Ryan Franco, 25, graduated last year from the University of South Florida with a marketing and management degree and some restaurant experience, the two Brandon residents decided to create Dos Manos Latin Diner.

The eatery opened Sept. 2 at 401 S. Parsons Ave., Suite D.

“Dos Manos” — Spanish for “two hands” — “is a reflection of our from-scratch approach,” said Rick. “Everything is made by my two hands.”

He uses Latin flavor profiles in traditional and nontraditional ways, like guava-stuffed French toast and plantain pancakes.

“We’re taking a different approach to Latin cuisine, using things people are familiar with but in ways they haven’t seen them,” he said.

“There are so many Latin restaurants in Tampa and Brandon; Rick wanted to bring something different to the table,” said Ryan. “We want to show people what Latin food can be — it’s not just beans and rice and (unappetizing) meat.”

At Dos Manos Latin Diner, “all our meat is fresh, all natural,” said Rick. “We’re using all fresh produce, making everything in small batches to protect the integrity of the food. Everything is cooked to order — we’re not leaving it in a steam well all day.”

Even their coffee — a blend of 80 percent Robusta and 20 percent Arabica, with a medium-dark roast — is roasted locally and then ground and brewed to order, said Ryan.

That “preserves the flavor of the coffee and makes sure it has that really rich, bold taste you should find in Cuban coffee,” said Rick.

Breakfast is served all day. The menu, which changes weekly, also lists soups, salads, sandwiches, kids’ meals, desserts, and large plates containing an entrée and sides.

Dos Manos Latin Diner opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and closes at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday.

For take-out, delivery and catering orders, call (813) 654-5093. For more information, visit Manos.

Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at [email protected]