Categories
Restaurant News

In Memory of Lisa Tian, Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa restaurant owner

I stumbled upon Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa one day in January of this year when a friend and I were heading to SoHo Sushi North and found it closed at 2PM. We decided to try a new restaurant we had seen on Bruce B. Downs by Acropolis, Joy of Tokyo. Once inside we had a great meal and the owner, Lisa (Lixin) Tian, came and sat with us. We talked for quite some time about her new business and how much I liked the food. She told me she moved all the way from Ohio down to Tampa to support her son attending USF and had successful businesses in Indiana and Ohio. I gave her some suggestions about using social media and setting up a website and she took my suggestions.

The next time I visited for lunch the owner and I talked about her new website and Facebook fan page. She told me her son who attends USF made the accounts for her since she wasn’t too familiar with how to use the internet. We laughed and after another great lunch I decided I wanted to schedule a sushi social with the organization I started at USF, The Japanese Club at USF. She was happy to set it up and I talked with her for about thirty minutes over the phone, she said she was happy to work with the USF community and would plan special discounts for my members and work with us however best she could.

The sushi social had a decent turnout for being scheduled during the day and the owner prepared everything and was completely hospitable to us. The next time I would interact with Joy of Tokyo would be at a Sushi Workshop organized by USF organizations Sigma Lambda Beta and Asian Students in America (A.S.i.A.). The employees from Joy of Tokyo came to our school and explained to students how to make certain sushi rolls. It was clear that Lisa was a smart businesswoman who was open-minded and happy to be a part of the USF community.

Unfortunately, in late May 2011 – I heard that Lisa Tian had been hospitalized after being severely beaten by her husband, Chunping Lin, and Lisa  suffered severe bleeding from the brain and a broken wrist in a case of domestic violence. Chunping a six-foot tall, 160 pound man, also attacked his 10-year old son who was defending his mother and caused a laceration of the son’s finger with broken glass. Lisa became comatose at St. Joseph’s  Hospital and after two months of the restaurant being closed down, I heard that she died a few days ago. Her husband was being charged with attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse according to article released in June. I am unaware of his current criminal charges.

During the week that Lisa became hospitalized a positive article was written about her business by a local newsletter. I am deeply saddened that her business never had the chance to reach success in the Tampa Bay area and that a local community leader has been lost in such tragic circumstances. The restaurant was hardly at it’s half-year point. My condolences go out to her children who must be struggling through such a difficult time. We have lost a pioneer in New Tampa and a local friend. Rest in Peace.

Categories
Restaurant News Reviews

2nd Yummy House location opens on Hillsborough Avenue and reflecting on the original

Update: Since writing this I have visited the new Yummy House location on Hillsborough Avenue and my experience wasn’t so hot. Read about it here: https://carloseats.com/2011/07/02/new-yummy-house-on-hillsborough-avenue-first-impression-bleak/

———————–

It’s been over a year since I wrote my first review of Yummy House. Yesterday, Yummy House opened their planned 2nd establishment on Hillsborough Avenue, originally slated for an April opening. Yummy House is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, but I have rarely covered it on this blog. It has been the location of graduation parties, going away parties, and friendly gatherings throughout the last few years. The flavors are hard to come by in Tampa Bay. I wasn’t privileged enough to try real Chinese food in San Francisco during my 9 years living there and came to hate the cuisine until I finally tried Yummy House. So THIS is Chinese food is what crossed my mind during my first visit.

Yummy House has been in the public eye for quite some time and this has led to quite the struggle for diners to secure a seat. I normally visit during non-peak hours, but those who come in during peak hours sometimes wait hours for a table and the demand became so great that Yummy House stopped accepting to-go orders. Their kitchen operates at max capacity and this has ultimately led to Mr. Zhao opening a new establishment on Hillsborough. Hopefully this will slow down the crowds and allow Yummy House to meet their demand of hungry customers and alleviate the kitchen and servers some. Most articles have mentioned an introduction of seafood and dim sum at the new establishment as well, something many diners are looking forward to.

I am planning on visiting their new location located at 2620 E. Hillsborough Avenue in Seminole Heights soon. I would like to take this blog to reflect on all the great food I have had at the original location Waters Avenue in case any readers of this blog have been unlucky enough to never have heard of Yummy House.

The Salt & Pepper Calamari is one of the main things people love about Yummy House. It is simply mouth-watering and it is normal for a few friends to order two to three orders of this dish during a family-style dinner. It is that good. The only calamari that has impressed me the way this dish did is the calamari at Roy’s, but it is a completely different type of batter and flavor so in a way they don’t compare. One mention of the Salt & Pepper Calamari at Yummy House and I start contemplating a trip there.

The Roast Duck Dried Grape Fried Rice is my favorite rice of all time.The grapes give the rice a sweet taste and the duck add moisture. I can take a whole order to myself and be perfectly content with just their rice. A visit to Yummy House feels incomplete without this entree.

I love their Crabmeat Fish Maw soup. Filled with tasty seafood and hearty, Yummy House does soup right. Normally the only soups I enjoy are thick soups, such as lobster bisque and clam chowder, but this soup is fantastic. The bowl is huge and there has barely been an instance where we ran out during our meal.

Observe the difference between a cup of soup for serving and the bowl size.

The Honey Walnut Shrimp is fantastic. Sweet and savory. It’s hard to have more than one because once a few people at the  table taste it, they will be vying for the rest. Nevertheless, I still love this dish. The walnuts are perfect with the large pieces of shrimp.

The Honey Pepper Steak is also excellent. The sauce it comes in goes great with everything and we practically wanted to lick the plate because it was just that good. These are just a few of the dishes that I love at Yummy House and have tried in the past few years. There are still many things I haven’t tried and I generally feel safe trying anything on their menu.

Ah, Memories at Yummy House. Your blogger is definitely ready to go out and try the new Yummy House.

Yummy House on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Yummy House

Cuisine: Chinese

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Address: 2202 West Waters Avenue Tampa, FL 33604

Phone Number: (813) 915-2828

Categories
Restaurant News

Yamato: June 1/2 Off Wine Promotion

Yamato Japanese Steakhouse located in the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel is currently offering a wine promotion for the month of June. Everything is $5 a glass, half-off their normal price.

Some of the red wines available include:

Swanson Merlot

Penfolds “Thomas Hyland” Shiraz

Four Vines “Maverick” Zinfandel

Some of the white wines available include:

St. Francis Chardonnay

Kenwood White Zinfandel

Pouilly-Fuissé White Burgundy

Checkout my review of Yamato for more on their sushi and steakhouse food.

Restaurant Name: Yamato Japanese Steakhouse

Cuisine: Japanese

Address: 28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100 Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Neighborhood: New Tampa

Phone Number: (813) 907-8701

Categories
Restaurant News

Restaurant News CL Update: Lee House Chinese Restaurant and Ocean Blue Sushi

Check out my Creative Loafing news article on Lee House Chinese Restaurant in Brandon relocating and Ocean Blue Sushi merging with Kaiko in Clearwater.

http://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2011/05/27/popular-asian-eateries-in-brandon-and-clearwater-relocate-merge

Categories
Restaurant News

Tampa Restaurant Featured Tonight in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

A Tampa restaurant will be featured tonight in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives at 9:00PM EST on Food Network. On the list is California Tacos To-Go. Make sure you tune-in and watch as Guy Fieri explores some of the most popular places to have tacos and burritos in town.

Read my California Tacos To-Go review

Categories
Restaurant News

Guy Fieri Visits the Taco Bus

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives has officially made it out to the Tampa Taco Bus. Fieri commented that the torta was one of the best he has ever had…I still have yet to try the torta myself, but my friends love it. It’s going to be awesome to see the Taco Bus shared with the world on Food Network. Once it airs on national television the secret will really be out and travelers will make it a point to stop there during visits to Tampa Bay. This is truly a proud moment in Tampa’s food scene.

Source: http://www.tampabay.com/features/food/restaurants/food-networks-guy-fieri-gets-on-the-tampa-taco-bus/1154824

Categories
Restaurant News

Update: New Restaurants Opening in Tampa Bay in 2011

This photo from Cappy’s Facebook page makes my stomach growl with hunger!

Cappys Pizzeria: Cappy’s Pizzeria is opening it’s 4th location in the Winthrop Plaza where Cuenelli’s used to stand by Green Iguana. The new location is set to open in January 2011. Cappy’s Pizzeria has been around since 1995 when it first opened in Hyde Park. A partner was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times stating “Cappy’s is known for a simple menu of quality pizza, calzones and salads. The new location won’t stray from that successful formula”. Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/cappys-pizzeria-to-open-fourth-location-this-one-in-riverview/1140165

http://www.cappyspizzaonline.com/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cappys-Pizza/175562309134957

Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse: This new Japanese restaurant in the Westfield Brandon Mall will feature Teppanyaki grills and a sushi bar. Owner Robert Smith has been quoted in the St. Petersburg Times stating “You can watch the show if you want, but there’s also booth sitting if you want a more intimate experience.” The restaurant opens on New Years Day: January 1, 2011 at 11am. Quite a way to ring in the new year! Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/article1129234.ece

459 Brandon Town Center Brandon, FL 33511 http://www.tsunamijapanesesteakhouse.com/

The original Yummy House located on Waters Ave.

Yummy House: One of Tampa’s best choices (and many say the best choice) for Chinese food is opening a new location in Mid-April 2011 in Seminole Heights near I-275. The new location will be able to accommodate up to 200 diners in 5,500 square feet of space and serve seafood and traditional Cantonese dim sum. Hopefully this will make eating at Yummy House a little easier and allow the restaurant to deal with its wildly popular demand (an estimated 400 diners a day visit Yummy House!). Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/owner-of-sherrys-yesterdaze-opening-new-shop-in-seminole-heights/1137591

2620 E Hillsborough Ave. Tampa, FL 33610

It looks like 2011 will be a great year for dining out!

Categories
Restaurant News Reviews

Sa Ri One Lunch Box: New Korean To-Go by USF

Note: Sa Ri One Lunch Box has closed down.

About 3 weeks ago Sa Ri One, one of my favorite Korean restaurants in Tampa, opened a new branch called Sa Ri One Lunch Box out by USF. Tuesday my friends and I dined at the original Sa Ri One on Cypress St. (more on that in my next blog). Curious about how this location matches up I decided to grab some dinner at Lunch Box the next night.

Driving down 56th Street it’s really easy to miss Lunch Box. There is a ton of construction around and the plaza you find the little Korean place in is not the best area. However, the location is great in relation to USF and Temple Terrace residents having access to it. One of the employees there told me one of the reasons they opened a new branch was because they wanted to make it easier for people, who normally have to go all the way to Cypress Street by South Dale Mabry, to enjoy a good Korean meal.

Lunch Box is exactly what it sounds like, they have lunch and dinner portions of popular Korean food. You won’t be able to purchase Korean soups, enjoy lots of sides, or specialty items because the concept of Lunch Box is a to-go concept. You come in and select an order from the list of combos, such as Galbi, Bulgogi, Bibimbop, and Kimbob. A few minutes after ordering you have a to-go box in your hand full of vegetables, dumplings, rice, and your choice of meat.

An employee there hinted that they are working on some new concepts and that a snow ice cream will be coming soon to their location.

The place itself is clean and will hopefully keep the modern look it currently has. They also offer wi-fi, which is nice for iPod Touch and laptop users like myself. I decided to try their bulgogi beef since I didn’t order it the night before at the original location (almost all my friends did though).

The bulgogi was excellent. I think it maybe slightly better at the original since it’s on that hot pan when it comes out, but they still served it to me right it was cooked right. There was plenty of flavor, seasoning, and vegetables on it…it did not dry out. The vegetables and dumplings were a nice addition and the white rice (they also have fried rice) made me feel full. The price was affordable only around $9 as well (with a soda can).

Overall, I really like this little spot and will be making many trips back whenever I get the craving for Korean food and am in the USF/Temple Terrace area.

Sa Ri One Lunch Box on Urbanspoon

Name: Sa Ri One Lunch Box

Address: 8892 N. 56th St Temple Terrace, FL 33617

Phone Number: 813-984-2800

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sa-ri-one-lunch-box-tampa

Categories
Restaurant News

Restaurant News: Cuenelli’s Relocating to Tampa

Checkout my restaurant news on Cuenelli’s Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken’s relocation to Tampa:

http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2010/10/01/restaurant-news-cuenellis-peruvian-style-rotisserie-chicken-relocating-to-tampa/