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NEWS: BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi opening first Tampa location September 2020

BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi is opening their first Tampa location near USF in September 2020.

The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenueacross from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus. Fans of the Florida-based chain have long been asking for a location to open in Tampa.

“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.

The Tampa location will offer plenty of outdoor seating, and will feature BENTO’s signature red sushi bar, warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.

“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time. Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of. The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.

BENTO Tampa will mark the concept’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.

The concept has no plans of slowing down with six more locations expected to open within the next year. Stores are planned in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and Sarasota – all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.

The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. Users also have the option to save their favorite orders, and take advantage of online-exclusive deals. There is also a mobile app version coming soon.

Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contact-less experience.

Find more information at eatatbento.com.

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Reviews

Tomo Sushi

My friend and I have been planning to eat at Tomo Sushi for months, but something always comes up. We finally had a chance to have lunch yesterday, and I really enjoyed my first visit to this sushi restaurant. It’s located near USF on Bearss a short drive from Campus Lodge or Collegiate Hall. We were seated right when we entered.

They have some visual representations of things on the menu on the table and the menu has a few pictures as well. After spending some time deciding I decided to have the Tomo Lunch Box, a bento (おべんと) box ($10.95) which comes with one piece of salmon, one piece of tuna,  teriyaki chicken, rice, 4 pieces of California Roll, tempura shrimp and vegetables, miso soup, and salad. It didn’t sound like much at first thought, but I was stuffed in just a short while. My friends ordered some sushi rolls from their sushi menu.

The Ginger Salad was excellent! Not the best I have had, but up there with plenty of ginger sauce that didn’t make the salad bland, but kept it tasteful down to the bottom.

The Miso Soup was also pretty good, plenty of seaweed and tofu inside, however it did taste a little too much like onion powder.

The Tomo Lunch Box was excellent. There was plenty of food. The salmon and tuna nigiri tasted great and fresh. The California Rolls were good, but I probably take out the cucumber from them on a future visit. The tempura was great and the shrimp tempura is some of the best I have had in quite some time. They included plenty of teriyaki chicken and rice with several vegetables in the mix as well. It was more than enough to feed one person and well worth ($10.95).

My friends with their sushi.

I really like the decor inside of Tomo. You can see the booths are very personal and have dividers in between booths separating your party from other ones in the restaurant. There are paintings on the walls of fish and a number of traditional Japanese paintings around the restaurant. The sushi bar also looks nice and I would like to sit there in the future. They play some traditional music in the background as well, which is low enough to allow your party to have a nice conversation, but still enjoy some music while dining.

Mmm looks appetizing.

Overall, the food was great and service was on point. They have a number of Korean BBQ dining options as well, being Korean owned so I will have to return in the future to try their Bulgogi or Galbi. Tomo has traditional Japanese food as well such as Yakisoba, Don Katsu, and various types of Udon. I’ll be back in the future.

Tomo Japanese Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Tomo Japanese Sushi Bar

Cuisine: Japanese, Korean

Address: 15021 N Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33613

Neighborhood: North Tampa

Phone Number: (813) 962-1560