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Another Starbucks? Rumor mill says it's so

Thought no one is confirming, the new coffee shop would be in the third building at Bay to Bay Centre.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 15, 2002

PALMA CEIA -- If true, it may be the worst-kept secret in South Tampa: Another Starbucks coffee shop is coming, this time on Bay to Bay Boulevard, where new retail is blooming like spring.

Starbucks won't confirm or deny. But the shop's would-be neighbors at the new Bay to Bay Centre plaza have heard the rumor.

The reputed site is a storefront in the third building to take shape at Bay to Bay Centre.

Two other wings have been occupied since late last year by Et-Cetera gift shop, Silly Goose women's and children's clothing, Cox-Feivelson Antique and Design and Feet First athletic apparel.

A State Farm Insurance Co. office is slated to move in soon, as are two new food spots, both aimed at take-out diners.

Monstah Lobstah (pronunciation courtesy of Maine) will feature the Pine Tree State's most famous delicacy, the Maine lobster. Owner and Maine native Allen Berube says, "Florida lobster is like a giant crawfish. There's nothing like a Maine lobster. It's like candy. It's much sweeter."

Berube plans to open the companion store to his N Dale Mabry Highway location the first week in April. It primarily will be take out and will also offer lobster rolls, seafood chowder, shrimp, clams and scallops. Customers can have selected shellfish cooked on site or take it home fresh. And delivery is available for orders of $60 or more.

Louis Pappas Market and Cafe will be the latest outpost of the famous Pappas Riverside Restaurant in Tarpon Springs. Owner Louis Pappas plans to open in three months. He says the concept will be "home meal replacement."

"Our niche is trending itself toward take out," he said, but there will be indoor and outdoor seating, too.

Many of the traditional Greek dishes served at the Tarpon Springs location will appear here, including Greek salads and soups, Mediterranean sandwiches, lamb shank, spanokopita, souvlaki, baklava and hummus made right. "We always use fresh chick peas," Pappas said. "I don't know how some people use canned chick peas for their hummus."

The rumor that Starbucks is staking out another post in South Tampa has spread a few blocks down Bay to Bay. Bean There coffee shop has had eight years to become a Palma Ceia favorite, and that's why owner Nick Esposito isn't worried about Starbucks.

"They do different things," he said. "We do a lot of food. They'll bring more people and they'll do all the advertising. I think they'll help."

The Centre comprises 22,500 square feet and takes up most of the north side of the block on Bay to Bay Boulevard between Concordia and Malijo avenues.

-- Michael Canning can be reached at (813) 226-3408.

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