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Gourmet market will add flavor to overhaul

Gaetano's Market, a gourmet grocery at Westshore and Kennedy boulevards, will be part of Town Square's renovations.

By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002


WESTSHORE -- You can almost smell the garlic and olive oil when Carlo Castillo and Tommy Lamb describe their planned Gaetano's Market in the Town Square shopping center.

The store will soon fill a void left when the neighborhood's Kash n' Karry closed in an overhaul of Town Square.

"Specialty Italian imported foods that you can't find anywhere else," promises Castillo.

"Balducci's in Tampa," says Lamb, comparing Gaetano's to the famed New York food emporium.

Lamb, 37, a luxury home builder, partners with three brothers Enrique, 30, Carlo, 28, and Anthony Castillo, 25, to open a gourmet grocery at Westshore and Kennedy boulevards. It joins Panera Bread, Pier One and Starbucks in the renovated shopping center.

By Labor Day, they expect to be selling fresh cut steaks and chops. They'll slice imported lunch meats and cheeses at the deli counter. Produce, flowers and cannoli will arrive fresh every day. The wine and beer selection should fill several aisles.

"Our target customer is anybody who is willing to try a new experience with the Italian market," says general manager Carlo Castillo, a former restaurant owner from Michigan.

Anthony Castillo will be assistant manager. A fourth brother, Cordoves, 34, will run the wine department.

"Tampa has its attempts at doing this, but I thought we could do it a lot better," said Lamb, "something like a Dean & DeLuca's."

Through a large window, customers will be able to watch Carlo make sausage.

"I'll put my sausage up against anybody's," he said.

Behind the display cases, kitchen staff will prepare take-home entrees. Carlo suggests mezzaluna (rolled stuffed eggplant), chicken Parmesan and pork loin stuffed with proscuitto and asiago cheese.

Lamb describes his design for the 5,200-square foot store as "old world but chic." Walls are to be tiled white 8 feet up, then painted black to the ceiling. Flooring will be gray and white marble. Ceiling ductwork exposes contemporary halogen lighting. Chrome refrigeration racks hold the merchandise.

Lamb was surprised when Kash n' Karry left the Town Square shopping center. The closing affected many of his clients.

"Kash n' Karry's absence left a huge need. The closest place to shop became the Publix on Dale Mabry," said Lamb.

Lamb connected with the Castillo family through business dealings with Enrique, a real estate agent with Toni Everett Co. Lamb met Carlo, who was managing Chimento's Italian Market, in Livonia, Mich.

"I walked in and the light bulb went off. This was exactly what I was thinking about," said Lamb.

Lamb named the grocery for his maternal grandfather, Gaetano "Tom" Midulla.

"He lived with us and was always part of my life growing up. I'm named for him," said Lamb.

Last month's closing of Giancola's, a specialty market and wine shop on S MacDill Avenue, does not worry the Gaetano owners.

"I have complete faith in our idea and location and concept," said Carlo. "The skies the limit on what we're gonna try."

-- Amy Scherzer can be reached at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com.

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