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Everybody's Business

In Ybor, foreign flavors and sights

The International Bazaar in Centro Ybor offers goods from around the world.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 24, 2003

AROUND THE WORLD IN A STORE: International Bazaar has opened in Centro Ybor, resurrecting Bohemian vibes not felt in Ybor City since the early 1990s.

Minds behind the bazaar hope to create a retail store that doubles as a communal hub and performance venue. It's an idealistic, almost Utopian vision.

Occupying 16,000 square feet next to Victoria's Secret, the bazaar blends the look and feel of Borders and two old Ybor haunts, the Three Birds Bookstore and Blue Chair Music.

The store functions as a bazaar, with clothing, arts and crafts, toys, food, musical instruments and other items from artists and merchants around the world. Sales people compare it to Epcot Center in Orlando.

The International Cafe and European Marketplace are scheduled to open in the back of the bazaar in the next few weeks. The cafe will feature an international food buffet and nine satellite dishes showing soccer, cricket and other sports. Breads, chocolates and cheeses will line the shelves of the European Marketplace, all organized by nationality.

Also under construction is a Venetian-style stage that will host live entertainment, poetry readings, and community dance and music classes, said bazaar co-owner Jacqueline Bon. Adjoining is a small lend-a-book, take-a-book library with a reading den of couches, chairs and TVs. Tables are provided for chess, Chinese marjon, cribbage and backgammon clubs.

The bazaar also plans to rent three screens daily at the nearby Muvico Centro Ybor 20 to show international films, Bon said.

* * *

FINALLY, A CAFE: How determined were Trish and Terence Moore to get a restaurant into their colorfully renovated building on Kennedy Boulevard?

Very. They turned their vacant storefront at 912 W Kennedy Blvd. into a ready-made restaurant, complete with tables, booths, fixtures, bathrooms and a partial kitchen. This, even after the City Council denied them permission to sell liquor.

Their persistence paid off. Algusto Tortilla and Salsa opened Monday. The stylish Mexican cafe is brought to us by recent Tampa transplants Alberto Morillo and Gustavo Bojorquez.

Morillo expects Algusto will play a significant role in the retail renaissance gradually revitalizing Kennedy just west of downtown. "I want to be part of the change," he said.

He's in synch with his landlords. They purchased the building and two others at the intersection of Kennedy and Edison in February 2001. Long vacant and dilapidated, the buildings were refurbished by the Moores, who painted them striking colors and have leased them to a host of professional and retail tenants, including a hair salon, art gallery, law and accountant offices, and an ad agency.

* * *

MORE VILLAGE EATS? A new cafe could rise in the dust of Bill McBride's campaign headquarters in Old Hyde Park Village.

Village officials are talking to prospective tenants interested in about half of the 13,000 square feet leased for McBride's campaign, general manager Pat Westerhouse says.

The other half will become a temporary sales office for Lifestyle Family Fitness, which is opening a health club across the street in the former Jacobson's building.

Westerhouse said the sales office's future neighbor could be a retail business, but "our preference would be a restaurant."

More food might be a welcome addition to the village, given the uncertain future of the Cactus Club. Co-owner Mike Shimberg said the lease for the longtime village purveyor of Southwestern cuisine ends June 30. He's unsure whether Cactus Club will remain after that.

-- Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail .


Super Bowl cookies

Sweeten your Super Bowl party with cookies from Alessi Bakery. The longtime South Tampa bakery on West Cypress Street has created hundreds of sugar cookies in honor of the big game. Large footballs with Buccaneer and Super Bowl designs sell for $1.95 each. Smaller ones with pirate faces go for $1.45. Call 879-4544.


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