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Everybody's Business

Restaurant dishing up Colombian fare

Formerly Taino's Cafe, the Monserrate bets on Bogota's mountain of charm and cuisine.

By MICHAEL CANNING
Published June 30, 2006


It's like a Tampa native moving to Bogota, Colombia, and opening a restaurant called the Minarets.

Juan Sanchez's new restaurant Monserrate pays tribute to the universal icon of his native city.

Monserrate is a mountain in the center of Bogota. The Monserrate restaurant is a small cafe at 2311 W Hillsborough Ave., formerly Taino's Cafe, just east of Armenia Avenue.

Sanchez and business partner David Prinez have shifted Taino's Puerto Rican take on Latin American cuisine toward Colombia.

They've also done away with the steam tables, brought in table service, new furniture and decor, and renovated the building's long-neglected dining porch.

Like Taino's, Monserrate delves beyond the usual beans-rice-roast pork fare that dominates local Latin menus. Items include ceviche served with sizzling vegetables and garlic sauce, a variety of mofongo combinations, steamed tilapia, and cabrito guisado. They also make fruit juices with lulo, guanabana, papaya and mango.

There's also beer and wine. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

STATIONERY SQUARE STATIONARY: Veteran businesses at Old Hyde Park Village are becoming more scarce every day.

Stationery Square closed early this month after more than 13 years.

Owner Sheila Kopelman had been trying to sell the business for several weeks, but her husband's ongoing health issues prompted her to close it.

Kopelman said she's still negotiating to sell. One way or another, Kopelman's lease was set to expire Wednesday.

Kopelman and her husband plan to retire to Decatur, Ga., to be near family.

COLD TREATS RETURN: Suddenly Seminole Heights has become a decent place for something cold and sweet. Bo's Ice Cream remains a decades-old fixture on Florida Avenue. Starbucks recently opened at Hillsborough and Central avenues.

And a few weeks ago, Sno Biz Treat Center opened inside a former Dairy Queen at 1045 E Hillsborough Ave.

Sno Biz owners Eric and Cindi Postell offer 100 flavors of milk shakes, including watermelon, mango and kiwi, and 20 flavors of cotton candy. Tired of pink or blue? They've got green apple and coconut.

The shop also has soft-serve ice cream, shaved ice, fruit smoothies, iced coffee drinks, fresh-squeezed lemonade, flavored iced teas, sundaes, banana splits, and root beer floats.

The Dairy Queen, which dated to the 1950s, closed in 2000. Its two walkup windows are back in use. Sno Biz has some outdoor tables, and the owners hope to add a drive-through by the fall.

The Postells are franchisees for the Minnesota-based Sno Biz and have Sno Biz concession carts at Lowry Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Hillsborough location is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3394.

 

Grand old flag and antique doll

Collectors, patriots and treasure hunters can celebrate a grand Fourth of July with a 48-star flag and early 1900s doll found at Jezebelle's, 4303 W El Prado Blvd. Each sells for $145. Stop by and explore artwork and artifacts of every era. Call 837-1708.

- AMY SCHERZER

[Last modified June 29, 2006, 10:57:04]


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