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Chef closes cafe, moves a bit, reopens with revamped menu

By SHARON GINN, Times Correspondent
Published December 7, 2007


DOWNTOWN - Chef Gerard Jamgotchian still is working downtown, but just about everything else about his French bakery and cafe has changed.

Jamgotchian's Au Rendezvous has closed, due to what he calls a dispute with the landlord of his former location at 200 E Madison St.

So the chef has moved just steps away to a smaller space at 500 Tampa St., revamped his menu and dubbed the new place L'Eden.

The new restaurant, at the corner of Tampa and Madison streets, features more varied cuisine, with "a menu with more dishes from around the world, from India, Italy and France," Jamgotchian said.

The atmosphere also has changed: It's more gardenlike hence the name and features a wine bar and an atrium. It seats about 44 between the main dining area, the atrium and the bar. (His old place seated 78.)

Like Au Rendezvous, L'Eden is mainly open for lunch and light breakfasts, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. But the restaurant also is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is available for private parties.

"It's a small place, so it's very easy to fill," Jamgotchian said. "If I had enough people coming downtown, I'd be open more nights."


Wright's Gourmet House remodeling

Renovations have been ongoing at Tampa institution Wright's Gourmet House, but so far they have been entirely behind the scenes.

That's about to change. Owner Jeffrey Mount said the deli and cafe is close to beginning the second phase of the renovation of its building at 1200 S Dale Mabry at the corner of Watrous Avenue.

Phase one involved connecting the two main parts of the building with a big corridor and improving storage space. Now Wright's soon will be "moving on to the stuff that people actually get to see," Mount said. "We're going to reconfigure the entire front of the house."

Mount said he is reluctant to provide details of the plans pending final approval from the city, which will have much to do with the number of parking spaces Wright's can provide. The deli will probably have at least a few more seats, he said, but more noticeably, the dining area will be rearranged and updated.

"We moved into that part of the space 19 years ago," Mount said. "We're well overdue for ... cleaning it up and making it all pretty again. We'll be bringing it a little more up to date. It's going to be great for the next 25 years.

"At that point," Mount added with a laugh, "I'll be 72 and it will be one of (my) kids' problems."

Mount said the dining area will not have to close, and customers will not be affected during the renovations, which could start early next month. Hours will remain the same: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 to 4 on Saturday.

New sweet spot on Dale Mabry

Former public relations executive Nicole Rogers has traded in press releases for pastries. The former principal owner of Tampa's Rogers Group is expected to open the Cupcake Spot this week, a 900-square-foot storefront across from a built-in customer base: Plant High School.

The shop, at 2401 S Dale Mabry Highway, Suite B, will offer a variety of cupcakes, from chocolate with butter-cream frosting to more unusual fare like banana cake and carrot cake. Customers can take out or eat in, or place large orders for parties or corporate events.

Rogers won a Girl Scouts bake-off contest in third grade with her special chocolate cupcake recipe. From then on, "I was hopelessly hooked on cupcakes and on how happy they make everyone who eats them," Rogers said in a press release.

The Cupcake Spot will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday.

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


The Find


Wrap her, pamper her, in pheasant and ostrich feathers fluttering on a bleached American raccoon cape by Cassin New York. The sophisticated design costs $1,235 at Zoey Bloom boutique in the Carriage Trade Plaza, 1710 S Dale Mabry, where you'll also find handbags, jewelry, shoes, belts and other elegant designs. Call 333-9104.

Amy Scherzer


[Last modified December 6, 2007, 07:29:20]

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