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    Greek restaurant opens new location

    The 50-seat restaurant in New Tampa, the Louis Pappas Market and Cafe, will have some of the same dishes as its namesake.

    By SUSAN THURSTON

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001


    A Tarpon Springs restaurant famous for its Greek salad and lamb stews is opening a second location at the Oak Ramble Plaza under construction in New Tampa.

    The Louis Pappas Market and Cafe will offer many of the same favorites served at the flagship restaurant, but also will include a drive-through window and a retail section for olive oil and wine.

    Owner Louis Pappas hopes it attracts working folks from New Tampa and business people and students from the University of South Florida.

    "Tampa is in desperate need for good Greek food," he said. "We're hoping to capitalize on that."

    The cafe is one of several restaurants and small businesses slated for the soon-to-open shopping center along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Others include the Primadonna Trattoria Restaurant, the Brickyard, Jersey Mike's Subs, Pinch-A-Penny pool supplies, Salon Athena, Papa John's Pizza and a florist.

    The plaza has been on the books since the early 1980s before New Tampa's housing boom. Over the years different developers tried to build it, but they weren't able to find major tenants.

    The 29,715-square-foot center has more prospects than space, said Joe Szucs, the leasing agent.

    Construction on the $3.7-million plaza began last year and should be done later this month, he said. Tenants should move in by the middle of April. The 3.3-acre site will have 206 parking spaces.

    In keeping with the Oak Ramble theme, the developer will save the oak trees along Bruce B. Downs and add about $40,000 in landscaping. Access will be from the driveway to the Oak Ramble Apartments and the adjacent Hess gasoline station and car wash, which is also under construction.

    The shopping center and apartment complex aren't related, but will share an entrance, Szucs said. The original developer owned both properties. He expects the plaza will energize the south end of New Tampa.

    "Right now, it's very dark," he said. "We'll be like a beacon in the darkness."

    Pappas said he looks forward to opening new restaurants in Tampa. His family operated restaurants in Tampa and St. Petersburg, but closed them in 1970s. Another cafe is planned for Citrus Park near Sickles High School.

    The 50-seat restaurant in Oak Ramble will feature ready-made meals, including soups, salads, Mediterranean sandwiches, fresh seafood, desserts and pasta dishes.

    "We're in expansion mode," he said. "I can't wait to come back to Tampa."

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