Monday, July 30, 2007

Ybor Pizza - Resurrected

"News of my death is greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain

When Ybor Pizza closed, my neighbor and original owner of the restaurant told me, "It may come back."

True to his word, Copa Cobana on Nebraska Ave. is back in his hands as of last weekend and he's been quick to turn it around and prepare it for business. Down came the beautiful yellow/red flame paintings on the glass windows touting "The Best Wings in Town." Gone went the matching yellow outside walls.

We on the blog, expect no apologies from people like Alex Zayas (reporter - St. Pete Times), who skewed the neighborhood for our take on businesses like Copa Cabana; transforming our opposition of shady local establishments into a racial issue. Still, if not an apology - some sort of wink of acknowledgement would be nice if the rumor holds true that Copa's owner packed it up in the middle of the night and skipped out on his two leases (the other place being on Florida Ave.). If it's confirmed the owner just took all he could from the neighborhood and ran - disappearing when real people/employees (and likely families) are depending on him for a wage - I believe it unfortunately justifies our initial concerns.

In the end the neighborhood as a whole not only perseveres - we win! Seminole Heights might have been changed in the minds of some outsiders due to yellow journalism, but as neighbors we know we have many things to be proud of: Diversity, acceptance, beautiful homes, great people, a growing trend for neighborhood serving businesses, and once again the best damn pizza trifecta in Tampa Bay: Cappy's, Stephanno's and Ybor Pizza.

Note: As for what's to become of the Florida Ave. location, I do not know. However, I did see it still seemingly open for business on Saturday.

16 comments:

Mal Carne said...

Awesome! I like Stephanno's re-incarnation and Cappy's is good in a pinch, but my particular taste is for Ybor. Happy to have them back.

IFly said...

Oh gee, not another pizza joint. Welcome back Ybor, but, honestly, I'd rather have seen something else. I guess since they were here first they get a pass, but more pizza isn't really an improvement either unless you have a fondness for that particular pie like Mal.(I know, we're never happy are we?) I tried Ybor and was not impressed, but to each, his/her own. For us we're anxiously awaiting the soon-to-open Bungalow Bistro.

anonaMISS said...

This is great news. Maybe now they will clean up the store front and respect the neighborhood. Hopefully, the new paint is a new sign. I miss the awesome wings.

Mal Carne said...

ifly,
If you're really looking for something different, you can always try my service hint hint j/k
It is something besides pizza in the neighborhood.

Michelle said...

I'm VERY excited to have Ybor Pizza back, just so that Copa's is gone. The food at Copa's was horrible. IFly instead of looking at "another pizza joint" opening, look at how diffrent all 3 are. Cappy's is the place to hang out, have a beer and a slice while you play pinball; Stephanno's is the place to get creative pies (I personally like the Pesto Chicken and AWESOME Calazones); and Ybor is the place to get straight NY slices for little money not tomention "Good As Hell Wings".
Welcome back Ybor!

Torgo said...

Yup -- agree on most the positive counts there. Also, seeing this is the original owner and not the owner just prior to it's last demise, I have great confidence he'll get Ybor Pizza back and up to par as everyone likes to see.

On another note, it seems the owner of the two Copa's not only ran out on the Nebraska Ave. location's lease, but inflated the books on the Florida Ave. location and sold it to some poor, unsuspecting guy. Now, of course, that guy has realized there is about zero clientele and his purchase was a pig in a poke.

Further word is the orginal Copa owner owns some tire shops up and down Nebraska Ave. and is a con artist. As a persoan who has written for scores of newspapers, I find it difficult to understand why some local reporters (K. Steele certainly excluded) can't scratch through the surface to find these things out before they are write their stories.

IFly said...

I wholeheartedly agree that if it's the original Ybor it's a definite improvement over Copa. It just seemed a lack of variety is what we all were decrying, and another style/brand of pizza just isn't a huge improvement in choices. Mal, we might take you up on that one of these days, particularly since we're right around the corner from you. We're really seeking some place in the neighborhood, where, in the evening, we can go sit down and eat, a place that's consistent and clean with a friendly atmosphere. I failed to mention that I also hope the sports bar on Nebraska comes to fruition as well.

Torgo said...

iFly, I hear ya, but I also don't think 3 pizza joints ('cause I don't count Domino's) is comparable to the shear volume of Hispanic restaurants up and down Florida, Nebraska and surrounding arteries. However, if we all of a suddenly do have a rash of pizza shop openings, I'll certainly join you on your point.

Besides the sports bar and Bungalow Bistro, we also have Ella's to look forward to; although its May groundbreaking has been a bit delayed. (Reportedly, in part, due to some extotion tactics by the owner of the adjacent property.)

I hope that works out soon.

Mal -- remind me on your deal? I didn't get the hint.

Mal Carne said...

Here's a link:
http://www.cooksncompany.com

Watch for articles coming out in the Times and Trib about us Fri. and Saturday, respectively.

Michelle said...

Just stopped over at Ybor Pizza to see when the Grande (and I do mean Grande) Opening would be. TOMMORROW!!!!!!! And yes, it is the original owner, the guy who started it all, way back in Ybor City. He and his crew are spiffying up the place and its also his orginal crew! They offered to make me a pizza there on the spot! But I said I would wait until the "regular" society had there chance too. The owner is very excited to back in business. We spoke for quite sometime. He said this time, he's learned from his hiring mistakes in the past. I have a feeling we will see a lot more of him in the joint. Which is great because he's like our very own Willie Nelson, jokes and all! I'll be at Ybor Pizza and Subs as soon as it opens ....hmmmmmm...spinach pizza....hmmmmmm......pepperoni.....hmmmmmm......

oystermafia said...

In 1998, it was Nicko's and the Lunch Box...few others....to open on the Hooker Highway and Transvestite Trail (Nebraska) was daring if not downright foolish. Every other street had a crack house....Ybor Pizza supported activities and supplied food to Broward Elementary, Hillsborough High, Middleton, Memorial and Villa Madonna, SESCHA, WMNF sometimes at little or no cost.It took care of Dave Roosa, Big Chris and others who passed. The place bent over backwards to support Independent Resources, Sid's Lock and Key, AA Casey, Kroslak and other local businesses, preferring to keep the money in the 'hood. The staff reached out to Merino's, Rigo's, Starbucks. It caters to the poor, the black, the Hispanic, the disaffected without prejudice nor malice, and yes, even the snooty yuppie yahoos who would like the whole world to be upscale fast food with no soul. That the neighborhood has risen from decay to a nicer place to live is to be reveled and celebrated. To all the folks so full of themselves, the world is a cooking pot of many flavors and you should enjoy the diversity and aroma of the neighborhood instead of pissing in the pot.

IFly said...

I can only assume the last comment was aimed in my general direction, since I'm the only one to have spoken out with anything other than positive remarks. Perhaps the commenter is unfamiliar with the topic, perhaps you're merely taking the opportunity to cast barbs. The post itself referenced how the neighborhood was experiencing a trend leading to a lack of variety, only the direction was toward Spanish-style cuisine so it made for good hype in the local paper because of the racist angle. Ask yourselves this, if a pizza joint other than Ybor(for which there is obvious emotional attachment for some) were to be going in the same location would the reaction be positive because it's not another Spanish place, but is yet more pizza? Certainly, the reopening of a neighborhood icon is a little different than say Mike's Pizza Dive, but it still does not solve the dilemma of few dining choices in the neighborhood nor bring us any closer to this diversity and aroma you herald.

David said...

OK, you say spiffing up the place. How the hell can that dump be spiffed up in 5 days! I am so freaking tired of them disrespecting the neighborhood. This time, I will not give them a dollar, I will not support them! They are constantly doing this. Why can't our neighborhood get decent business that will fix themselves up, be clean and stop the makeshift bullcrap. I saw that the restaurant that is building is going through red tape with the city. How can Ybor continually open within days and have no city BS to go through. As someone that lives on this street, Quite frankly, I am tired of looking at the mess on the corner. PLEASE clean up and help the neighborhood.

KGMan said...

David, if you're so tired of the mess pick up a broom and do something about it. You're pretty negative, man. I get the sneaking suspicion that you would sooner complain than act. You're negativity effect others.

IFly said...

Mal and Michelle,
Caught the Trib article today, it was great! I hope it prompts a lot of interest in your venture and wish you the best of luck and success.

Mal Carne said...

Thanks for the kind words.