Petra Restaurant will bring its Middle-Eastern cuisine to South and West Tampa within the next month
It will be the third location for owner Ayman Saed, who operates two other Petra
restaurants in Temple Terrace and New Tampa.
The new location is directly across from the University of Tampa
's lacrosse field in a vacant two-story building at 1118 W. Kennedy Blvd. The spot has been home to several bars and restaurants including the Pachyderm Wing Company.
"I'm trying to tap into the many people here who want Middle Eastern food," says Saed. "I've never found the right location until now."
New businesses, restaurants and expansion plans by UT and Tampa General Hospital are sparking renewed commercial interest in this stretch of Kennedy from Ashley Drive to Howard Avenue. Downtown and North Hyde Park also are bringing in new residents who want more shopping and dining options.
Re-modeling began about three weeks ago. Saed hopes to open by the end of May.
There will be indoor seating as well as an outdoor patio and something not found at Saed's other restaurants - a hookah lounge. On some evenings patrons will be able to enjoy live Middle Eastern music. The second floor will be available to rent for parties or other special events. There are no plans at this time to sell alcohol.
The New Tampa restaurant has been open about a year on Preserve Walk Lane in the Tampa Palms' neighborhood. The Temple Terrace restaurant, at 4812 E. Busch Blvd., opened about eight years ago.
The restaurant and an adjacent convenience store were damaged in a fire more than two years ago.
Saed says he was touched by the number of patrons who wanted to see the restaurant re-opened. In the end, he rebuilt and expanded Petra, opting to forego the store. And, he began searching for his third restaurant location.
The menu at the Kennedy Boulevard restaurant will be similar to the other locations with soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and platters with selections including chicken shawarma and lamb kebabs. There also will be hummus, falafel and Baba ghanoush. And, daily chef specials will be offered including on some days, mansaf, a traditional lamb dish.