Pane Rustica Evolves: Versatility, Popularity Drive Expansion In South Tampa

When Kevin and Karyn Kruszewski moved to Tampa in 1997 to open their business, they envisioned a bakery patterned after Boston's Clear Flour. Thirteen years later, they are expanding their current space at 3225 South MacDill Avenue to accommodate a bar, lounge and private dining area for their Tampa restaurant, Pane Rustica Bakery and Cafe.

The couple acquired 2,300 square feet when the business next door downsized its space. About 1,000 square feet will be a bar/lounge area and 1,000 will be for private dining," says Kevin. "We're adding a total of about 100 seats," adds Karen.

The target for opening the new space is June. "With construction, it's a moving target," Karyn says.

The Kruszewskis say the expansion allows more versatility for their restaurant. "The two spaces will work really well together," says Karyn. "The space can be closed and used for private dining or be opened to the existing dining area to address overflow," Kevin adds.

Karyn explains that the additional space will have flat panel televisions that surround the room for business-lunch PowerPoint presentations or to catch the latest weekend college game. "But by no means do we want to become a sports bar," Kevin says. "After researching a lot of other high end restaurants with the same demographic as us, we found that it's nice to have the option. We're also really big on lighting and sound, so lighting will be a big element, too."

According to the Kruszewskis, versatility has always been a hallmark of their business. "When we opened in July 1999, I thought we'd be a bakery, but everyone wanted their bread sliced," Kevin says. "And they liked the pastries, but they wanted sandwiches. Sandwiches led to salads, salads led to pizza, which led to all the other changes in the menu. I like to call it culinary Darwinism."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Kevin and Karyn Kruszewski, Pane Rustica
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