By Marie Gilmore
Date nights are back in town with the re-grand-opening of the weekend, intimate, live-jazz dinner restaurant, Della’s After Dark. Owner Beverly Dellagrotta was reluctant to give the concept of the nighttime dining experience another try after closing twice previously. But when Chef Wesley Roderick returned to town after having trained with her son, Alex, the original chef of the concept, a nighttime spin-off of Beverly’s successful breakfast and lunch cafe for 25 year’s, Della’s Delectables, she decided to give it another shot.
This time, Chef Roderick is returning after three years working in top restaurants in Spain. The young, dynamic chef started by training with Alex at Della’s at the age of 16 and has returned seasoned from world travel and ready to be near family and to cook by leading the team at Della’s After Dark.
The menu, available Friday and Saturday nights, shows hints of his Spanish experience and offers excellent flavors. Selections are always subject to change but include homemade breads and pastas, a cured meats platter with house-made pickles, grilled pork chop with bacon lardon, peas and beans and shrimp and grits served with Gulf shrimp, fried grits and salsa verde.
During the week, the cafe is open for breakfast and lunch with fresh sandwiches, salads, and soups. Then, on Thursday afternoons, in comes chef Roderick to prepare for his Price Fixe Thursday menu offering choice of two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts, served with two glasses of house wine for $25 per person.
Fridays and Saturdays, he offers his best locally-grown ingredients and a seasonal menu. Local farms and producers are proudly displayed on the back of the menu.
Currently, they are using The Wild Guava Nursery (Plant City), Jessica’s Organic Farm (Sarasota), Live Oak Organics (Brooksville), Full Circle Farms (Live Oak) and Peaceful Pastures Farm (Zephyrhills).
Della’s has hired a marketing firm to plan a rebranding of the cafe and bistro concept, to book the live music-typically jazz-offered Friday and Saturday nights and is revamping its website and Facebook Page. The restaurant, now named Della’s Cafe and Bistro, is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and for fine dining Thursday through Saturdays from 5-10 p.m. The restaurant is located at 608 Oakfield Dr. For reservations, call 684-3354.