Drawing some 2,000 residents to its festivities, the 2009 Brandon Business Expo & Taste of Brandon was a success, electing Giordano’s of Brandon and Sweetie’s Delights as its winners.
In its 21st year, Brandon Business Expo & Taste of Brandon played host to a multitude of businesses, with contestants Beef ‘O’Brady’s at Best Western, Bob Evans,
Buffalo Wild Wings, The Catering Company & Oakfield Café, 3 C’s Catering/Cheddar’s Casual Café, Chick-fil-A at Lake Brandon Village, Cork & Olive, Costco Wholesale, GFS Marketplace, Giordano’s of Brandon, Hooters, Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs, Italian Kitchen Cafe, Jaymer-Que Southern BBQ & Catering, Land & Sea Market, LeeAnn’s Old Fashioned Cookies, Mango’s at Embassy Suites, Mimi’s Café, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Ms. Cyndi’s Catering Co. & Corner Café, Planet Smoothie, Publix Supermarkets, Bakeries & Deli, Red Rose Inn & Suites, Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium, Shane’s Rib Shack, Sinigual Mexican Cuisine, Sweetie’s Delights, Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant, Tio’s Bakery & Kitchen, Tres Amigos Cantina and Zaxby’s.
Hosted by the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce in May, the event was held at the Florida State Fairgrounds with 200 vendors and 34 restaurants onsite. Best Booth went to both the Italian Kitchen Café, located at 6915 S. U.S. Hwy. 301 in Riverview, and Mid-America Apartment Communities in Tampa in the form of a tie.
Those residents who came out to sample the fare were given the chance to rate the contestants for the title of the Best Taste of Brandon and the Best Dessert Taste of Brandon.
Giordano’s of Brandon, located at 11310 Causeway Blvd., took claim of the Best Taste of Brandon designation, with 3 C’s Catering/Cheddar’s Casual Café, located at 11135 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon, coming in as runner-up. Giordano’s Manager Brenda Crawford states, “Having come in second place last year, we said this year we were going to win it. It was a very exciting thing for all of us, from management to our busboy…everyone has done 100 percent in quality work. This is the type of thing you get back in return.” She mentions that the event has brought many newcomers to the restaurant as well and attributes the win to the restaurant’s loyal customers, saying, “Our customers really came through for us.”
Those with a sweet tooth nominated Best Dessert Taste of Brandon as Sweetie’s Delights, with Publix Supermarkets, Bakeries & Deli accepting runner-up. Located at 1050 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, this is the bakery’s second year in a row receiving the honor. Co-owner Karen Gramlich said, “We weren’t really surprised,” about winning, adding, “It was pretty cool to put that much time and work into it and get recognized for it. We are very grateful and thankful.” Known for its Whippy Dip secret family recipe, the bakery recently celebrated its one year anniversary in April. In regard to the business’ first win, Gramlich adds, “It’s definitely impacted our business, big time.” But this local doesn’t let it get to her head, knowing that the bakery’s loyal customers always had the family-owned business’ wellbeing at heart.
The event’s sponsors included: Bright House Networks, Renaissance Consulting & Development, LLC, Brandon Regional Hospital, Metro PCS, Tranquility Lake Apartment Homes, TECO Energy, Gentle Dental, Iguana Graphics, Railroad Industrial Federal Credit Union, The Brandon News & Tribune/The Tampa Tribune, WFLA and Radio Mas Que Musica.
For more information, contact Jamie Reid with the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, located at 330 Pauls Dr., Ste. 100, in Brandon, at 689-1221, ext. 8843, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call Sweetie’s Delights at 662-5671, Giordano’s at 655-2828, Italian Kitchen Café at 671-0953 and Mid-America Apartment Communities at 961-5600.