The following article is an excerpt taken from Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. To read the full story, click here


The time has come and the long-awaited Italian joint Sophia’s Cucina + Enoteca officially made its debut in the ‘Burg last week, on the floor level of the Vintin Hotel at 2349 Central Ave.

Since acquiring the space in February of this year, husband-and-wife owners of Lolita’s Wine Market, Alex and Kelly Rodriguez, have been renovating what is now the latest Italian concept in St. Pete.

Initially, the duo was looking for a second location for Lolita’s, but when the Vintin space became available, they switched gears and decided to revisit Italian cuisine.

Prior to moving to the Sunshine State, the pair owned a similar concept in Ohio.

“It seemed natural to go back to our roots and focus on Italian cuisine, playing on traditional and modern dishes with a twist,” Kelly says.

But what’s the significance behind the name Sophia’s?

Like Lola, their sassy rescue who’s the inspiration behind the Lolita’s moniker, Sophie is a golden retriever/Catahoula hound mix.

The new bright concept’s aesthetic sticks to crisp yellow and blue stripes accented with heavy greenery; from “Sophia’s” elegantly transcribed in the main dining room and a succulent wall near the bar to bouquets of sunflowers and baby’s breath at every table, this may become the prime date-night spot in the ‘Burg.