By Aubrianna Gholar
Eric and Kristine Zostant had been working in the restaurant business for twenty years before they decided they wanted to open a business in Tampa.
“We fell in love with the people and the weather and knew Tampa would be a good fit for us,” said Kristine.
They opened Rome and Fig six months ago in the mists of the COVID-19 pandemic. They started taking steps to open a business four years ago, but narrowed down the location and concept two years ago. The name Rome derived from being located on the corner of N. Rome Ave and W. Fig St.
To maintain cleanliness, Rome and Fig currently offer sanitation stations, spaced apart tables, single-use menus and they ensure customers are wearing masks. They are still able to have almost full capacity while maintaining COVID-19 guidelines. The Zostants state there was a decrease in Super Bowl attendees this year compared to 2009, however the restaurant gained attraction among visitors who were attending the NFL Experience.
The first week Rome and Fig opened, construction started on Rome Avenue as part of Tampa’s Stormwater Improvements Project. “It’s harder for people to find us, get to us, creates a lot of dust and impacts our parking,” said Eric.
Rome and Fig offer free parking in their lot and there is additional parking on the streets nearby.
Average prices for happy hours appetizers run from $7 to $9, beers are half price and cocktails are $6. Bunch will run you around $15 dollars and $10 for a cocktail. For a full dinner including appetizers, salad, entrees and drinks, the average price will be around $60 per person.
Rome and Fig offer both an early and a late night happy hour. Early hour happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, Wednesday through Sunday. Late night happy hours are 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Their target demographic includes ages 25 to 40. However, with all of the apartment buildings nearby, they have seen an increase in college students coming in for brunch.
For college students on a budget, the owners recommend coming in for happy hour for your cocktails and getting ribs, chicken wings and crab cakes or trying anything on the bunch menu such as chicken and waffles, lemon ricotta pancakes. If you are wanting an entree, they recommend risotto (which comes as a vegetarian dish but you can add chicken, shrimp, or salmon) or their soy sauce marinated chicken breast with rice and edamame.
The menu is constantly changing as season change, holidays approach, and every three to four months they swap out a few items on the menu to align with what produce is in season.
Rome and Fig is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. – 12 a.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. for bunch, then 4 p.m. -12 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for bunch, and again 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Rome and Fig provide directions with the detours from construction on their website from I-275, Kennedy Blvd and Selmon Crosstown.