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Tammy Guicciardini began her restaurant career as a “scooper” at a Friendly’s ice cream shop in New York and is now owner of the new Tammy’s Eatery and Sub Shop on U.S. 19 near Sugarmill Woods.
Scooping ice cream into cones and sundaes was just the start of a couple of decades of apprentice work at both casual and upscale restaurants for Guicciardini, who now offers her own unique menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Unique” could define her youth. She said food was always an important part of her childhood due to her “bubbe,” her Polish-born grandmother who made sure gefilte fish and matzo were in the pantry and kept a strict Kosher kitchen.
Her grandmother also worked for a time as a waitress in resorts in the Catskill Mountains, and her grandfather tried his luck in silent films for a short spell, she said.
After her grandmother passed away, her Russian-born grandfather’s taste for a wider food range was the rule and her mother evolved as a vegetarian, she noted.
The menu at Tammy’s reflects her exposure to variety and is presented a la carte so patrons can create their own meal preferences, Guicciardini said. Calorie content is also listed on most items along with the weight of food in ounces.
She explained the method is designed “to keep it affordable and to give people a choice in building their own meals. Sometimes people just want the entrée and sometimes just the vegetables or just a baked potato.”
For example, one can order an 8-ounce pork tenderloin, breaded or not, for $3.85. There is a wide choice of sides including mashed sweet potato with or without brown sugar for $2; stuffing with or without gravy, $2.25 or $2.75; yellow rice with or without beans, $2.25 or $3; gnocchi with alfredo sauce or red sauce, $2.60; tri-color pasta, $2.25; and baked potato with butter and sour cream, $3.
You can add vegetables the same way, such as steamed broccoli and cauliflower in a three-cheese sauce, $2.50; mini corn on the cob, plain or with seasoned butter sauce, $1.25 or $1.75; and fried or sauteed mushrooms or zucchini, $3.25 or $4.25; and soup or salad du jour (prices vary).
Bread choices include plain or garlic bread sticks, biscuits, dinner rolls and mini loafs of Italian or whole wheat.
Other entrée choices are beef, chicken breast, swaii (fish) and pork chop, and the entrées vary come in 8- and 10-ounce sizes with prices to match.
The menu really gets innovative with the sandwiches. To describe a few, there is a meatloaf and seasoned mashed potato sub with with a side of beef gravy, $7.95; fried spaghetti sub with mini meatballs and Mozzarella cheese and side of red sauce, $7.95; and the Billy Ray sub with beef or chicken or both with sauteed or raw onions with choice of cheese and a layer of mushrooms crisp bacon, $8.95.
Why the meals-on-bread theme? Guicciardini said the idea evolved when she fixed a lot of food for her children and their friends, pairing entrees with sandwich bread. The items were so popular, she noted, they went on the menu.
There are traditional subs, too, such as Cuban, Philly’s and chicken parmesan and five six-ounce “Monster Burger” varieties, ranging from $4.95 to $6.95 for the stuffed style with blue cheese and bacon crumble with favorite condiments.
A highlight in the list of appetizers are the fried mushrooms, a lightly battered taste treat, seasoned perfectly.
Breakfast offers dozens of traditional choices, also priced ala carte for most items so you can create your own scramble and omelets, plus breakfast sandwiches, country ham and biscuits, sausage gravy, burritos, muffins, waffles, pancakes and Texas French toast.
It was emphasized that all potato dishes are made from scratch, including the breakfast hash browns, home fries and potatoes O’Brien.
Beverages at Tammy’s include coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks, beer and wine. Homemade cheesecakes are on the dessert list.
Tammy’s seats 62 customers at tables and at a counter, offers free Wi Fi, delivery and a catering service. Service is prompt and friendly and all special requests are considered.
Tammy’s Eatery and Sub Shop is located in Sweetwater Plaza on South U.S. 19 (7781 South Suncoast Boulevard) just north of Sugarmill Woods. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For information and delivery call 352-503-2046.
Here is a recipe shared by Guicciardini:
TAMMY’S CHICKEN PARMESAN
Pound three chicken breasts evenly. Leave loaf of Italian bread open in package overnight and toast in oven the next morning. Use food processor or crush bread in a bag after seasoning to taste with dried Italian seasoning.
Mix three eggs with milk and salt and pepper to taste (similar to a French toast batter). Dip chicken breasts into egg mix and then into 1/2 cup of prepared bread crumbs; brown on both side in about 1/2 inch of Canola oil. When brown, place in pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and add marinara sauce of choice and sprinkle with abuot 5 ounces Mozzarella cheese and return to oven until cheese melts and slightly browns.