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Dio Modern Mediterranean brings that region to Downtown Tampa

It all started from a simple IG DM. The folks at Dio Modern Mediterranean got in touch with me and wanted to set up an interview to talk. Of course, I’m always down for a quick chat. I met up with owner Mary Khabbaz last week to learn more about the story of Dio Modern Mediterranean and how it’ll cover the entire Mediterranean region and not just one area. Prior to Dio, Mary and her husband Joe ran their previous sandwich bar Paninoteca in the same location. What started as just a simple remodel got their creative juices flowing and they made the decision to switch things up a bit with a new menu and restaurant.

Here’s an excerpt from Dio’s article in Creative Loafing:

“Who could’ve predicted that a menu update would result in a new restaurant? Not owners Mary and Joe Khabbaz of Dio Modern Mediterranean, formerly known as downtown Tampa panini spot Paninoteca.

Initially, the Khabbazes’ plan was to remodel the more-than-a-decade-old Paninoteca and expand its bill of fare at 519 N. Franklin St. But the couple decided to go in a different direction after they gained some extra space by taking over the building next door, where a Thai eatery last operated.

“We want to bring a full, authentic Mediterranean concept into Tampa,” Mary says. “Usually people think ‘Greek,’ but we’re going to focus on the entire region, so we’ll have items from the Middle East and Italy, too.”

Going from 1,300 square feet to 2,500, Dio expects to launch in early February. A soft opening is in the works for friends and family, which will allow Joe and Mary to iron out the kinks, and a public grand opening should take place the following week.

To read more about Dio Modern Mediterranean, click here to read the rest of the story. What’s your favorite Mediterranean food?