A Look at The Lime… Past and Present

November 9, 2012

Recently we covered the fact that The Lime is going to be renamed by one lucky winning Facebook Fan. If you check out the post, you’ll see I had to use some (gasp!) stock photos — and let’s be honest, in the food blogger community, the use of stock imagery is frowned upon more than eating at the drive-thru of KFC.

So it seemed this week was high time I made a visit to The Lime and put my journalistic hat on to tell the story of the rebranding of this South Tampa staple.  Ok, truth be told, I love to dine out — and The Lime has some really great, creative, Mexican-inspired dishes, so this was a good excuse to go out to dinner with Megan.

But while I was there, I figured I’d take the opportunity to get the low-down on the name change details for you TT readers, straight from the horses’ mouths – while I stuffed my own with some tableside guacamole, chips and a signature margarita. So I asked owner Matt Lanza and manager extraordinaire, Jordan Warshavsky a few questions.

 Lime

           Tableside guac, signature margarita

tuna lime  Super Tuna Bomb

Light, citrusy fresh and delicious, I loved this tuna appetizer, which has lemon pepper crusted tuna with jicama-mango salsa, avocado, plantain chips and sriracha aioli.  After enjoying a few bites, it was time to get into the Q&A…

Tasting Tampa: You must have a lot of trust in your Facebook fans to rename your restaurant. Tell us why you chose to go that route?

Matt: Our customers are really what make us who we are, so what better way to pick the name that fits us.

Jordan: The very essence of our success is tied to our ambiance and, to be honest, our ambiance is created by our patrons.  What better way to say thank you and integrate our greatest asset than by giving them the opportunity to express what they think our brand should be?   We may have been a little late to the game in embracing technology… but now we recognize Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms as direct line of contact between our guests and us.

Good answers, guys. The Lime really “gets” social media and how important it is to connect with their customers. Next up was my favorite item of the night.

tuna bowl

Sesame Crusted Rare Tuna Fiesta Bowl

Along with perfectly seared tuna, this had pickled onions, diced mango and cucumbers, cilantro and avocado over brown rice and sriracha aioli.

Tasting Tampa: So what kind of response in the contest have you seen so far? Any top name contenders yet?

Jordan: The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of entries just in the first few days.  There may or may not be a “few” that have really piqued our interest… but officially, I can’t say.  Top secret and all…

Matt: Yes, we have some favorites, but they will not be disclosed until the name unveiling party, and we will announce those details to come soon on Facebook and Twitter.

 Empanada

Homemade empanada, stuffed with buffalo chicken

What’s that on the side you ask? A stick of deep fried celery.  This certainly was not the healthiest option on the table, but a fun novelty item to share – (and a reason for me to hit the 5:45 a.m. spin class the next morning!) Healthy eaters, don’t be deterred – The Lime’s menu has plenty of tasty low-carb, low fat,  high-protein, options to fit any diet regimen.

Tasting Tampa: When the name changes, will the menu change?

Jordan: Our menu is always evolving.  Our Executive Chef and partner, Luis Flores, is part Chef, part mad scientist and part weekend tinkerer.  We are always tasting something new and different… and more often than not, he hits it out of the park.  If you want to know what we are thinking for menu additions… take a look out our weekly specials, they serve as a proving ground for some of Chef’s best ideas.  We combine bright and unique flavors, traditionally Mexican street fare and the healthier lifestyle that more and more of our guests are opting for.  Look for more gluten-free options, healthier grains (i.e quinoa) and an emphasis in locally sourced ingredients in the future.

What is the inspiration behind The Lime’s menu?

Matt: Our mother is Mexican and we grew up eating Mexican food. My brother Steve and I always loved traditional Mexican food, but also wanted something we can eat every day, something healthier and lighter, and our menu reflects that.

It certainly does. The Street Trio Tacos we tried next were a highlight of the night.

tacos

 The Street Trio Tacos

We tried one of each — a steak, a shrimp and a chicken. The fillings were very flavorful and while I’m not usually a fan of hard shell tacos, these were homemade and served as a nice, crunchy vehicle for the taco goodness within.

And finally, the desserts….

churros

Churritos

 Churros in a bananas foster sauce with vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with cinnamon.

 flan

Homemade flan with whipped cream

A sweet ending to an awesome meal. One lucky Facebook Fan will experience a sweet ending of their own, because whoever’s suggested name is chosen will win $1,000 gift card to be used at any of the Ciccio’s Restaurant Group’s locations: that means The Lime, Ciccio’s & Water, The Lodge. And yes, I did say $1,000. Do you have a name in mind that reflects “Fun, Modern, Mexican?” Then get on it and enter to win! ~Lauren

How YOU Can Enter to Rename The Lime and Win a $1,000 Gift Card:

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