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'Hyper local watering hole' plans February opening in Riverview

RIVERVIEW — Jillian and KJ Lynch are craft beer lovers who also happen to be a bit crafty.

The couple met at World of Beer while Jillian was attending Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. They were married at Tampa's Coppertail Brewing Co. in April 2016.

Jillian, a creative former teacher and frequent visitor to Pinterest, and KJ a former head brewer at Fort Myers Brewing Company who also brewed countless gallons of craft beer at Lakeland's Brew Hub, combine their talents to open Leaven Brewing in Riverview next month.

They currently are finishing renovations that have taken more than six months to the former 3 Brothers BBQ at 11238 Boyette Road and plan a grand opening celebration Feb. 16.

"We want to be the hyper local watering hole," said KJ, who learned many of his carpentry skills while working for his general contractor dad in his native Fort Myers. "Kind of like a modern Cheers where everybody knows your name."

The Lynches literally are revamping the 4,000 square foot location from the resurfaced floor to a herringbone wall and everything in between to espouse an industrial vibe, including the bar that is poured from concrete and includes a tad of Jai-Alai Beer dripped in during the curing process

"I keep calling this a handcrafted tap room because I am 100 percent certain my hands have touched every inch of this place from the floor to the ceiling along with KJ," said Jillian, who is from Brick, N.J.

The name of the brew pub stems from the Greek word "Leaven" (rhymes with Heaven) and it means a transformative substance that changes things for the better. Hence the Lynches plan to transform grain for the better.

They plan to brew up to 155 gallons at a time and keep five flagship offerings in bright beer cooling tanks: a blonde ale, Kolsch, IPA, red ale and oatmeal stout. The brew pub also will rotate five seasonal brews.

Leaven Brewing has no immediate plans to distribute what they brew onsite, so you will need to visit the bar to get a taste. There will be a patio out front and food trucks visiting in the back.

Opening hours to start will be 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

See some of the build out and get more information on the grand opening that will feature food trucks and live music by visiting

New owners freshen New York Diner Valrico

VALRICO — The New York Diner Valrico started the new year with new owners, a slightly new name and a hodge podge of improvements.

Manny and Chelsea Santos bought the diner from Chelsea's mom, Laurie Conover, effective Jan. 1, and at 6 a.m., they started the renovations. The decor changes include new booths, paint, shelves, window mirrors, wood paneling and overall rustic (shabby chic) décor.

Behind the scenes, the couple completed a licensed deep clean, added a new copper plated waffle machine, new utensils and dish products.

New menu items include chicken and waffles, free pancakes on your birthday and a fried French toast burger with a 1-pound patty. Look for vegan, gluten free and healthy options in February.

Exterior improvements are in the plans for the diner that opens daily at 7 a.m. and is located at 2126 Jelane Drive, just off State Road 60 next to Dunkin Donuts. Law enforcement officers, military personnel and firefighters who come in uniform get free coffee and 10 percent off their entire meal.

"Once people try us, we will do what we can to have them come back," said Manny, 26. "We are hoping Guy Fieri (the host of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives") gets a whiff of us."

For more information, visit

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'Hyper local watering hole' plans February opening in Riverview 01/12/18 [Last modified: Friday, January 12, 2018 11:46am]
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