An Introduction to Rome + Fig

“Together apart” is the mantra of 2020, but as businesses open back up, Rome + Fig is a new restaurant aiming to restore a sense of togetherness through the universal language of cuisine.

From the minds of Kristine and Eric Zostant, in partnership with Executive Chef Rob Scott, Rome + Fig offers guests an assortment of creative dishes such as Thai curry soup, bison meatballs and a hefty char-grilled ribeye. All dishes are made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients, on a menu that will rotate items seasonally. Rome + Fig, at 301 N. Rome Ave., is a new addition to restaurant-rich North Hyde Park in Tampa.

Melissa Santell

Rome + Fig's char grilled bone-in ribeye. 

The Zostants have occupied various positions in the restaurant business collectively for over 35 years in miscellaneous positions ranging from bar-tending to managing, but this is their first time as owners. Meanwhile, Scott has 30 years of kitchen experience to his name, having worked under locally renowned chefs such as Jason Kline and Greg Baker, according to Rome + Fig's website.

A Place to Gather

The couple have been conceptualizing their restaurant for at least four years, and in spite of the unforeseen obstacle of a global pandemic, their dream has finally come to fruition.

“We wanted to make it be part of this community,” said Kristine Zostant on their initial vision for the restaurant. This vision comes through in the design of the restaurant itself, with an open kitchen and a hand-crafted community table meant to facilitate communal eating and personal connections.

Melissa Santell

A view of the bar, open kitchen, and community table. 

Complying strictly with the new coronavirus safety parameters, including 50 percent capacity, regular sanitation and disposable menus, the couple thinks they have still managed to accomplish this goal. “We still are inviting all the neighbors to come over and kind of connect with each other,” she said.

Originally slated to open late in 2019, perhaps the delayed opening of a restaurant with such a heavy focus on community is just what the public needs in the midst of mass isolation and loneliness.

Certainly, the couple isn’t discouraged by the timing of events.

“We’re trying to stay as positive as we can while at the same time just trying to be responsible about it,” said Eric Zostant.

Go Taste for Yourself

With a soft opening as recently as July 29, the restaurant still has many surprises planned for the coming months. A pastry chef has just joined their team to bulk up the dessert menu, and an early evening and late-night happy hour has just been added. In November, there are plans to roll out a brunch menu on the weekend.

In the meantime, Rome + Fig is open for dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The lamb with creamy barley or the juicy pan-seared scallops are among the dishes that are highly recommended though, according to the couple, there is something for every palate on the menu.

Melissa Santell

Rome + Fig's pan-seared scallops. 

To get more information and to make a reservation, which is recommended, visit the Rome + Fig website, and follow them on their Instagram here to stay up to date on everything new and tasty. Or go in and see – or rather taste – for yourself.