BENTO Asian Kitchen opens near USF Tampa this September


Concepts continue to grow in the Tampa Bay region. The latest arrival to the city of Tampa, BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi, will add new flavor to Fowler Avenue.

BENTO is a family-owned quick-casual pan-Asian restaurant, and will be opening up its first ever Tampa location in September 2020.

The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenue across from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus.  It’s much-anticipated opening will come just in time for the new fall semester. 

“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.

The new Tampa location will offer a vast amount of outdoor seating, in addition to BENTO’s famous red sushi bar. Guests will be treated to warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.

BENTO is extraordinarily takeout-friendly. The restaurant’s fast-casual setup makes it a perfect complement to the area’s growing “on-the-go” population.

“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time.  Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of.  The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.

This will be BENTO’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. 

It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.

BENTO has six more locations it expects to open within the next year. Eagerly-awaited stores in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and neighboring Sarasota are all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.

The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. 

Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contactless experience. 

Boba teas, Asian beers and sake are also on the menu, in addition to sauces made in-house with hand-cut veggies prepped daily.

Follow BENTO on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of thatssotampa.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@thatssotampa.com.