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Tampa, Florida — When Suzanne Perry and her husband, Roger, moved to the Tampa Bay area, they found themselves with extra time on their hands.

That presented them with an opportunity to act on a dream to open a big restaurant.

And “Datz” just what they did.

Datz Restaurant is inspired by historic Midwest and Northeast delicatessens that offer huge servings, even down to the name, with the faint echo of restaurants with “Z” in their names, like Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City.

But that’s where the similarities end.

“Our customers here in South Tampa told us that they wanted a little bit of something different. They liked the general idea of the deli sandwiches and whatnot, but they really wanted more comfort food,” Perry said,

If it’s comfort customers wanted, it’s comfort customers got.

Datz closed for a few days and reopened with the concept that exists today — over-the-top American comfort food, including favorites like the Nashville chicken sandwich, featuring two big tenders slathered in hot sauce.

But the big cheese on the menu, that has attracted attention from the likes of “Good Morning America,” is The Cheesy Todd.

“It’s just a burger, and instead of a regular bun, it has fried mac and cheese. And we have people come in from out of town to eat that, a lot of locals love it. It’s a giant big eat, which is what we’re known for,” said Datz project manager John Camisa.

“I want them to leave out of here almost disgustingly full and talking about it to other people. like ‘Go there hungry, make sure you’re real hungry when you walk in the door there because they’re going to leave out of there real real full,” Camisa said.

The staff prides itself on offering a unique, relaxed experience, reflected even in its quirky name, chosen from hundreds of contenders, but never Googled in advance. It turns out there’s a family by that name living just a couple of blocks from the restaurant.

“They’re probably to this very day getting phone calls about the pastrami sandwich from Datz,” Perry said.

The Datz experience, after all, is about having fun.

“What makes Datz really unique and different is it’s a place to have fun. Just come, relax, let your hair down, wear your shorts, wear your golf clothes or tennis outfit, home from the beach, and have an excellent down-home American comfort food, but spun up a little bit,” Perry said.

Source: This post first appeared on abc7NY

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