Iconic Spaghetti Warehouse closing in Ybor City

The Tampa Tribune/March 4, 2016

Tampa — An iconic Ybor City restaurant that has served patrons for more than 30 years out of a former cigar factory in historic Ybor Square will close on Wednesday.

Spaghetti Warehouse, housed in a large brick building that once was the largest cigar factory in the world and is now owned by the Church of Scientology, is closing its doors, its parent company announced Friday in a news release.

“We have made the difficult business decision to suspend operations and announce the closure of the Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant in Tampa, Florida, located in Historic Ybor City,” parent company BLD Brands said in the release.

“We are working closely with everyone on our staff, whose hard work and dedication is appreciated and we thank them for their many contributions.”

Spaghetti Warehouse corporate officials could not provide information on the number of employees affected by the closure.

The restaurant, the only Spaghetti Warehouse location in Florida, opened in 1983 in part of what once was the V.M. Ybor Cigar Factory, which Don Vicente Martinez Ybor opened in 1886 — giving life to what became the symbol for Tampa’s rich cigar culture.

Harris Mullen purchased Ybor Square — at 1911 N. 13th St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues — in the 1970s and transformed it into a space that housed offices, antique stalls and, eventually, Spaghetti Warehouse.

In 2010, the Church of Scientology purchased the three-building complex for $7 million.

The restaurant specialized in Italian fare, including its signature 15-layer lasagna.

“To our many guests, we say thank you,” the release said. “We enjoyed serving you, your family and friends. And, it was our pleasure to share in the celebrations that took place over countless lunches and dinners, not to mention birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.”

Spaghetti Warehouse also operates locations in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. B.D. Brands also owns the Papa John’s and Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill chains.

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