To Anise Global Gastrobar owners Kevin and Xuan “Sing” Hurt, family is a word that means absolutely everything. You can tell the moment you walk into the restaurant. The classy ‘Euro’ environment is paired with the friendliest and happiest of staff- genuinely eager to see you. Suddenly it feels like home. And that’s exactly what it is: a place where the 40 staff members call Sing ‘mom’ and everyone comes together to achieve a vision.
Behind the bar an utterly striking, larger than life, sepia-toned mural greets visitors. This mural is even more impressive when you learn that it is filled with family photographs. The beautiful older Vietnamese woman squatting on the ground in the middle of the mural? That’s Sing’s grandmother. The two smiling children whose faces light up the wall? They’re Sing’s Vietnamese cousins. Each of the photographs comes directly from the travels of Kevin and Sing or their close friends. It’s truly symbolic of the type of restaurant Kevin and Sing wanted to create here.
The two had no idea, however, when they met 14 years ago that they’d one day own a restaurant, even thought the restaurant business has always been a part of their relationship. They started dating when Sing went to work as a cocktail waitress in a bar where Kevin bartended and within a few years, with Kevin’s encouragement of Sing’s managing talents, they jumped into the food truck business. Their truck, lovingly named Stinky Bunz, after the delightful Asian-inspired specialty sandwich they served, became a Tampa staple and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, 2 ½ years after the doors to Anise opened, the two are fully committed to being a part of the growing downtown Tampa community and visualize Anise as a staple of that scene. And that’s exactly what has happened. With its craft cocktails and redefined comfort foods, Anise has become a fast hit in the local community. Kevin and Sing love their downtown setting and have high praise for the diversity and commitment of the Anise crew.
Their praise for Anise staffers naturally extends to the menu, which clearly demonstrates the talents of the kitchen and bar crew. Kevin and Sing have too many favorite menu items to name them all, but definitely have a special place in their hearts for the Stinky Bunz, a carryover from their food truck days. There are six varieties of Bunz to choose from but Sing admits her favorite is the fried zucchini. Kevin, a North Carolina transplant to Florida, enjoys the ramen bowl with pork belly. Dessert? They both love the special S’mores dessert made with homemade marshmallow.
If you see these two on your next visit to Anise, be sure to take a moment to chat. They love their restaurant and enjoy taking the time to meet and greet their customers.