THE WOODEN SPOON DINER A wooden spoon has become an archaic tool for food preparation. But in Manny Rousso’s kitchen, a wooden spoon is an essential tool for the success of his restaurant, The Wooden Spoon Diner, serving as inspiration for the restaurant’s name. “We were trying to think of a name and my wife and mother were looking for things I use in the kitchen and my wife says ‘he always cooks with a wooden spoon, he can’t start unless his wooden spoons are cleaned and ready,’” said Rousso. He chuckled and then shared that his mother reminded him that a wooden spoon wasn't always used for stirring when he was growing up. The restaurateur has decades of experience, as his father owned Mike’s Drive Thru in Bartow for several years beginning in 1996. In 2005, the family opened Gloria’s Restaurant in Bowling Green. In 2012, Rousso opened Sunshine Cafe, a breakfast and lunch establishment in Sun City Center. He then sold the cafe in 2016 and transitioned into restaurant consulting. A year later, Rousso opened The Wooden Spoon Diner on Lithia Pinecrest Road. The restaurant is a success and two years later, he is proving that he can do it again. Rousso opened the doors to The Wooden Spoon Diner’s Plant City location on Tuesday, July 23. Located at 712 Collins Street, the restaurant remained vacant for many years; Plant City residents are excited to see business bustling at the location once again. “Plant City reminds me of Bowling Green: A small town where you go into a restaurant and know everyone. Everyone comes into enjoy the food and atmosphere, and that is where the slogan “where friends become family” came from," said Rousso. The Wooden Spoon serves up American comfort food, creating hearty meals at a great price point, while retaining quality. “Quality is never something we play with,” said Rousso.
FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-08 August 2019