Comments Off on NEWS: New World Brewery re-opens in Tampa February 12th 2020
New World Brewery, a popular live-music spot with great craft beer and food that first opening in 1994 and closed in Ybor City a few years ago, is re-opening on February 12th, 2020 at 6PM with a new location near Sulphur Springs at 810 East Skagway Tampa, Florida 33604.
They will kick off their opening party with all-you-can-eat pizza and two drafts of beer for $ 35. Tickets are required to attend.
Comments Off on NEWS: Blind Tiger Cafe coming to Westfield Brandon Mall
Continuing its expansion, Blind Tiger Cafe is taking over a Starbucks location at the Westfield Brandon Mall across from the Apple Store. The busy mall in a densely populated area makes an interesting move for Blind Tiger who recently acquired another Starbucks location in the WestShore Plaza in Tampa and opened a number of new cafes recently in Downtown Tampa.
Comments Off on NEWS: Graze 1910 opening 2nd South Tampa location
The popular Armature Works food hall stand, Graze 1910, is opening their second location in South Tampa at 2217 South Dale Mabry Highway in the Palma Ceia neighborhood this February. This location will serve breakfast all day as well as lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends.
Menu items will include egg dishes, artisan burgers, chicken and waffles, tartines, greens and grains, and vegan options.
“After two years of success with Graze 1910 at Armature Works, we decided it was time to extend the brand, expand the menu and attract more families and locals,” says Raymond Menendez, owner of Graze.
“Graze is community-minded and the spot you’ll come to time and time again not only for our reliably, quality food, but our laid-back setting and welcoming atmosphere.”
Raymond Menendez has 30 years of restaurant experience and was previously with Hooters in Clearwater and a Managing Partner with Ciccio Restaurant Group in Tampa.
Lawrence “Bubba” Durley, Graze 1910’s head chef, previously with Oxford Exchange and Café Dufrain, will oversee both Graze kitchen locations and continue to be their creative menu advisor.
Comments Off on NEWS: Shake Shack confirmed coming to Tampa
After a long wait, Shake Shack is finally confirmed as coming to Tampa, first reported by Tampa Bay Business Journal. The location will be at Midtown Tampa, a “new kind of urban experience with 1.8 million square feet of retail, residential, 3 Class A office buildings, entertainment and hospitality”.
The long-awaited location for the gourmet burger chain still has no opening date for Tampa, but is at least confirmed to be opening by the developer. Shake Shack has long been open in Orlando and opened in Sarasota recently. Midtown Tampa is expected to open in time for the Super Bowl in February 2021.
“Shake Shack is an iconic brand with worldwide recognition, and is yet another first-to-market restaurant that we’re thrilled to bring to Tampa,” said Nicholas Haines, CEO, Bromley Companies. “We’ve followed Shake Shack from its first location next to our office in New York’s Madison Square Park, and appreciate the delight and appeal it has to its customers.”
Shake Shack has over 170 locations worldwide and has been growing around the country in recent years including locations on both the east and west coast. The franchise started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park back in 2001. The burger concept was started in 2004 as a kiosk.
Comments Off on NEWS: Jollibee opening first Tampa Bay location on Friday January 17th
A Filipino favorite, Jollibee, is opening its doors on Friday, January 17th at 4057 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park, Florida. The location will be the 40th location to open for the franchise which is currently experiencing high growth and expansion across the country. The chain plans to open 150 stores in the United States by 2023. It is the first location in Tampa Bay.
Store hours for opening day and beyond are 7AM to 11PM.
“We cannot wait to welcome Jollibee fans who have long waited for their turn to finally have Jollibee in their area, in addition to welcoming new foodies intrigued by our unique menu, which we fondly describe as a joyous mash-up of Western comfort food and Asian flavors,” said Beth Dela Cruz, President of Jollibee Foods Corporation North America, Philippine Brands Group.
Popular items at Jollibee include the Chickenjoy, Jolly Spaghetti made with signature sweet-style sauce loaded with chunky slices of savory ham and hotdog, and Peach Mango Pie, made with real Philippine mangoes enclosed in a light, crispy crust.
Tampa is home to one of the largest Filipino communities with its Bayanihan Center and annual PhilFest celebration that draws thousands for a celebration of Filipino food and culture every April.
There are some perks for those who choose to line-up early for the opening:
The first 50 customers in line to spend $ 25 or more will get FREE Chickenjoy for a year.*
The first 50 with the best #ItsOurTurn signs will get a Jollibee in Barong Funko Pop.
The first 300 on day 1 (plus the first 100 on days 2 and 3) will get a free drawstring bag with a minimum $ 25 purchase. *One 6-piece bucket of Chickenjoy per month for a period of one year
Comments Off on NEWS: Michelle Faedo’s 2nd location opening January 8th in Downtown Tampa
Michelle’s Faedo is opening her second location of Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 in Downtown Tampa at 601 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL, 33602 inside the Hillsborough County Building.
The restaurants are an off-shot of Michelle Faedo’s On The Go food truck which has been in operation for years. The first location is located at the ENCORE! building not too far away from Downtown close to Ybor City.
Popular items on the menu include the Famous Traditional Cuban and deviled crabs that pay homage to Tampa’s rich food history. Like the Cuban Sandwich, deviled crabs were created by the immigrant communities in Tampa that existed during the cigar boom.
Faedo is an award-winner from the annual Cuban Sandwich Festival and is well-recognized for her Cuban sandwiches around the Tampa Bay area.
The opening hours for the location will be Monday through Friday from 7AM to 4PM.
City of Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor, is expected to be there at around 1PM to celebrate the occasion.
Comments Off on NEWS: Ding Tea Tampa Grand Opening set for January 24th
Bubble tea fans have plenty to be excited about. Ding Tea Tampa on Waters has a new opening date of Friday, January 24th, 2020. The location is located next to where the old Yummy House and Got Tea locations were.
The delay was explained to be connected to the health department (Ding Tea was originally set to open on November 3rd).
It will be located at 2202 West Waters Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33604.
Ding Tea is a chain from Taiwan that has over 350 locations in Asia and has been rapidly expanding across the United States. There was a location that opened in between this time period by USF Tampa’s Uptown at 1518 East Fowler Avenue Suite B. One of the latest businesses to open in that area.
Comments Off on NEWS: Roux in South Tampa is now permanently closed
Roux, the New Orleans concept by Datz Restaurant Group, has ceased operations according to a report by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The restaurant was known for serving favorites of Cajun and Creole cuisine such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, and also some of the best cornbread I have ever enjoyed in Tampa. The chefs were brought from New Orleans back in 2014 for a true experience for fans of the cuisine to enjoy.
Datz Restaurant Group is currently busy opening new restaurants across the bridge including most recently their Datz St. Petersburg branch and a cafe inside The James Museum. A new Datz location is also opening soon in Brandon.
Comments Off on NEWS: Yum Yum Hot Pot AYCE now open to the public
Yum Yum Hot Pot AYCE has opened in Temple Terrace just minutes from USF and Tampa’s Uptown just in time for Christmas. It joins the nearby Hot Pot BBQ on Fowler Avenue as one of many new Asian businesses to the area.
It is located at 11301 North 56th Street Temple Terrace, FL 33617. Yum Yum is open from 4PM-11PM from Sunday to Thursday and from 4PM to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Customers choose their hot pot soup base, custom dipping sauces, and food from the conveyor belt to cook in their soup. There is a 2 hour time limit for all-you-can-eat. Adult AYCE costs $ 25.99 and kids (age 4-10) are $ 15.99.
Comments Off on NEWS: “Love Reimagined” dining pop-up coming to Tampa just in time for Valentine’s 2020
There’s a new installment in an experiential dining series called “The Rooted Door” is coming to Tampa called “LOVE Reimagined”. It aims to be “a fully immersive pop-up that will inspire guests to celebrate the Art of LOVE”.
The pop-up will occur from Tuesday, February 11th to Saturday, Feburary 15th, 2020 (5 nights), just in time for Valentine’s Day week 2020.
The pop-up will occur at Red Door No. 5, in Tampa Heights at 1910 North Florida Avenue. Red Door is one of Tampa’s new destinations for culture and the arts. Originally constructed in 1925 and then was decommissioned as an active fire station in 1986. The building has since been restored.
Popular local chefs, Chef Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & the Till and Chef Noel Cruz of Ichicoro Ramen, will headline the pop-up. Alvarez and Cruz have opened numerous projects recently around the city and are active participants in local initiatives in Tampa Bay. Chef Ferrell Alvarez is a James-Beard Award nominee.
Guests at the pop-up will walk through different spaces which unveil imaginative cuisine, cocktails, visual and performing arts and take them on a journey of the senses as the space transforms with each course. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
The pop-up will last approximately 2 hours and reservation times include 6:30PM, 7:30PM, 8:30PM, and 9:30PM. Tickets start at $ 160 and are now on-sale.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarship Award through Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) to continue nurturing Tampa’s flourishing creative scene and support future creators in the community.
TBBCA has annually awarded six or more scholarships to some of the most talented and deserving Tampa Bay area high school students, providing valuable financial assistance since 2008.
“Love Reimagined” is being organized by PASK Productions, “an experiential event marketing and branding agency delivers premium services to high-end clientele across the country.”
Their collaborations with brands include Hennessy Cognac, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, Cirque du Soleil, CORZO Tequila , L’OREAL Paris, DUSSE Cognac, OXLEY Gin, ULTRA Music Festival, National Young Arts Foundation, Art Basel, and Beats by Dre among others.
The annual parade has become one of Tampa’s signature holiday events featuring hundreds of festive aquatic vessels as the make their way down the Hillsborough River.
Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The event is also pet-friendly.
Note: outside food, drinks, and coolers are not permitted at Armature Works.
Parking: Parking at Armature Works is free Monday through Thursday and Friday before 4PM, Saturday and Sunday mornings before 11AM. Parking at all other times is $ 5. In addition, there are over 400 street-side parking spots available. Valet is also available most event nights and weekends. For more information please visit armatureworks.com/parking.
Comments Off on NEWS: Blind Tiger takes over Foundation Coffee spot at Sparkman Wharf Tampa
Foundation Coffee has left Sparkman Wharf after the end of their lease the space is now occupied by Blind Tiger Cafe. Blind Tiger has been rapidly growing in the last year with new locations in South Tampa, Westchase, WestShore, Downtown Tampa, and now a parcel at Sparkman Wharf.
Some of the locations are unconventional and previously were occupied with other coffee companies, for example their recent acquisition at WestShore Plaza replaced Starbucks Coffee. Third wave coffee has been rapidly growing in the past year with Spaddy’s Coffee expanding, Buddy Brew and Kahwa moving into the grocery business, King State opening their first cafe, and a number of new upstarts opening on both sides of Tampa Bay.
The food hall boom has helped to fuel these expansions across the bay area.
One has to wonder when the market for third wave coffee is going to saturate, but so far it doesn’t seem to be too unstable. There have been a handful of closings including most recently the LCPX Cafe on Armenia Avenue and Mountaineer Coffee in Oldsmar.
Most of popular third wave coffee shops are concentrated in the South Tampa, Downtown Tampa, and Seminole Heights area. It would be interesting to see successful third wave coffee shops in the more scattered parts of town such as in Brandon and Carrollwood which for now just seem to be saturated with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations.
Blind Tiger opens at Sparkman Wharf in Downtown Tampa on Friday, December 13th, 2019.
Comments Off on NEWS: Tampa chefs VS. Bobby Flay airing December 26th on Food Network
Tampa chefs, Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro will take their talent to the masses in America on Thursday, December 26th when they compete on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay”. The chefs currently own Xilo Mexican at The Hall on Franklin and focus on serving fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine. I stopped by last weekend to sit down with Chef Castro and discuss how they got here and where they are going.
Chef Rivera and Castro are best known for their past project called Piquant, a popular French bakery concept that was located first in Hyde Park Village and then West Tampa. The project was supplying the Tampa Bay area with fresh breads and pastries and certainly a local pioneer in that space where French bakeries are far and few between.
Their Kouign-Amann was a personal favorite and when I went west to San Francisco, I was amazed and how the ideas that Rivera and Castro brought to Tampa Bay area are so huge out there and still mostly unknown out here. Piquant went through various cycles, but was ultimately closed much to my dismay.
When Chef Rivera and Chef Castro opened Xilo at Hall on Franklin, I wasn’t sure what inspired the move to Mexican cuisine. Castro explained to me that the idea to make Mexican food came from their unique past. Castro was trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York City and he volunteered at a church where he was trained on Mexican sauces and cuisine.
Rivera previously worked for a corporation that regularly flew her around Mexico and exposed her to many of the regional cuisines of the area. When deciding on a concept, Mexican came to them as something both different for the area and something that they could both uniquely bring to the table.
Slowly the chefs have added items to the menu that are representative of their love for Mexican cuisine including brunch options such as chilaquiles. They are one of the only vendors that are open during breakfast at the food hall.
When the chefs entered Hall on Franklin they also took control of the Kofe Tampa shop and have slowly moved into coffee as a business, with prior experience selling their own proprietary roasted blend at their bakery. Soon they will move toward plans to provide their coffee on a bigger scale with a more wholesale focus.
Their coffee can best be described as a truly Latin roast with bold espresso flavors.
The future may hold more restaurant locations in the Tampa Bay area, although the chefs are still considering potential locations across the state of Florida. They are well-traveled and have received much of their inspiration from past culinary projects and mentors. Hopefully their love for baking will also be a part of these next moves.
One thing that is clear is that both these chefs are passionate about food and are passionate about baking. Their debut on the Food Network is a great win for Tampa and also for themselves. Latinx representation is still lacking on Food Network and in the food industry in general.
Let’s hope they can beat Bobby Flay. Catch Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro on Food Network at 10:30PM EST on Thursday, December 26th. Free tickets are available to their watch party on Eventbrite that will run from 8:30PM to 11:30PM at Hall on Franklin.
Xilo Mexican.The Hall on Franklin. 1701 N Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602.
Comments Off on NEWS: LPCX Latin Cafe Bakery closing doors on November 9th in Tampa
LPCX announced today on Instagram that they will close their doors starting end of the day Saturday, November 9th until further notice as they work out what is next for their business.
The cafe has been known to serve great coffee drinks and beautiful latte art so it is certainly a loss for Tampa’s coffee community.
They were recently featured on That’s So Tampa’s 3 hidden coffee shops you need to visit. Unfortunately – it may have been too late to change the trajectory for the LCPX Cafe. Make sure you stop by for a last cup of joe if you have a chance.
La Pequeña Colombia will remain open across the street.
Comments Off on NEWS: Universal Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites opens March 17th 2020 in Orlando
Universal Orlando Resort will open their 8th resort, Universal Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
The new hotel adds 2,050 guests rooms to the Universal Orlando hotel portfolio with standard rooms and 2-bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 6 people. It will join sister property, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites, which opened in June 2019.
Rates start at $ 85 per night and aims to be an affordable options for visitors to the Orlando area and theme parks. Hotel guests will receive early admission to Universal theme parks, complimentary transportation to and from theme parks, and other amenities.
Dockside Inn and Suites is the 8th Universal Orlando partnership with Loews Hotels & Co.
Some attractions guests can enjoy at Universal include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Jurassic Park River Adventure, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, and The Bourne Stuntacular – which makes its debut at Universal Studios Florida in spring 2020.
Universal is also hard at work on a new theme park, Epic Universe, which will be the 4th theme park that Universal opens joining Universal Studios, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay. The theme park is slated to open in 2023.
Comments Off on NEWS: Wine Bar George at Disney Springs in Orlando offers Thanksgiving specials
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and there a number of places offering Thanksgiving specials. One of those places is Wine Bar George at Disney Springs in Orlando.
On November 28th, Wine Bar George will be serving a traditional turkey plate ($ 34 for adults, $ 16 for kids 9 and under) as well as new Santa Carota Short Ribs ($ 39) alongside select items from their regular menu. Choose from 140 wines all available by the glass, bottle and ounce for the perfect holiday celebration.
Black Friday and Thanksgiving are a busy time for tourism in Orlando. Wine Bar George is one of many places offering options for the season.
Comments Off on NEWS: Hemingway’s expanding north to Atlanta’s Krog Street Market
Atlanta will soon get a taste of Tampa with Hemingway’s expanding north to A-Town’s Krog Street Market in spring of 2020. Hemingway’s is currently located inside the Armature Works food hall in Tampa Heights and serves Cuban dishes with a focus on Tampeño food such as Cuban Sandwiches (WITH salami).
Chef Felicia “Phe” Lacalle is a previous winner of the International Cuban Sandwich Festival. She worked in the past as an Executive Sous and Regional Pastry Chef at Roy’s and Executive Chef at Samba Room.
Make sure you try the chicharrones, they are not to be missed.
Here’s one of my favorite videos featuring Chef Phe:
Comments Off on NEWS: Miracle at Mezzo coming to St. Pete starting Black Friday 2019
Miracle at Mezzo is coming to St. Petersburg starting on Black Friday (November 29th) 2019. The event started in New York City back in 2014 at Mace cocktail bar and is now at Intermezzo located at 1111 Central Avenue in Downtown St. Petersburg.
According to the press release, “each Miracle and Sippin’ Santa location will celebrate the season with a festive menu of signature cocktails, décor of lights, garlands, ribbons, and tchotchkes inspired by nostalgic vintage Christmas decorations, and a soundtrack of holiday songs.” Intermezzo is one of over 100 locations nationwide participating in the event.
Owner/GM Jarrett Sabatini has put together a calendar of events to keep the pop-up busy throughout the holiday season:
Monday December 2nd – World’s Largest Ugly Sweater Party – Over 100 Miracle locations around the world participating! Don your best (tackiest) garb and join in the revelry
Monday December 9th – Holiday Trivia with Santa Claus
Tuesday December 10th – Holiday Karaoke
Thursday December 19th – Songs Around a Christmas Tree with performer J.T. Brown 7PM-10PM
“In our sixth year, we’re excited to keep making Miracle better year after year while keeping our true love for the holiday season alive,” says Greg Boehm, owner and creator of Miracle.
“We offer a true experience for our guests as soon as they walk through the doors. Our partners across the U.S. and world are all dedicated to delivering exceptional visits with quality cocktails.”