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Briefs: Brandon gets a GrillSmith

Conde Nast shutters Gourmet MAGAZINE

After 69 years of stories and glorious photos about food and the way Americans eat, Gourmet magazine will cease publication.

It has been rumored most of this year that Gourmet, whose editor is Ruth Reichl, was in trouble because of falling advertising. The magazine had weathered tough times before. It debuted just as World War II began and food rationing was more of a reality than gourmet cooking.

Conde Nast's other food magazine, Bon Appétit, has been spared for now. Other Conde Nast magazines killed include Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie. Monday's announcement did not give the date of Gourmet's final issue.

Restaurant openings and a move

• A new GrillSmith location at Westfield Brandon was scheduled to open Tuesday, creating more than 100 new jobs in the area. It is the sixth GrillSmith location in the bay area.

• A new 20,000-square-foot two-story restaurant opens Saturday in International Plaza's Bay Street in Tampa. BRIO, meaning "lively" or "full of life," is a casual, white-tablecloth restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine with wood-grilled and oven-roasted steaks, chops and seafood. It will also have a bar menu that includes a "shrimpitini" shrimp cocktail, beef carpaccio and mini burgers, all for $2.95. There's indoor seating for 190 guests and alfresco dining for 44 on the Italian-style terrace.

La Cachette da la Plage has moved from Indian Rocks Beach, its home since 1998, to Clearwater. The new address is 625 Cleveland St. and the target opening date is the second week in November.

Closures

• BayWalk's Gratzzi closed on Sept. 12. Shortly thereafter, BayWalk's Johnny Rockets location was "closed for repairs," with no word on a reopening date. The dining/entertainment concept has lost a number of dining tenants in the past year, leaving only Ammazza Pizza Cafe and Tokyo Sushi Café.

• After 12 years, John Lewis has closed his restaurant and former cooking school, La Maison Gourmet (471 Main St., Dunedin). "To blame it on the economy would be only partially true. To blame it on my health would also be only partially true. To blame it on the slowest time of the year would also be only partially true. However, all these factors combined to make it impossible to continue without additional capital," he said. Lewis will use the space until the end of the year for private parties and cooking classes.

Stone crab season

The local "claws celebre" will once again be on Tampa Bay menus when stone crab season opens Oct. 15. Crabby Bill's owner Matt Loder urges diners to take advantage of specials on this delicacy because "sales of these are a big boost to restaurants and the local economy as these crabbers buy bait, fuel, equipment and life's other necessities on the hunt."

Community-supported agriculture

Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa will make its debut at the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market this year in an effort to recruit Community Supported Agriculture members. For the first time, the organic farm will offer the option to pick up a CSA farm share at the St. Petersburg market instead of having to drive to Tampa. The first share disbursement day will be Nov. 7. For more information, e-mail Andrea Harms at assocdir@sweetwater-organic.org.

Laura Reiley, Times food critic

Briefs: Brandon gets a GrillSmith 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 5:30am]
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