A spate of new restaurant openings gives the spring a little boost. In Oldsmar, at the site of Twisted Bamboo, which closed in October, Suro will open today. Located at 3687 Tampa Road, Suro is a collaboration between the owners of the Vine in Lutz and operating partner Robert Snow, formerly managing partner at Roy's in Tampa.
In Dunedin, Tina Marie and Javier Avila of Casa Tina and Pan y Vino (which was recently transformed into a brick-oven pizzeria) have opened a third location called Cabana Cafe and Gifts (833 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, (727) 712-2233). The menu features panini, salads, soups and wines, and the cafe boasts a little porch and giftware shop.
Steve Westphal's new project, the Hangar Restaurant Flight Lounge, opened last weekend at Albert Whitted Airport Terminal (540 First St. SE, Second Floor, St. Petersburg, (727) 823-7767) with a series of open houses and samplings. The grand opening is Tuesday with a mayoral luncheon and ribbon cutting. That will bring to three Westphal's downtown restaurants (Parkshore Grill, 400 Beach Seafood.)
Last year was a tough one for the very good Lanna Thai on Bay Pines Boulevard in St. Petersburg. Owner Willie Pudsone thought the location might have been one of the key problems, so he opened two weeks ago in a new spot at 4871 Park St. N, also in St. Petersburg. In what used to be the Original Spoto's Steak Joint, Pudsone and staff are now doing Lanna's signature curries and carved veggies, but they've added a sushi bar to broaden the offerings in this pretty new setting.
John Lewis at La Maison Gourmet in Dunedin kept things going through a rough economy with cooking classes and a weekend prix-fixe menu. He closed the restaurant for good at the end of March.
And it looks like the show's over for the little Russian cafe called Yummy Mama's at 145 Fourth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. No word on what's next for the historic building built in 1901 for Albert Blocker, the then St. Petersburg mayor.
Laura Reiley, Times food critic