Sunday, December 17, 2017
Features and More

Salt Rock Grill group to open craft beer room, restaurant

New in Clearwater Beach

Baystar Restaurant Group (Salt Rock Grill, Island Way Grill, Rumba Island Bar & Grill, etc.) is on the move again. A conversation with Frank Chivas last week revealed that Salt Rock Grill is gearing up for changes — its Salty Seas bar will undergo a conversion to a craft beer room by springtime. Chivas is even looking into brewing Salt Rock's own beer. And a new project called Marina Cantina is slated to open late this year at the city marina in Clearwater Beach. Necessitating a full build-out, exact opening dates are not yet know for this new casual taqueria.

Hapa closes, Pelagia reaps bounty

The bad news is that, after seven years, Brett and Nina Gardiner closed their charming Restaurant Hapa in Oldsmar this New Year's. The good news is that Brett Gardiner has landed at Pelagia Trattoria as sous chef. Gardiner worked with Pelagia's current executive chef Andrew Basch years ago at Oystercatchers at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay where Gardiner was lead cook and sous chef, and then later Basch came to Restaurant Hapa to work with Gardiner. Together they will continue the loosely Italian/Mediterranean idiom that has made the restaurant at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel so highly regarded. For information, or reservations, call (813) 313-3235 or go to pelagiatrattoria.com.

More beach bits

It looks like Smoking Joe's BBQ is moving in the spot previously occupied by Bruce Caplan's Fetishes on St. Pete Beach. The Seabreeze Island Grill at 17855 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores, is aiming for a Jan. 23 opening date. And Scalliwags, a new pirate-themed restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach is going into the space that used to be Bar Luna at 1511 Gulf Blvd.

Taco Bus redux

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been announced for the newest location of Taco Bus, to be unveiled Jan. 24 at 505 Franklin St. in downtown Tampa. While this event is by invitation only, the new taqueria will be open to the public after that.

St. Pete Brasserie changes

As of Jan. 1, Justin Chamoun became the new owner of St. Pete Brasserie on Central Avenue. No word yet on what this will mean for the menu or staffing.

'Po boy riches

Rick Parsons started his first Ricky P's at 6521 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg in the space that used to house Your Belly Deli, then added a little outpost inside Bob Lee's Tire Co. at 1631 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg. It was recently announced that he will open a new Ricky P's at the site of the former Savannah's Café, which closed in May at 1113 Central Ave. It aims to be selling po' boys by Fat Tuesday.

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She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Published: 12/16/17
Festivus 2017: Send us your grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Published: 12/15/17
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Published: 12/15/17
Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A half hour to curtain, Al Pitrelli unwinds on a couch in his spartan dressing quarters, fresh off a loading-dock Marlboro. He’s deep inside an arena, about to play the 29th show in the 18th city of the Trans-Siberian ...
Published: 12/15/17
Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The theatrical tour about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that Tavis Smiley was slated to bring to Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has been canceled in the wake sexual misconduct allegations against the broadcaster.Death...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

PARADES Homosassa Christmas Boat Parade Parade begins at Marker 75 by Bird Island. Free. Homosassa Springs Marina, 10806 W Halls River Road, Homosassa. 6 p.m. Dec. 16.   Indian Rocks Beach Boat Parade It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and...
Published: 12/14/17
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Published: 12/14/17
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17