Here's a roundup of news, openings and changes in the Tampa Bay dining scene:
• Our own Wicked 'Wiches and Taco Bus are in the running to be featured on The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. In the show, food trucks must complete challenges each week or face elimination. The winner receives $100,000, which would likely buy a lot of gas. In order for them to make the cut, they need votes. (As of Tuesday afternoon, they were ranking 77th and 95th in the voting.) To do your civic duty, vote early and often here: foodtrucks.teamdigital.com.
• Mercel's Bake Shop, 8500 49th St. in Pinellas Park, holds its ribbon-cutting on Friday. The new shop specializes in home-style Filipino food, custom-made cakes, breads and desserts. For more information, call (727) 424-3287 or visit www.mercelsbakeshop.com.
• Mo' Ziki has opened at 10801 Starkey Road in Largo. It's a fast-casual concept of Greek-inspired dishes such as affordable pitas, wraps, salads and Greek-style rice bowls. For information, call (727) 397-8300.
• The Pearl (163 107th Ave., Treasure Island) has begun serving lunch and has launched a full-liquor bar and extended its late-night hours. It will feature a Moroccan night on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m., with belly-dancing and a five-course meal for $35.
• In Sarasota, chef Steve Phelps (Canvas Café, the Bijou Café), will launch his own restaurant called Indigenous on Sept. 7. Located at 239 S Links Ave. in the historic Towles Court Arts District, Indigenous will use almost 100 percent Florida-based companies, recycled building materials, and as many local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients as possible. Fans will be eager to see if Phelps will reprise his braised beef short ribs or lobster succotash with local Key West Shrimp.