Spring is hopping, with a number of new Tampa Bay area restaurants opening in upcoming weeks.
The two most anticipated openings on the horizon are The Kitchen (200 First Ave. N, Suite 226, St. Petersburg) and Samba Room (1502 S Howard Ave., Tampa).
According to executive chef J. Sean Squires, the Kitchen, adjacent to MacDinton's Irish Pub and Jannus Live (it will provide food for both venues), hopes to open its doors early to midweek next week. With the restaurant's open-kitchen concept and a huge patio, Squires will oversee a menu that draws on his experience at local institutions such as Island Way Grill and Marlin Darlin'.
And in Tampa, Gordon Davis (founder of Ceviche, owner of Boca Kitchen Bar Market) and partner Kevin Enderle will revive the defunct E-Brands Nuevo Latino concept at the site vacated by Ceviche (St. Bart's Island House before that). The target opening date is the second week in April.
Other food news:
• The Icot Center in Clearwater is poised for a reinvigoration. After last year's Tuscon's closure, Cafe Ponte has been keeping the home fires burning on its own. According to its Facebook page, Gunslinger's (formerly of Largo) is poised to open at 13563 Icot Blvd., for lunch, dinner and late-night revelry in a country/western theme. In addition, the old Yuki Japanese Steakhouse is under construction at 13505 Icot Blvd., Suite 207. No word yet on an opening date.
• From Stockholm, Sweden, Chris Orrung is opening Parts of Paris at 146 4th Ave N in Safety Harbor next to Green Springs Bistro. Set in a traditional 1936 Florida bungalow that until recently housed a yoga studio, the new restaurant will be a classic French bistro with bouillabaisse, beef bourguignon, beef tartare and steak and moules frites, with a large wine list weighted to French wines. Orrung, most recently of the Tampa Marriott Waterside, hopes to open his doors by April 12.
• Aiming to open by April 15, Simply Delicious comes to 4601 66th St. N in the Kenneth City area of St. Petersburg. According to owner George Creel, it will be a paean to New York deli, with housemade pastrami and corned beef, knishes and decor reminiscent of a classic NYC delis. The new restaurant opens in a diner space that endured some serious screen time on Dirty Dining, so the clean-up and renovation efforts have been substantial, and the exterior has been painted to look like a New York subway stop.
• The South Florida-based Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza adds another location in our area at 1901 S Dale Mabry Hwy just south of Henderson in South Tampa. It's the 33rd location for the super-dark-crust giant and the fourth location locally, opening to the public March 28. Heads up, sports fans: NFL Hall of Fame legend Dan Marino is involved in the project, and will attend a media event at the new location the day before the opening. But perhaps he'll be a regular there for the high-heat pizzas (or the unusual Italian-style coal-fired chicken wings). For more information, call (813) 258-2625.