WEST SHORE — Nordstrom reopened its restaurant this week in International Plaza, introducing a revamped menu, a full bar and a new name, Bazille.
The upscale department store that prides itself on lavish customer pleasure will hustle full service, from handcrafted cocktails to white chocolate bread pudding.
Previously generically called Cafe Bistro, diners placed their orders at the entry and waited to be seated and served. Attention hungry shoppers: reservations are now welcomed.
At a recent tasting for friends and family, appetizers included bruschetta, calamari and hummus. Soup selections were crab bisque and chicken corn chowder. Entrees included crab Louis salad, flat iron steak and grilled shrimp, followed by gelato, sorbet and crème brulee for dessert.
Curious about the name? It salutes French inspiration, a nod to artist Frederic Bazille, close friend of famed Impressionists Monet and Manet.
Bazille, located in Nordstrom International Plaza, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; till 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Visit nordstrom.com or call (813) 875-4400.
Welcome to the Outpost
The Outpost Tap House + Tavern will offer more than 200 kinds of beer, 32 on draft and the rest in cans, when it opens next month in the former Frankie's gourmet hot dog restaurant at Kennedy and North boulevards .
"It was time for a change," says operating partner Mike Diogostine, who is still tweaking the concept. Look for full service lunch and dinner and bar food "with a healthy swing on it," he said. "Affordable and fast, especially for the downtown business lunch crowd. In and out in 40 minutes."
Stay tuned, says Diogostine. Other plans include 15 to 20 TVs, a larger patio and live music.
Outpost Tap House + Tavern, 909 W Kennedy Blvd.; hours to be advised; Visit outposttampa.com or call (813) 425-3647.
Craig Greabell is quickly getting to like Squaresville's new digs on Bay to Bay Boulevard, where he now sells retro/vintage fashions and mid-century home décor.
"I'm going to miss the south Howard Avenue bar scene and restaurant traffic," said Greabell, who relocated to a former antique shop April 9. He started the groovy business in March 1998 to sell pre-owned home furnishings from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. "The showroom looks the set of Mad Men to the Brady Bunch house," he said, "with a little bit of Austin Powers."
Clothing flashes back from poodle skirts to tie-dye to funky wigs, polyester disco threads and vintage rock band and sports T-shirts, including Bucs and Rowdies. "Some items are original vintage, some sourced new, like platform shoes and go-go boots that would be too old to wear," Grabell said.
Squaresville, 3224 W Bay to Bay Blvd., is open Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Visit squaresville.com or call (813) 259-9944.
Studio creates friendships
Friendship blooms at Josie Reed's new business, Potter's House Studio. Friends helped her renovate the homey cottage on south West Shore Boulevard, adjacent to Earl's Garden Shop. And every day since opening April 13, customers are making friends as they paint pots and vases, lawn gnomes and pottery mushrooms, housewares, platters and kids figurines.
Reed leased the space, sight unseen, with Walton Mathews, the owner of Earl's, who she met at church choir practice at age 11. "He and other warmhearted friends worked tirelessly to help with extensive repairs."
A former English teacher and writing coach, Reed's design center provides nearly 100 colors of paints and glazes, and tutorials on stenciling, faux painting and more. Customers can paint inside the cozy studio or outside in the garden.
On April 27, Reed will host Create for a Cure for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research (verabradley.org). Participants donate $35 to paint a flower pot or serving platter at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. The first 48 people to sign up receive a free Vera Bradley tote.
Potter's House Studio, 3627 S. West Shore Blvd. is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; till 9 p.m Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday, open Monday for group team building. Visit thepotters housestudio.com or call (813) 832-2757.
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