TAMPA — Opened just four fast years ago, Buddy Brew has quadrupled its Kennedy Boulevard space, growing the café from 14 to 48 seats and tripling roasting capacity with the addition of a new roaster twice the size of the old one.
When an adjacent production studio moved out, owners Susan and Dave Ward took over that vacated space as well as the second floor to occupy the entire building. Coffee beans, sourced from around the world, are sold online and wholesale to some 75 accounts, including Whole Foods.
The expansion allows more production space, more bean storage and advanced training for professional baristas — and eventually the general public. Also coming soon: a bigger menu, later hours and a beer and wine license.
The cafe's hip Seattle coffeehouse ambiance comes from seating at communal tables, a stainless steel bar and a few armchairs, a cool vibe enhanced by artist Ron Francis' nostalgic mural.
The bigger venue, Susan said, "expands the hospitality where people meet and community happens. Our motto, 'Brew good, do good,' is only getting stronger."
The USF Alumni Society of Entrepreneurs has also named Buddy Brew Coffee's founders as the 2014 Entrepreneurs of the Year.
Buddy Brew roastery and coffee bar, 2020 W Kennedy Blvd., is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m, to 4 p.m. Sunday for now. Evening hours starting soon. Visit buddybrewcoffee.com or call (813) 258-2739.
Toast Wine & Café welcomes neighbors
Palma Ceia denizens toasted the opening of Toast Wine & Café on the corner of Manhattan Avenue and El Prado Boulevard in late March, the second outpost for the friendly New Tampa restaurant.
As the sun comes up, giant mugs of coffee and lattes accompany omelets and French toast. All morning, people stop by after Jazzercise or a visit to nearby Platt Library. By noon, they are ordering salads, quesdillas, flatbreads and sandwiches, such as marinated Portobello or roast beef burgundy.
By late afternoon, 12 craft beers are poured on tap, 12 wines by the glass and the bartender is greeting guests by name.
"We are going to be the Cheers of the neighborhood," said general manager Stone Pilkenton, eyeing the outdoor deck providing biscuit and bowl service for four-legged customers. Pilkenton has spent 25 years in the restaurant business.
A selection of wines are sold by the bottle, $13 to $35, plus a Proprietor's Wine List is available, ranging from $50 to $135.
"No corkage fee," Pilkenton said, "and you can take home what you don't finish."
Catch live entertainment every Friday and Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m.
Toast Wine & Café, 3501 S Manhattan Ave., is open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; till midnight Friday and Saturday and till 9 p.m. Sunday. Visit toastwineandcafe.com or call (813) 831-1114.
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