HYDE PARK — Judging from a recent weeknight visit, finding SoHo Backyard is worth the hunt. Hint: It's hidden behind a gourmet pizzeria at the intersection of Armenia and Swann avenues.
"Quite a few folks have found us since we opened April 18, and are already regulars," said co-owner Jeff Glenn. He and Bo Crusoe turned a former office space into "high-end industrial-meets-secret garden gastropub," he said.
Previously, Glenn tended bar at the Rack and the Bad Monkey while Crusoe spent 10 years in the Tallahassee hospitality arena.
Black-and-white vintage Tampa photographs and large TV screens hang over a selection of craft and domestic beers, wine and liquor. Chef Narja Campbell can be seen in the kitchen preparing Florida-Caribbean fusion tapas (try the duck wings and goat cheese stuffed figs).
The full menu — salads, flatbreads, burgers — is available "right up till closing," Glenn adds.
Topping the chart: Cilantro coconut rum gator skewers, $17; Thai chili gator ribs, $22; and fried lobster basket, $18. Brunch service starts soon.
The SoHo Backyard is located at 610 S Armenia Ave. and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Call (813) 284-5928.
Palma Ceia welcomes the CASS gallery
Contemporary Art Space and Studio enhances the art community with a May 31 opening on S MacDill Avenue, just north of Bay to Bay Boulevard.
Co-owners Cassie and Jake Greatens are eager to contribute to an active art scene of "collectors, students and enthusiasts who want to push the envelope a bit," she said.
"We're museum and gallery junkies. We've traveled all over and it's been our dream to open our own gallery," said Cassie, noting how her name spells out their vision.
"Small- to big-name artists, local to Shanghai," might be featured in the main gallery. Jake's personal studio occupies the rear of the building. First up: works by University of Tampa painting instructor Chris Valle and celebrity pop artist Michael Turchin of Hollywood, Calif. That display ends July 3 and inquiries to participate in future exhibits are welcome.
Both University of Tampa grads, Jake received a fine arts degree with a concentration in sculpture; Cassie earned both undergraduate and master's degrees there. Future plans include a gallery art crawl, art acquisition consultation and workshops.
CASS, 2722 S MacDill Ave., will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment Sunday and Monday. Visit cass contemporary.com or (813) 839-7135.
For your health
"Vitamin Guru John" is staying to share his wisdom. Chef Mike Beyruti will continue to fill the cafe and deli case with healthy options.
But other changes are in store for the Village Health Market on S MacDill Avenue.
"It closed and we reopened the same day, March 15," said Tampa native Shannon Burnett, one of several owners who have rebranded the 10,000-square-foot store as Palma Ceia Village Health Market.
The shelves are about 90 percent restocked with "affordable, new brands of natural products," Burnett said, as well as organic fruits and vegetables. Look for more locally sourced items, such as Buddy Brew coffee, and expect nutrition classes to resume later this summer.
Palma Ceia Village Health Market & Cafe, 3225 S MacDill Ave., is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Visit palmaceiahealthmarket.com or call (813) 831-6065.
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