Restaurant news

  1. Urban Juice to open; tot-to-teen salon; boxing club begins presales


    TAMPA — A fresh-pressed juice bar with a tech lounge on the first floor, a state-of-the-art fitness center and spa on the second floor and a video conference center on the third floor — that's the vision for the Urban Juice Co., opening in mid May in "the Franklin," a historic building on Franklin Street.

  2. Melting Pot seeks to add franchises in U.S., Canada


    The Melting Pot, a Tampa-based fondue restaurant chain, is seeking to expand nationwide and across Canada.

  3. Review: Oxford Exchange weds booze, select suppertimes

    Food & Dining


    When Oxford Exchange opened near the end of 2012 it was the hottest thing going. That is, at breakfast, lunchtime and for afternoon tea because owner Blake Casper and his sister Allison Adams weren't open for dinner. There were enough moving pieces to keep track of: the restaurant with its greenhouse atrium, …

    A Lobster BL Tasty with avocado, applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomato, crostini and Meyer lemon vinaigrette at Oxford Exchange in Tampa.
  4. Review: Pizzeria Gregario, a delicious plus for Safety Harbor dining

    Food & Dining


    Something is definitely happening in downtown Safety Harbor. Longtime restaurants like Cello's and Green Springs Bistro have been joined recently by a robust crop of exciting independent restaurants: Parts of Paris, Southern Fresh, Nantucket Bucket and, about a year ago, Pizzeria Gregario. This last …

    Greg Seymour at Pizzeria Gregario in Safety Harbor. It’s an unexpected and most welcome find. The pizzeria is a stickler about ingredients, sourcing most veggies and proteins from local farms. Seymour has a tremendous pedigree, having worked at fine dining restaurants in California’s Napa Valley and Rochester, N.Y. Family ties brought him to the Tampa Bay area, where he fell in love with the community of Safety Harbor. 
  5. BellaBrava owners hire Top Chef's Jeffrey Jew for new restaurant project

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — After a short turn on Bravo's Top Chef at the end of 2012, Washington, D.C., rising star Jeffrey Jew found himself relocating to St. Petersburg's Old Northeast neighborhood. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who had cooked in Florence, London and New York, he was, he said, …

    Jeffrey Jew
  6. Review: DeLucia bakery, cafe has appetizing start in downtown St. Pete

    Food & Dining


    I blew a transmission in Italy. I rode the clutch; I cannot lie. But it was the fallout that I found telling. Italians were willing to help me, they were willing to fix a car, rent me a new car, drive me somewhere, make me a snack, whatever. Just not, like, right now. Or any time soon. There was a …

    Bakery chef Gianluca DeLucia holds up a pizza made with Italian sausage, fresh tomatoes and arugula at DeLucia Italian Bakery Cafe in downtown St. Petersburg. DeLucia and the owners are from Italy and focus on using only natural sourdough yeast, without preservatives.
  7. Longest Table event brings together restaurants, diners to raise money for WUSF

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — Joggers and cyclists on Bayshore Drive craned their necks. Was it a wedding, a bar mitzvah? Set squarely in the middle of the street, the fancy white-clothed dinner tables adorned with aqua blue runners were part of the first-ever Longest Table event Thursday evening to benefit WUSF. Masterminded …

  8. St. Pete Brewing opens; Sea Dog rolls out the barrels

    Bars & Spirits

    National Beer Day was April 7, but locally, Thursday was more exciting.

    After a long wait, St. Pete Brewing Co. finally opens its doors at 544 First Ave. N in St. Petersburg.
  9. Head chef dishes on Ava, opening this summer in SoHo

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — Michael Stewart, owner of Tampa's 717 South, was in Los Angeles eating dinner at Bestia, Ori Menashe's hot regional Italian restaurant. He was checking out the Acunto wood-fired oven, a very expensive toy he himself had just purchased for his soon-to-open Ava, a collaboration with Tampa Bay Rays manager …

  10. Lobster Haven is a bit of Maine heaven right here

    Food & Dining


    Temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have increased every year since 1992, accelerating rapidly since 2004. I don't know what climate-change deniers make of that, but for the past couple of years all this warm water has had one big upside: plentiful Maine lobsters. In 2012 and 2013 there were record-breaking …

    The U-Conn lobster roll ($21.99 with fresh lobster or $14.99 with frozen, or as they call it “re fresh”) is a super buttery hotdog bun packed with glorious meat, no filler, not a lot of sauce or mayo so the flavor of lobster and butter are the stars.
  11. Review: 717 South in Tampa should be on your list of regulars

    Food & Dining


    I've always liked the space at 717 South, sprawling but with tables set tight enough that it feels intimate, and a convivial bar with a cocktail-shaker soundtrack. I've always liked its art deco canvases, vivid but with a slightly psychedelic tweakiness. And I've always enjoyed talking to owner Michael …

    Yellowfin tuna with spicy chopped tuna, vermicelli, coconut vinegar slaw and wakame salad at 717 South in Tampa. 
  12. Innovation, timing create sweet spot for Florida blueberries


    In the early years of Florida's foray into growing blueberries, there were a lot of naysayers. We were a citrus state, a tomato state, a strawberry state.

    The area of blueberries harvested in Florida has roughly tripled over the last 10 years, and this year’s crop is likely to reach 25 million pounds.
  13. To promote downtown Tampa, mayor announces Mac & Cheese Throwdown


    TAMPA — The mayor who welcomed food trucks to Lykes Gaslight Square and dyed the Hills­borough River shamrock green has a new party planned for downtown Tampa.

  14. Review: Black Palm moves and gussies up Jungle Prada venue

    Food & Dining


    Some say Al Capone was part owner of the Jungle Prada nightclub that was once here. There's talk that Babe Ruth got hitched here. Others say a secret underground tunnel at the nightclub was used by bootleggers during Prohibition, and that it's built on an Indian burial ground. And most folks agree …

    Paella Marinera ($25 for one, $45 for two) at the Black Palm, at 1700 Park St. N in St. Petersburg.
  15. Downtown St. Petersburg restaurant scene sees changes

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown restaurant scene is heating up, with a big handful of newcomers, concept changes and personnel adjustments.

    Primi Ristorante Italiano has closed, but Bombay Grill, St. Petersburg Brewing, and Calypso Rum Bar & Island Grill are here or on the way.