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Restaurant News

  1. After 37 years, waitress Ruth Croudy is retiring from Munch's

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — Larry Munch bought a magical spray this year at the Florida State Fair that was supposed to cure foot pain. No dice. After 37 years, Ruth Croudy will wait on her last table Sunday at Munch's Restaurant and Sundries. She was going to try to stick it out until April or May, but her feet are killing …

    Ruth Croudy, 63, gives a playful punch to customer Buzz Torrey, as his wife, Priscilla, laughs, at Munch’s in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. Croudy is retiring after 37 years of taking diners’ orders at the iconic restaurant.
  2. At Dickey's Barbecue Pit, the food is slow cooked but served up fast


    BROOKSVILLE — Entrepreneur David Ambrose and restaurateur Steven Phillips had taken good measure of local appetites when choosing a Dickey's Barbecue Pit franchise to beef up the dining-out menu options in Hernando County.

    Jeremiah Jagermauth, front, carves roasts under the warming light while owner-manager Steven Phillips, next in line, prepares to pile the Texas-style barbecue on a hoagie roll at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Brooksville.
  3. Yelp suit on reviews stirs the pot for local restaurateurs


    Don Arvin, co-owner of St. Petersburg's Casita Taqueria, routinely combs through his online reviews.

    Don Arvin, co-owner of St. Petersburg’s Casita Taqueria, says a bad review on Yelp! may be written by a disgruntled ex-employee and a good review by the chef’s mom. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  4. Strawberry hamburger, funnel bacon on a stick among Florida Strawberry Festival food


    With a cookie-crusted strawberry hamburger on the menu, the venerable Florida Strawberry Festival opening today in Plant City can rival any of the food curiosities found at the biggest state fairs.

    At the Strawberry Ice Cream stand on Wednesday, Brad McGrotha, 42, of Thomasville, Ga., prepares for the fair’s opening today. It runs through March 8. For times and ticket prices, visit flstrawberryfestival.com.
  5. Cooking for one (or two) means thinking about storage, preparation, selection


    Consider it one of life's mysteries: If 60 percent of American households consist of one or two people, why are zucchini sold in packages of four?

    Ideally, you can shop for vegetables in whatever amounts you need, but if what you want is prepackaged, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your grocer to break up the package so you can buy only what you need. Your purchasing mantra should be “no waste.”
  6. Hottest restaurant newcomers at Sundial in St. Petersburg off to ambitious start

    Food & Dining


    At the end, BayWalk's restaurants had dwindled to a few stalwarts. There were spectacular failures like Dan Marino's, slow deaths like Johnny Rockets and even serendipitous defections like Gratzzi, which has clearly found its groove a few blocks south of the now-reinvented Sundial restaurant/shopping …

    The “What grows together, goes together” plate at FarmTable Kitchen includes prosciutto di parma, Taleggio cheese and Locale artisan olive loaf.
  7. Teas join the cocktail hour fun

    Bars & Spirits

    Darjeeling and Earl Grey: They conjure images of crustless cucumber sandwiches, quilted cozies that look like pope hats and delicate bone china cups wielded by the dowager countess on Downton Abbey. Tea comes with bag(gage), but in the past couple of years it has taken a steep turn (my last tea pun, promise), …

    Berry Bliss Champagne Cocktail
  8. Barbecue in Brandon, global food in Tampa, cupcakes in Carrollwood


    TAMPA — After nearly a year of sitting idle, there's a new tenant at the open-air pavilion property that serves as the center point of more than 10 acres behind the Brandon Harley-Davidson.

    Andrea Michele Cooke holds a rib platter featured at Scooter’s Saloon, located behind the Brandon Harley-Davidson. 
  9. Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg hopes for June opening at former Tramor Cafeteria


    ST. PETERSBURG — If the new owners' vision of the historic Tramor Cafeteria comes true, 500 people will be up on their benches swigging beer made in Munich and singing Sweet Caroline by June. (The Neil Diamond hit is a staple in German beer gardens.)

    Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg owners Joe Matuschka and son Mike, both of Chicago, stand in the former Tramor on Jan. 29. The German beer hall, now undergoing renovation, is expected to open in June.
  10. Culver's restaurant plans second Pasco County location


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Culver's, the popular restaurant best known in the Midwest for its ButterBurgers, plans to open a second location in Pasco County, and its target audience now will be the shoppers at the Tampa Premium Outlets mall.

  11. Tampa's Greg Baker, Bern's Steak House score James Beard semifinalist nods

    Food & Dining

    Greg Baker of Tampa's Refinery and the new Fodder & Shine was once again Tampa Bay's best hope, scoring his fourth James Beard Foundation semifinalist nod for Best Chef: South (the Refinery received a nomination in 2011 for Best New Restaurant in the United States). Bern's Steak House also picked up a semifinalist …

    Greg Baker of Tampa's Refinery and the new Fodder & Shine scored his fourth James Beard Foundation semifinalist nod for Best Chef: South. [AUSTIN ANTHONY   |   Times (2013)]
  12. Three sophisticated restaurants up the ante in Pasco County

    Food & Dining


    These Pasco County towns have seldom been considered dining destinations. There are outliers like the lovely Zen Forrest or the see-and-be-seen Grille 54, but the communities have been underserved by ambitious, pushing-the-envelope kinds of places. Until now. A trio of newcomers has …

    The Smoked Old Fashioned, Craft Street Kitchen’s signature drink, begins with fire on cedar. Buffalo Trace bourbon, smoke essence, demerara and walnut bitters complete the cocktail.
  13. Where to go in Tampa Bay for Mardi Gras eats, beads and more

    Food & Dining

    A short French lesson: Mardi is Tuesday, and if you're gras you're a little chubs. Put them together and we're talking Fat Tuesday, the annual oh-geez-it's-almost-Ash-Wednesday frenzy of eating, drinking and Liberace-level bead wearing. Tampa Bay has a number of eminently reasonable places for pre-Lenten …

    Jay’s Marketplace is offering authentic muffulettas for Fat Tuesday, with round Leidenheimer breads imported from New Orleans and the celebrated house olive salad.
  14. 18 new restaurants opening in St. Petersburg: Urban Comfort, Pom Pom's, JusThai, more

    Food & Dining


    St. Petersburg restaurants have reported monster numbers for high season already, with low gas prices, a more robust economy and astoundingly lousy weather elsewhere contributing to a noticeable uptick in tourist numbers and even the frequency with which locals eat out. In short, business is booming …

    Stuart Clements (front left) and Travis Cliff work to stock the Oyster and Crudo bar at Sea Salt, Restaurant Oyster Bar Lounge, in St. Petersburg.
  15. Cody's, Sea Dog join forces in Clearwater

    Food & Dining


    The familiar roadside signs are there. An aged, clapboard facade gives that roadhouse feel. That and the peanuts on the floor.

    Cody’s Roadhouse and Sea Dog Brewing have merged in a new business concept that occupies one building. Cody’s has the restaurant space and Sea Dog has brewing tanks and a separate tasting room with a bar and some tables. Cody’s also serves fresh-brewed Sea Dog.