NOW OPEN: DONUT EXPERIMENT
Debbie Waldecker has just opened the Donut Experiment in Indian Shores. Things start with a fresh-made, warm cake doughnut and then you pick from a huge selection of icings and toppings. Yours can be as simple as plain or glazed or as crazy as key lime, maple bacon or sriracha. This is an outpost of the one on Anna Maria Island (seriously one of my favorite doughnut places ever), so I’m eager to head over there for a couple of "experiments" (vanilla icing and raspberry drizzle? Caramel icing and coconut topping?) and a cup of coffee. 19705 A Gulf Blvd. (727) 240-6282. thedonutexperiment.com.
OPENING MONDAY: OAK & STONE
This one has been a long time coming. Sarasota’s Oak & Stone will open its second location July 9 in downtown St. Petersburg next to the Hyatt Place on Second Street N. On opening day, the lunch menu will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. followed by a special, invitation-only evening event. Then business as usual starts Tuesday. The highlight is the region’s largest self-serve beer-only tap wall (you access it via a techy wristband) featuring approximately 50 rotating varieties of American craft beers, with a special emphasis on St. Pete breweries such as 3 Daughters, Cycle and Green Bench, as well as regional breweries. The menu focuses on wood-fired artisan pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, soups, entrees and salads, with a full bar and extensive list of wines. During opening week, Oak & Stone will donate a portion of sales to Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg. The restaurant also plans a series of tap takeovers in its early weeks. 199 Central Ave. (727) 565-4064. oakandstone.com.
ORLANDO NEWBIES: TERRALINA, URBAN PANTRY
Terralina Crafted Italian just opened in Disney Springs in the space formerly known as Portobello. Set along the shores of Lake Buena Vista, it was inspired by the design and lifestyle of Northern Italy’s famous lakes like Lake Como. The newest addition to Disney Springs will offer al fresco dining and authentic Italian flavors curated by James Beard award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and Orlando native chef Justin Plank.
As part of its transformation, Terralina has a newly installed veranda overlooking Riverboat Square with sweeping waterfront views, perfect for enjoying an aperitivo before heading in to the main dining room with its wood-burning oven. A signature dish is the antipasti tower, a first-course vertical with a display of cured meats, artisanal cheeses and house-made pickled vegetables along with house-made pecorino truffle potato chips. (407) 934-8888. terralinacrafteditalian.com.
Also in Orlando, Universal’s Aventura Hotel (Universal’s sixth) in August will introduce something new to the theme park food scene. Urban Pantry, pictured above, will be the hotel’s modern food hall, inspired by world-famous food halls and markets in cities like San Francisco and London. Each food station will serve wine and beer themed to the cuisine and designed to complement the flavors of the meal. A roast station will feature entrees like cuts of lamb and prime rib, plus chicken, salmon and paella, then there’s a pizza station, a wok station and a burger station. After dinner, head upstairs to check out the view at Bar 17 Bistro, a rooftop bar and grill featuring small plates and global cuisine.
SPLITSVILLE: TEMPORARY SPLITS
After 15 years, Tampa’s Splitsville in what was Channelside has closed temporarily this summer. It will reopen featuring a new interior look plus indoor bocce ball, golf simulators and other games. In addition to the new look and feel, there will be a new menu featuring fried chicken, deviled eggs and shrimp and grits to add to the pizzas and nachos it has become known for. Since the opening of the original location in Tampa, in 2003, Splitsville has grown to include locations in Anaheim, Calif.; Foxboro, Mass.; Miami; and Orlando. splitsvillelanes.com.