Monday, October 15, 2018
Dining

Rooster and the Till owners will open a taqueria in Sparkman Wharf

TAMPA — Sparkman Wharf, a part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa neighborhood, has revealed the first major restaurant of its promised ten regional chefs and restaurateurs to join the lineup of culinary concepts.

Two of Tampa’s most celebrated restaurateurs will do something entirely new: Chef Ferrell Alvarez and partner Ty Rodriguez of Seminole Heights’ farm-to-table restaurant Rooster & the Till will debut Gallito, a modern taqueria.

All the restaurants planned for Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners’ project in what was Channelside Bay Plaza will be announced serially in the next week. Like the others, Gallito will focus on street food and be housed in a repurposed shipping container with murals paying tribute to natural Florida. It joins the already announced Foundation Coffee and Whatever Pops (artisanal ice pops). In addition to the outdoor dining garden, lawn and beer garden, Sparkman Wharf will include 180,000 square feet of office lofts and 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, all of it to be completed in early 2020.

RELATED: Channelside Bay Plaza to be remade as Sparkman Wharf, with waterfront lawn, beer garden, outdoor dining and loft-style offices

Alvarez, who with Rodriguez will also open Nebraska Mini Mart as early as this weekend, felt the opportunity at Sparkman Wharf was too good to pass up.

"It is a benefit to the company because of the location, it will give us an opportunity to capture some new customer base," he said. "And it’s great being in the first part of what will inform the Water Street project, as well as witnessing the revitalization of Channelside."

Alvarez always wanted to do a restaurant focused on real Mexican flavors, with real tortillas.

"We’re going to be sourcing heirloom corn varieties and fresh masa," he said. "We’re in talks with Hacienda out of Los Angeles. They don’t distribute to anyone in Florida yet, but we’re going to figure it out."

For Rodriguez, Gallito (pronounced guy-E-toe) represents an opportunity to help shape Tampa’s future.

"This is, first of all, about the progression of Tampa, of pushing it in a new direction. (Sparkman Wharf) will utterly transform Channelside. Channelside and Ybor City represent two areas where we’ve always aspired to greatness. And we’re honored to be in this lineup that’s a who’s-who of Tampa cuisine. Ferrell and I frequent almost all of the restaurants of the vendors who will operate here."

Try These: Tampa Bay’s Top 50 Restaurants for 2018

Because the Rooster team was among the earliest vendors courted for the project, they had carte blanche on the concept they would create.

"We had to submit a concept and sample menus in advance to make sure we’re not being redundant," Alvarez said. He was a 2017 James Beard Best Chef South semifinalist and has recently been tapped by Walmart as a partner in a culinary pilot program focusing attention of locally grown produce, a program that will be filmed in a program called Rediscovering America, five Beard semifinalists paired with five farms in cities across the country.

Hall on Franklin and Armature Works, both in Tampa Heights, have proven that food hall concepts can be embraced by the local dining public. For Alvarez, multi-vendor concepts of this sort have advantages for diners and vendors alike.

"That’s part of (Sparkman Wharf’s) genius, they’ve curated really great tenants so that it becomes more valuable for the other vendors."

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Comments
After more than two decades, Davis Islands' 220 East still brings its A game

After more than two decades, Davis Islands' 220 East still brings its A game

220 East on Davis Islands is a rarity, a restaurant that has stood the test of time but still ably caters to local tastes.
Published: 10/15/18
Where to find Tampa Bay Halloween parties, pumpkin patches and events

Where to find Tampa Bay Halloween parties, pumpkin patches and events

Experience everything from kid-friendly events to horrifying haunted houses to spooky art projects this weekend in Tampa Bay.
Published: 10/11/18
Top things to do this weekend Eddie Izzard, A Night at the Museum, birding and nature festival, Sesame Street Live and more

Top things to do this weekend Eddie Izzard, A Night at the Museum, birding and nature festival, Sesame Street Live and more

Catch a comedian reflect on his life, spend a wild night at the museum and go birding this weekend.
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/12/18
Ernest Hooper: Tampa Bay Food Fight brings chefs, foodies together for good cause

Ernest Hooper: Tampa Bay Food Fight brings chefs, foodies together for good cause

The participants will fight for bragging rights, and the chance to help aspiring culinary artists.
Published: 10/10/18
Lighthouse For The Blind proves to be a beacon for the visually impaired

Lighthouse For The Blind proves to be a beacon for the visually impaired

Enduring Tampa nonprofit readies community for National White Cane Day on Oct. 15
Published: 10/10/18
What’s happening in food: Florida Aquarium Brews by the Bay, Red Tide relief at Sea Dog

What’s happening in food: Florida Aquarium Brews by the Bay, Red Tide relief at Sea Dog

The Florida Aquariums’s signature beer and food event is back. Plus, learn how to get margaritas for 60 cents.
Published: 10/10/18
5 things to do under $5 Oct. 11-17

5 things to do under $5 Oct. 11-17

From free flights for kids to a pie festival, here’s the best cheap fun this week.
Published: 10/10/18
Pizza is better made with New York water. Here’s how we know.

Pizza is better made with New York water. Here’s how we know.

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s the water. It has been the mantra of New York City pizzerias and bagel bakeries for decades. It is why my overhead compartment smells strongly of garlic and onion on flights south from LaGuardia or JFK; it is why To...
Published: 10/08/18
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ star Ronny Chieng to bring stand-up act to Tampa

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ star Ronny Chieng to bring stand-up act to Tampa

Ronny Chieng, star of Crazy Rich Asians and a Daily Show corresponded, is bringing his stand-up act to Tampa.
Published: 10/08/18
Review: St. Pete’s Crafty Squirrel is not too crafty after all

Review: St. Pete’s Crafty Squirrel is not too crafty after all

ST. PETERSBURG -- There is food I like ironically. When my people are out of town, I might curl up cradling a tuna noodle casserole with the Durkee onions on top and hope no one stops by. I buy Velveeta once in a blue moon but may fret about who̵...
Published: 10/08/18