Taken to new heights: Heights Public Market
Let's review. Slated to open this summer, the Heights Public Market is a repurposing of Tampa Heights' Armature Works building, a 70,000-square-foot former storage and maintenance facility for Tampa's streetcars. It will house multiple event spaces, a shared workspace, a rooftop social area and a whole bunch of exciting food concepts. Already announced are Ichicoro Ramen, (ramen shown top left), Union by Commune + Co (coffee), Fine and Dandy (cocktails), Butcher & BBQ (meat, charcuterie, etc.), Ava (pizza shown), Inside The Box Café, O Cocina Taqueria and Swami Juice. But wait, there's more. It was recently announced that Graze 1910 will be added to the mix. The idea here: Breakfast. All. Day. It will be a retro eatery serving an array of comfort food classics from Raymond Menendez, the managing partner who helped birth and spearhead Tampa's popular diner Daily Eats. Look forward to citrus glazed waffles, an array of signature toasts and classic egg dishes. Graze 1910 will be located at the south entrance of Armature Works along the Hillsborough River, with interior and exterior counter seating and two takeout stations.
Beer Project: Art Lounge
Do you like beer? Do you dig art? Here's one that will scratch a couple of itches. St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts did this last year and it was a hoot. They have invited area brewing companies to create Florida-themed limited batch "liquid art" for a one-night-only exhibition and tasting party on Friday called the Beer Project: Art + Beer Lounge. Participating brewing companies include: Abita Brewing Co., Big Storm Brewing Co., Bootleggers Brewworx, Bury Me Brewing Co., Cigar City Cider & Mead, Flying Boat Brewing Co., Green Bench Brewing Co., Green Bench Cider & Mead, Marker 48 Brewing Co., Stilt House Brewing Co. The evening will also include a special Florida-themed beer in celebration of the upcoming "Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration," crafted by 2016's Best of Show winner and the St. Pete Homebrew Club. The taps will be open at 7 p.m. at 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. $60, $45 for members in advance; $75 at door; $30 designated drivers. Includes beer tastings, glassware, food and the galleries.
Roadtrip: Destination Sarasota
It's the best time of year to take a drive down to Sarasota. The weather is still spectacular and most of the snowbirds have completed their migration back north. Thus, more restaurant seats for you. Here's a fun fact: Sarasota has the highest concentration of Zagat-rated restaurants in Florida. Oh, and Dr. Beach says they also have some of the nicest beaches. But before the sand, the dining: Savor Sarasota is the area's annual restaurant week (really two weeks), running through June 14, with 60 restaurants participating. Each offers a prix-fixe multi-course meal for just $16 per person for lunch and $32 per person for dinner. And with a spread from Peruvian to French and a whole lot in between, you'll taste your way around the world without breaking the bank. Make a rez, tell them you're coming for the special menu, and badabing. See savorsarasota.com for participating restaurants.
And there's more culinary excitement brewing in Sarasota right now. The independent restaurant association, called the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, is offering 30 percent offdiscount gift certificates right now (get $50 for $35, $25 for $17.50, $20 for $14, $15 for $11). Go to sarasotaoriginals.instagift.com, add gift certificates to your cart from a list of more than 60 restaurants , check out securely online and print certificates from your home computer or e-mail them as a gift. Discount gift certificates are good for the food portion of your restaurant bill, and expire six months from purchase. Only one certificate may be redeemed per table.