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Restaurant News

  1. New chef at Tampa's Roux makes things more Cajun, less Creole

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — She won them over from the stomach up.

    Bonnie Breaux says she got her “culinary training at the institute of life.”
  2. Dining Planner: Best smoked cocktails, a secret menu at Il Ritorno and a place for fresh bread

    Food & Dining

    WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: COCKTAILS

    Ready your extinguisher. They're everywhere. Bartenders all over the Tampa Bay area are turning to new tools to up their game. One of those is smoke, which comes in many forms.

    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.
  3. Review: St. Petersburg's the Mill wows with decor, thoughtfully prepared food and drinks

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Burlap and chicken wire create a textural backdrop for a mounted pitchfork over the bar. One wall is the lustrous tooled leather of a rodeo star's lucky saddle, another is an installation of rust-freckled gears and cogs and wheels and pipes. A repurposed footed bathtub becomes the ladies' room sink; …

    The Mill, at the former location of JoJo’s in Citta in downtown St. Petersburg, opened in July.
  4. American Social and Thai Prime to join the Tampa restaurant roster

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — With a view of the Tampa Bay Convention Center, Amalie Arena, Tampa General Hospital and all of Jeff Vinik's highly anticipated Channelside construction, Harbour Island is looking like prime restaurant territory.

    American Social sports bar, already in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, is slated to open next August on Harbour Island.
  5. Dining planner: Best places to get cheese and charcuterie around Tampa Bay

    Food & Dining

    ABOVE BOARDS: CHEESE AND CHARCUTERIE

    At Annata Wine Bar in St. Petersburg, you can pick three, five or seven different meats and cheeses to join an assortment of nuts, fruits and olives. The pick seven option, pictured, costs $25.
  6. St. Petersburg food truck owner to compete on Food Network's 'Cutthroat Kitchen'

    Food & Dining

    Longtime married folks say pick a spouse who has the power to surprise you. Newlywed Mee Ae Wolney hit paydirt. Last October she and Dan Wolney started the Mmm Bap Korean food truck, which mostly motors the streets of St. Petersburg. Unbeknownst to Mee Ae, Dan submitted her name as a contestant on the Food Network show …

    Mee Ae Wolney is owner of Mmm Bap Korean food truck in St. Petersburg.
  7. Starbucks is adding real pumpkin to its seasonal Pumpkin Spice Lattes

    Food & Dining

    This week, Starbucks finally realized it can no longer get away with not having real pumpkin in its massively popular Pumpkin Spice Latte drink — not when other food companies like General Mills and Starting this year, your Pumpkin Spice Latte will come with a dose of real pumpkin. [Associated Press]

  8. Celebrity chef Marc Murphy to open a restaurant at the Seminole Hard Rock

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa announced Monday it will partner with New York celebrity chef Marc Murphy to debut a new as-yet-unnamed Mediterranean restaurant to take the place of the Green Room, with a target opening date in November.

    The Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa has announced a new restaurant from celebrity chef Mark Murphy (he's from Chopped) coming in November. The Mediterranean place will be "a calming oasis with a bright atmosphere and a restrained palette of warm neutral materials." With the lackluster presence of the promised celeb chefs at Locale in St. Pete, this could be the area's biggest name on a restaurant. 

courtesy Seminole Hard Rock
  9. Review: Chop Chop Shop needs refinement, but its Korean fusion flavors are worth seeking out

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA

    Last month I wrote about a new trend in the food truck business. Folks are taking the wheels off, starting with a truck in order to pave the way for a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Steve Sera and his wife, Olivia, were among the examples I gave. On June 27 they debuted Chop Chop Shop in Seminole Heights after …

    Pork belly with orange sauce is accompanied by soba noodles, Russian pickled mushrooms, purple slaw and Viet-style pickled carrot threads.
  10. Dining Planner: Changes at Rococo Steak and a BellaBrava birthday

    Food & Dining

    CHANGING FACES: NEW CHEFS

    St. Petersburg's Rococo Steak has just completed a major expansion into the space that previously housed the Brass Tap. The project brings the restaurant footprint, set in the 1926 YWCA building, to 14,000 square feet and adds 50 new seats. An impressive glass-enclosed, …

    In addition to the expansion, Rococo Steak has hired renowned chef Matthew Rainey to head culinary operations.
  11. Review: Bartaco in Hyde Park buzzes with good vibes, affordable eats, solid cocktails

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA

    Pardon me while I do a little math. Carry the two; now add these two together. Okay, I've got it: I've reviewed approximately 3,604 restaurants.

    Bartaco uses fresh ingredients in all their drinks, such as jalapeno and tomatillo peppers, ginger, cucumber, thyme and watermelon.
  12. Dining Planner: Tampa Bay's best places for s'mores; new restaurants coming to Dunedin, St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    CHILDHOOD REDUX: S'MORES DAY

    Elsewhere in the country this is prime camping time, crickets blabbing as you drift gently off in the warm summer night. Tampa Bay, that tent is Dante's vestibule of Hell at the very least, if, that is, it's not also pouring. So, in order to celebrate National S'mores Day on …

    Stack of s’mores.
  13. Staff shake-ups come to St. Petersburg's Locale Market

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Locale Market opened in December, the two-story, 20,000-square-foot collaboration between celebrity chefs Michael Mina and Don Pintabona was the hottest game in town, with hundreds of would-be shoppers queuing for the opportunity to browse wares from 11 different kitchens. San Francisco-based …

    Chefs Michael Mina, left, and Don Pintabona opened Locale Market in December. Pintabona relocated to New York but is still culinary director and partner at Locale. [BOYZELL HOSEY   |   Times] 
  14. Restaurant review: St. Pete's Urban Comfort needs some tinkering

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Andy Salyards thinks big. He opened Urban Brew and BBQ toward the end of 2013 having little barbecue experience, but assured in the knowledge that he was filling a hole in the St. Pete dining scene. He would load up his Cookshack smoker late evening and come morning the fragrant meats were ready to …

    The fried chicken at Urban Comfort in St. Petersburg is a solid offering. The restaurant is housed inside a former 
1950s-era gas station.
  15. Food truck owners set up shop in brick-and-mortar restaurants

    Food & Dining

    The wheels are coming off.

    Remember when food trucks were a hot new trend? In 2011 the Tampa Bay area started with about 13 food trucks; today that number is more than 150, with new ones coming onboard each week.

     Jennifer Byrd (pictured), Scott Brown, and Misty Brown, food truck owners of Aloha To Go and Dude And His Food, have merged their ideas together to create the brick and mortar restaurant The Aloha Dude, located in Island Shores. "What's exciting is being able to expand my menu and watching people come in from far away who have followed the truck, just to get Hawaiian food. I think we are very innovative in our concept of merging two trucks to do one spot," Byrd said. [SOPHIA NAHLI ALLISON  |   Times]