TAMPA — Elephantine portions live up to expectations at the Pachyderm Wing Company on Kennedy Boulevard opposite the new Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex at the University of Tampa.
"Big food, big fun," said Mike Dunn, one of the three friends in the business, "like our elephant wings, because puny chicken wings with no meat are my pet peeve."
Dunn cooked up the pachyderm concept with Billy Morris who, at his Riverview Ranch, owns and trains Asian elephants for the circus. The two previously ran neighboring businesses in Ybor City: Dunn owned Stogie Castillo's and Morris owned the Rare Olive. The third partner is Adam Smith, a certified public accountant and a UT alumnus.
"Everything here is big," adds chef Eric Burck, who makes 12 sauces and eight dry rubs for the jumbo chicken wings for the restaurant, which opened for lunch and dinner in March.
Burgers are 8 to 10 ounces, pulled pork or beef sliders are giant and the potato skins are made from one-pound potatoes loaded with cheddar, bacon, tomatoes and scallions, Burck said.
Instead of small jalapeno peppers, fried Rhino Poppers are a single, extra-large poblano pepper, stuffed with cheddar and cream cheese.
Dessert? Elephant ears, of course. Those fried treats come topped with ice cream, cinnamon glaze and homemade whipped cream.
Television screens hang everywhere, and more are coming for the outdoor patio, "the best-kept secret," Burck said. "Nobody knew it was there, not even the neighbors, until it became our beer garden and cigar lounge."
Three bars offer eight beers on draft and about 25 in bottles, plus wine and full liquor. Cigars are sold in the first-floor humidor. Live entertainment is planned for weekends, probably an acoustic guitar outside for sound compliance. Watch for an elephant at the yet-to-be-announced grand opening.
Pachyderm Wing Company, 1118 W Kennedy Blvd., is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call (813) 304-2118 or (813) 304-2119 or visit the Pachyderm Wing Company's Facebook page.
Paddywagon Irish Pub at the Element
Paddywagon Irish Pub, part of the Linksters family of bars, opens next month in the northwest corner of the Element condominium in downtown Tampa. It is the first franchise, and 17th location, for Sarasota partners Richard Kunzle and Tom Elliott.
"We're a smoker-friendly, upscale twist on the neighborhood bar experience," Kunzle said.
On tap: at least 20 brands of beer; 16 flat-screen TVs, a pool table, dart board, bartop touchscreen and Golden Tee video golf games.
There is no kitchen, but customers are welcome to have food delivered from restaurants. Lounge and patio seating will be available outside.
Paddywagon Irish Pub, 808 N Franklin St. in the Element; visit linksters.com for updates.
Smoke Shack barbecue
After years of cooking barbecue for friends and family, three pals — Darin Herman, Matt Moskos and Mark Awmiller — bought a smoker, installed it in a food truck and opened the Smoke Shack, parked next to Garden of Eat'n on West Shore Boulevard near El Prado Boulevard.
On the menu: smoked brisket, pulled pork and sausage, on a sandwich or by the pound. Memphis-style baby back ribs cost $11.99 for a half-rack, $23.99 full.
Brunswick stew is sold by the cup, pint and quart. Side dishes include truffle mac and cheese, baked beans, collard greens and coleslaw. The guys make their own dry rubs and sauces.
"We looked for a restaurant for a couple of years to open in South Tampa," said Herman, "then decided on a mobile kitchen rather than wait to get our brand out there."
The friends and business partners all have kids attending Plant High, where they often cater sports events.
Smoke Shack, 3401 S West Shore Blvd., is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; visit smokeshack-bbq.com or call (813) 748-1988.
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