Feeling a little peckish? You're in luck, with a big raft of new restaurants poised to launch, including three at International Plaza.
In the fast-casual arena, Burgerim is opening in late July at 800 N Franklin St., Tampa. The concept is mini burgers, so you're not eating just one. You can buy a duo (wimp), trio or 16-pack of gourmet 2.8-ounce patties and customize each one with three different buns, five signature sauces, 10 patties and nine toppings. Okay, so think turkey burger on a gluten-free bun with pineapple, lettuce and tomato, or a merguez burger on a Burgerim signature bun with house sauce, jalapeno and sunny-side-up egg. The chain currently operates more than 80 restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Israel, Romania and Russia, with more than 200 openings slated for 2017.
ROCCO'S TACOS & TEQUILA BAR
A number of changes go into effect at International Plaza this summer. The space that for 15 years housed the Blue Martini Lounge on Bay Street will become Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar, a South Florida Mexican restaurant chain. The first opened almost a decade ago in West Palm Beach, and now there are locations in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Orlando and Brooklyn, N.Y. The big draws at Rocco's: more than 300 types of tequila, housemade margarita mix and fresh guacamole made tableside.
HARVEST SEASONAL GRILL & WINE BAR
Also coming this summer to International Plaza is Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. Founder Dave Magrogan opened his first Florida location in Delray Beach last winter and is eager to open more in the state. In the style of Seasons 52, the concept offers a seasonally changing menu that sources locally, with most menu items under 500 calories and gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. A little something healthy post-retail therapy at the mall.
FRANKIE'S LOBSTAH TRAP RAW BAR AND GRILL
And for when you're feeling a little more sybaritic, you can head to Bay Street across from Doc B's Fresh Kitchen this week for Frankie's Lobstah Trap Raw Bar and Grill. Originally from Miami, owner Frank Manella has owned a number of Haagen-Dazs stores as well as restaurants in Las Vegas. This new effort will include a lineup of Key West pink shrimp, a crispy lobster sandwich, quahogs and plenty of local seafood.
AMERICAN SOCIAL BAR & KITCHEN
After a lengthy and expensive ($4.2 million!) build-out, American Social Bar & Kitchen has announced a late June or early July debut for its new Harbour Island location at 601 S Harbour Island Blvd. With 443 seats and four full-service bars, the upscale sports lounge and restaurant will also feature two four-tap private booths for self-serve beer, one self-serve communal beer wall with six taps, a full raw bar and one private dining room that will accommodate up to 24 guests and adjoining outdoor seating. Owners Rick Mijares and Paul Greenberg anticipate hiring 120 staffers to help execute the restaurant's brunch, lunch and dinner service. The original "AmSo" (as regulars call it) located on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale recently celebrated its four-year anniversary, and the Downtown Miami-Brickell riverfront location its second anniversary.
In St. Petersburg, in the location that until 2016 housed Lee Roy Selmon's at 2424 Tyrone Blvd. N, MidiCi — The Neapolitan Pizza Company is gearing up to open. Organized around an open, center-staged bustling kitchen, pizzas are baked in 90 seconds, with quality, non-GMO ingredients (double-zero flour imported from Naples, etc.). They also boast burrata dishes, salads and — hmm, this sounds interesting — Nutella calzones.