Sunday, November 19, 2017
Bars & Spirits

Eats! American Grill turns focus to drinks in Riverview

RECOMMENDED READING


Eats! American Grill has a concept so simple, it's hard to believe that more places don't do it: Offer a menu of classic American fare produced in an authentic regional manner. This means, for example, that the Philly Cheesesteak is served on an Amaroso roll from Philly and topped with Cheez Whiz. Authenticity as creativity — it's a sort of minimalism that often works quite well.

For Eats!, this has brought street cred in the form of an appearance on the Food Network, as well as a strong customer base at its original South Tampa location. Recently, Eats! expanded, opening a second location at Riverview's Winthrop Town Centre, an upscale shopping plaza catering to the constantly growing population in east Hillsborough County.

Now, the restaurants I get excited about aren't the ones that would interest a lot of readers, which probably explains why I write about drinks. But Eats! has more to share than regional American food, in the form of a well-stocked bar.

The Riverview Eats! features a spacious outdoor patio and a roomy interior, part dining room and part U-shaped bar. It used to be a Green Iguana, if that gives you an idea of how it's laid out. There are 20 or so TVs scattered around the place, making it a kind of fancy sports bar. It's also a neighborhood hotspot for happy hour and early dinners.

Speaking of sports, Eats! has a cool feature that allows guests to pick their audio source individually (there's a speaker at the table), so fans are not at the mercy of the group. Want to watch the lone TV showing bowling while the World Series is on? This is probably the only place you'll pull that off.

Eats! has its bases covered in the drinks department. The wine list has recently been expanded to include around 20 options, and the 30-beer tap list has a little something for everyone. Of course, it's a sports bar of sorts, so there are plenty of bottled and canned beers, including PBR tallboys served in coozies that resemble little brown paper bags.

In addition to the tap list — which, by the way, features lots of seasonal releases and local brews from Two Henrys, Cigar City, 3 Daughters, Florida Avenue and Big Storm — Eats! also serves up Angry Orchard cider-based cocktails, like the comically simple but effective Jack's Apple: Angry Orchard mixed with Jack Daniels.

While the cider cocktails stick to a simple formula, the specialty cocktails are another story, with many involving a range of fresh, seasonal ingredients. A short summer cocktail menu is provided at the bar, but for additional choices, check the daily specials or the Eats! Facebook page, where otherwise unlisted specialty cocktails are often advertised. This is how I came to try the High West Arnold Palmer, a blend of High West 7000 peach vodka, mint, lemon, fresh peaches (not canned), lemonade and freshly brewed tea.

Another favorite is the Naked Black Flower, which contains Naked Turtle rum, elderflower liqueur, mint, lime and blackberries, garnished with a giant flower. And how about the Pacific Wildnerness, containing Distillery No. 209 gin from San Francisco, along with fresh raspberries, lavender, ruby red grapefruit, rosemary, simple syrup and a splash of lemonade?

My biggest gripe is that no definitive list containing these cocktails exists yet, so your bartender might have to take a request for one up the ladder, as mine did. It was worth the wait — a delicious, heat-banishing summer drink.

With the amount of work that obviously went into creating such elaborate cocktails, I would expect that a complete menu is forthcoming. The Riverview location is still pretty new, and its off-the-bat popularity with the locals has no doubt kept the staff well occupied. It'll be worth future visits to check this out, I'm sure, but in the meantime, you know where to get the scoop.

[email protected]

Comments
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving. From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Published: 11/17/17
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, were here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Ideas for sidesThese recipes go beyond the traditional, with a corn casserole, Brussels sprout salad and moreSee what our food ed...
Published: 11/17/17
Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

There are probably a handful of essentials, things you must have on the Thanksgiving table lest some family members begin to riot. But I find there are often a couple of slots open for new things, chances to get weird or creative or, gasp, healthy. ...
Published: 11/17/17
How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

As far as we’re concerned, anything you can make in advance of actual Thanksgiving Day is a good thing, and this make-ahead gravy fits the bill. Plus, Tucker Shaw of America’s Test Kitchen says it tastes just as good as if you made it wi...
Published: 11/17/17
How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

Planning a really good menu is the stealth approach to being a really good cook. Here are some tips from the experts. New York Times Put some thought into the menu What leaves an impression is not only the dishes you can make, but also how they t...
Published: 11/17/17
Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

The turkey is the unquestioned star of the Thanksgiving meal. It can be the most daunting part as well. But with a little planning and care, it doesn’t have to be. Before you start • A decent roasting pan, one heavy enough that it wo...
Published: 11/16/17
Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

If you want to spend more time with your family and friends this holiday season and less time in the kitchen, our judges suggest serving Hormels mashed sweet potatoes. No need to wash, peel and heat potatoes. Just pop the container in the microwave ...
Published: 11/16/17
From the food editor: An expert weighs in on how to stay calm this Thanksgiving

From the food editor: An expert weighs in on how to stay calm this Thanksgiving

I can tell right away that Tucker Shaw has thought about Thanksgiving a lot, and not just as a home cook. As the editor in chief of Cooks Country, a member of Americas Test Kitchen and the former dining critic and food editor at the Denver Post, Sh...
Published: 11/16/17
Bar review: The swank CWs Gin Joint in downtown Tampa

Bar review: The swank CWs Gin Joint in downtown Tampa

I was thinking a bit about the ubiquitous speakeasy trend and it occurred to me that the nucleus of the thing isnt flapper dresses, moustaches or suspenders, but rather the suggestion of exclusivity of being cool, in-the-know and invited to the se...
Published: 11/16/17
Local craft beer of the week: Pep in Yo Step Double IPA, Infusion Brewing Co.

Local craft beer of the week: Pep in Yo Step Double IPA, Infusion Brewing Co.

Pepper beers walk a fine line. The best ones, as is the case with most spicy endeavors, are as much about flavor as they are heat.Some, like Twisted Pines Ghost Face Killah, exist almost solely to push the boundaries of what one person can consume (...
Published: 11/16/17