Do the words "locally sourced produce" make your pulse quicken? Is your Instagram page chockful of sexy snaps of you shopping for dry-aged beef in the hippest, selfie-coolest new market? Did you fake a sick day at work to celebrate the joyous arrival of a Trader Joe's to your city?
If you're from the Tampa Bay region, there's a good chance you excitably answered yes, yes and #heckyes to all of the above....
Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse and more, has sold off its interest in the seafood-based Roy's chain for $10 million. The sale, between Bloomin' and United Ohana, involves 20 restaurants and was agreed upon months ago, although the final tally wasn't revealed until Wednesday.
The $10 million — or only about $500,000 per restaurant — raised some eyebrows among industry analysts, although it was clear last fall that Bloomin' CEO Liz Smith had grown weary of celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi's namesake restaurants. "Roy's is a terrific founder-inspired brand that is constantly pushing the envelop with innovative Pacific Rim cuisine," Smith told analysts. "The brand, however, is a small part of our portfolio and not a priority for investment, given competing opportunities. Roy's deserves to be in a situation where it can get the time, attention and resources it needs to grow. We are confident that they will thrive under new ownership."...
Chris: So I've been more down on Better Call Saul than most for the first three episodes, but I feel like the show hit a bit of a stride with its fourth installment - "Hero." What's grabbing me the most is the relationship - both present and past - between Jimmy and his lawyer friend Kim, played by Rhea Seehorn. I loved how she smirked at Saul's efforts to undermine Hamlin; she is the most compelling supporting player in the show so far.
Oh, and what about her invitation to go see - of all things - John Carpenter's 1982 remake The Thing? Some "Kurt Russell action," she said. How about some Wilford Brimley as a bad guy action? What's next week's feature, The Firm? (Really, Tisch? Michelle and Sean invite you to join them on this and you give them Wilford Brimley jokes?)...
After a radical Islamist group released a video on Saturday threatening to terrorize various shopping centers around the globe — including those owned by the Westfield Corp., which operates several malls in the Tampa Bay area — local retail hubs promised security would be of the utmost importance.
"There is no evidence of an imminent threat to our shopping centres," the Westfield Corp. said in a statement. Westfield operates malls in Countryside, Brandon, Citrus Park plus two in Sarasota. Westfield malls in London were specifically threatened in the video. "Our heads of security in the U.S. and U.K. continue to coordinate their activities with police and government agencies."...
Angelo Escano is one of about 12,000 Walmart employees in the Tampa Bay area — and like a lot of them, he's feeling pretty darn vindicated today. "This is what we've been fighting for," said the 32-year-old meat department worker at the Tampa location on Dale Mabry Highway just off of Interstate 275.
Clocking in at Walmart for the past four years, Escano has actively protested his employer's wage structure — and now all that fighting might finally show up on his paycheck ....
The Feed vets Michelle Stark (new Food Editor) and Sean Daly (biz whiz) couldn't stay away from TV forever. For the former Mad Men debaters, the allure of another AMC show proved too strong. And this time, they're bringing Business Editor Chris Tisch, a Breaking Bad fanboy who once paid homage to Walter White's love of tighty-whities at a Halloween party, along for the ride. After drooling over the first two episodes of could-have-been-terrible Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, the trio take it to the Feed to discuss this week's third installment, "Nacho."...
TAMPA — Busch Gardens will open a new ride in the Egypt-themed part of the park in 2016, according to officials.
Spokesman Travis Claytor confirmed the news, but quickly killed the buzz of theme-park nerds everywhere by adding: "We have not finalized the details on what the attraction will be."
An environmental resource permit was filed with the Tampa Bay regional water authority known as Swiftmud, touching off buzz that this could be a water-themed ride. ...
UPDATE: Disney World announced Saturday that the price for a one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom will reach $105 plus tax. The change takes effect Sunday.
You knew this would happen sooner or later, Mouseketeers: A one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom could very soon top the $100 mark — $105, if the buzz is true — with the other three major parks in Lake Buena Vista coming close at $99, according to theme park industry insiders....
Don't call it a Ferris wheel. At 400 feet high, the Orlando Eye towering over the tourism mecca of International Drive is an "observation wheel," its British owner insists. When the estimated $90 million attraction opens this spring, visitors will be able to observe Cape Canaveral, 55 miles away, on a clear day.
The Eye will be hard to ignore — much like its owner, London-based Merlin Entertainments, which is quickly morphing into a serious player in Central Florida's cutthroat theme park business. At the new I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, the Eye will be flanked by a Madame Tussauds wax museum and a Sea Life aquarium, all three family-friendly properties owned by Merlin, the $4 billion-plus company that also operates Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven....
WMNF-FM 88.5, Tampa Bay's community radio station, has hired WUSF-FM 89.7 anchor Craig Kopp as its new general manager.
A 30-year news veteran, Kopp was a Cincinnati radio stalwart for years. He has worked at WUSF, teaming with the Tampa Bay Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact crew on weekly reports. The Citrus Park resident has also been involved with the Poynter Institute, the St. Petersburg journalism school which owns the Times. ...
One has a "secret menu" and a beef-and-marinara monster sandwich called "the Godfather." Another makes pretty pizzas with spicy twists. And another is a breakfast joint that serves an omelet called "the Bacquezo" (bacon, chorizo, cream cheese).
Several restaurant chains are about to attempt a Tampa Bay takeover, including Deep South staples McAlister's Deli and Newk's Eatery, both considered "fast casual," (an unsnobby way to say quick, inexpensive but nicer than McDonald's) and Another Broken Egg Cafe (somewhere between a Denny's and a First Watch)....
ST. PETERSBURG — Krista Schmidt is giving a tour of her dream come true, even if it sounds like a nightmare. "When you first walk in the store," she says, "you'll see the body parts: duck feet, antlers, cow tracheas."
Husband Keenan Atkinson is totally grooving on the tracheas as well: "Cattle windpipes from grass-fed, free-range cows. All kinds of primal things in here."
The couple, both 29, are standing and smiling just inside the door of St. PetersBark!, an all-natural pet food shop that opened Saturday in the MLK Business District....
When you pony up $4.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial — this year's whopper price to plug away, some $500,000 more than 2014 — you'd probably like a little hype, some bang-for-your-buck hullabaloo leading into the big game.
Alas, despite that hefty expenditure, there's a distinct lack of overall chatter and buzz for the cha-chingy spots that will air during Sunday's brouhaha between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. ...
Radio personality Todd Schnitt picked a good time to split town.
Leaving the Tampa Bay market after 20-plus years — a market that's become a crowded dogfight in the mornings, especially with nemesis Bubba the Love Sponge Clem back in the fray — Schnitt is headed to New York City to launch a new gig, Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning, on 710 WOR, New York's oldest radio station. That's scheduled to start Monday....
WINTER HAVEN — After breaking attendance and revenue records in 2014, Legoland Florida Resort is looking to smash them again by addressing the brick-happy park's two greatest needs: a hotel on property, opening May 15, and a "land" aimed at preteen girls called Heartlake City, which will be pink and perky and pegged for later in the summer.
Opened in 2011 on the site of the old Cypress Gardens, the 150-acre Legoland Florida has proved a success mainly because it has little interest in trying to compete with Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. "We've never tried to be all things to all people," said park general manager Adrian Jones, who adds that the park has kept the same demographic in sight: kids ages 2 to 12....