Centro Ybor has seen some flux recently with the closing of Big City Tavern in January and the opening of Rock-N-Sports Bar & Grill in the old Barleyhoppers space. The newcomer features sports and rock 'n' roll memorabilia and 30 TVs broadcasting sports.
The menu runs to burgers and ribs, and the bar is viewing headquarters for the New Orleans Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the North Carolina Tar Heels. It's at 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa; (813) 242-6220. No plans have been announced yet for the Big City Tavern space.
New options for BayWalk diners
Grille 121 has opened at the site of Dan Marino's at BayWalk in St. Petersburg. The grand opening is Feb. 14-17, when all entrees will be priced at $14. New owner Mike Carcaise was the longtime vice president of operations for Dan Marino's restaurant. He opted for a change of name for the restaurant, but core items from the original menu will remain, now incorporating fresh herbs from the new garden planted on the patio. For information, call (727) 822-4413.
Banbu opens at the site of the defunct Dish on the opposite side of Marino's, with a similar concept of build-your-own hibachi bar. Over the weekend Banbu is intended to be more of a lively club with DJs and a dance floor. For information, call (727) 209-0616.
Z Grille makes move to compete
Zack Gross, owner of Z Grille on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, has a new project on the horizon. Set to open in the Signature Place at 104 Second St. S in St. Petersburg, his new restaurant will be built with green materials with a state-of-the-art hood system and open kitchen. A decorative skateboard half-pipe and tattoo motifs will reflect Gross' edgy and iconoclastic style.
Why the new restaurant? "Right now I only have 32 seats (at Z Grille), so it's hard for me to make ends meet and to compete effectively with Parkshore and Ceviche. At the new restaurant I'll do a lot of the same stuff, but add a full liquor license and a raw bar that focuses on three different oysters each day." When he moves to the larger space in April, he will either sell his original location or change the concept to"Zurritos" - all beer and burritos. The new place will be Z Grille.
Healthy recipes, good-looking food
Ellie Krieger has a simple philosophy about healthy eating: It shouldn't hurt.
That's the message behind the Food Network star's recent cookbook, The Food You Crave (Taunton Press, $28). A healthy diet can taste and look satisfying, and her recipes prove it.
The book is nicely illustrated and contains plenty of tips for giving your own recipes a healthy overhaul.
(Krieger's show, Healthy Appetite,airs at 1 p.m. Saturdays on the Food Network. This week's episode is on chocolate.)