Seminole Hard Rock additions
Four spots have joined the 11 existing food and beverage options at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as part of its $720 million expansion. The Tampa entertainment destination formally announced the openings on Nov. 7. Next time you visit, hit up Cipresso for Italian-American classics like pasta, meatballs and pizza in an elegant environment. The modern trattoria also offers craft cocktails and more than 100 wines. Other new additions are the Pool Bar & Grill, which promises casual-meets-upscale lunch and dinner dishes and its own specialty libations adjacent to the hotel complex’s three pools; Constant Grind, a sweets shop pairing Lavazza coffee drinks with grab-and-go munchies (think pastries or sandwiches); and the Cellar, where fine wines and spirits are sampled and sold. 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. Toll-free 1-866-388-4263. seminolehardrocktampa.com.
In late August, Apple Spice began filling orders for business and corporate boxed lunches in Tampa. The 30-year-old delivery and catering company, based in Salt Lake City with more than 40 stores nationwide, serves the downtown Tampa, Brandon, Seffner, Riverview and Temple Terrace communities. Five or more orders come with free delivery. Although there’s no seating inside the Tampa location, you can stop in, call or go online to request an individual takeout order, too, taking your pick from salads, soups, wraps and sandwiches. And Apple Spice’s bread is especially important. “We will never serve a sandwich on day-old bread,” founder Randy Clegg said in a statement. “Freshly baked honey wheat, 13 grain, and sourdough bread is what our loyal customers have loved since 1988.” The first local Apple Spice store opened in Sarasota last year. 5909 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite F, Tampa. (813) 373-5359. applespice.com.
Aloha to Go
A second restaurant for this Hawaiian barbecue joint has arrived. Originally founded by Hawaii native Jennifer Byrd as a little food trailer in 2011 before morphing into a big red food truck, Aloha to Go brought its down-home eats to Seminole on Sept. 12. Choose the Big Kahuna Combo to get a taste of the three signature entrees — kalua pork, shoyu chicken and teriyaki beef — plus macaroni salad, rice and pineapple coleslaw. There are also menu items such as huli huli chicken and the Hawaiian favorite Loco Moco, a hamburger patty topped with house gravy and two fried eggs. The flagship Aloha to Go restaurant calls Indian Shores home, and the food truck still rolls around town. 5903 Seminole Blvd., Seminole. (727) 623-0021. alohatogobbq.com.
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
Japanese steakhouse chain Kobe debuted its new St. Petersburg location in October. The restaurant specializes in sushi and hibachi, showcasing the culinary theatrics and talents of chefs who pull off everything from shrimp tosses to onion volcanoes on the grill in front of you. Cucumber Eclipse (white sake, gin, elderflower tonic, fresh cucumber) and Nagasaki Old Fashioned (Japanese whisky, smoked herbal tea, Angostura bitters) are signature cocktail highlights. The full bar pours beer, sake and wine as well. Started in Altamonte Springs 35 years ago, the long-standing Kobe operates four other outposts locally in Clearwater, Brandon and Tampa, alongside seven Orlando area locations. 2773 66th St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 273-0018. kobesteakhouse.com.
The traditional baked goods of Morocco drive this quaint coffee, tea and pastry shop near Busch Gardens offering a few tables and counter seating. Match treats like coconut balls or gazelle horns with mint tea or spiced coffee. Moroccan Morsel also carries a few savory pies, flatbreads and infused energy drinks. 4802 E Busch Blvd., Tampa. (813) 447-4097.
Around since 2008, Burrito Boarder has shuttered in downtown St. Petersburg. The speedy, eclectic haven for casual Mexican bites at 17 Third St. N announced the closure on its Facebook page, inviting customers to grub on Taco Tuesday specials one last time on Nov. 8 and 9. “Attention !! Come celebrate the life of Burrito Boarder,” the Nov. 7 post reads. “We will be closing the store and turning off the lights for good Saturday.” The post went on to say, “Check back for a preview of Bigger and Better things to come.” Burrito Boarder attracted tourists, retirees and students as well as late-night revelers with a build-your-own lineup of burritos, bowls, quesadillas, salads, tacos and nachos served from a walkup counter.
Sundial food hall
The developers behind Tampa Heights hot spot Armature Works and its food hall, Heights Public Market, will transform 25,000 square feet of St. Petersburg’s Sundial into a new food hall. Included in the project are several vacant spaces on the lower level of the downtown St. Petersburg complex as well as the areas occupied by Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina, which will remain open through the holidays and close at the end of the year. The new food hall hasn’t tapped any vendors yet, but it is beverage focused and plans to feature a bar. Construction on the project will kick off in early 2020, with a slated completion of late 2020. First Street and Second Avenue N, St. Petersburg.
XoChitl Cocina Mexicana
Across the street from Armature Works, this restaurant’s signage is the latest to pop up on the ground floor of Tampa Heights apartment complex the Pearl. Expect a modern Mexican kitchen in XoChitl, pronounced so-cheel. According to its Instagram page, the restaurant will offer an upscale setting and elevated dishes that complement the drinks. 307 W Palm Ave., Tampa. ilovexochitl.com.