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Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Our Bar, Island Fin Poke and more

Plus, a new food hall is coming to St. Petersburg.
Old Key West Bar & Grill owners Mitch and Crystal Faber are behind Our Bar in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of Our Bar]
Old Key West Bar & Grill owners Mitch and Crystal Faber are behind Our Bar in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of Our Bar]
Published Dec. 3, 2019

NOW OPEN

Our Bar

The St. Petersburg bar formerly known as Half Time Pub looks a little different than it did earlier this year. Since taking over ownership on June 17, Old Key West Bar & Grill owners Mitch and Crystal Faber have renamed and rebranded the sports lounge as Our Bar.

Mitch Faber told the Tampa Bay Times they left the doors open while the property underwent a major facelift, which included everything from new paint and staff to updated decor. The couple also added a front deck with more seating and a back patio featuring cornhole, horseshoes and life-sized beer pong. The 120-seat Our Bar doesn’t offer its own eats, but the Fabers plan to host food trucks throughout the week.

And those aren’t the only changes.

“It’s been a beer and wine bar for over 50 years, but we’ve added a liquor license,” Faber said.

As such, the joint carries package liquor and beer.

Our Bar marks the second bar in St. Petersburg for the Fabers, who bought Grand Central District hangout Old Key West in January 2015 when they moved to St. Pete from Orlando. The couple had been looking to launch another spot for a couple of years but “went for it” when they saw the Half Time Pub property was for sale.

The Fabers will formally welcome Our Bar to the neighborhood during a grand opening celebration on Dec. 7. Food trucks, possibly live music and an open bar, followed by drink specials, are anticipated.

Our Bar operates 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily. 1721 28th St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 289-1831.

St. Petersburg sports lounge Our Bar features yard games like cornhole and life-sized beer pong. [Courtesy of Our Bar]

Raw Smoothie Co. and Spaddy’s Coffee Co.

Tampa’s Ballast Point area has landed the organic green smoothies and smoothie bowls of Raw Smoothie Co. and the premium coffee and tea of Spaddy’s Coffee Co. Opened under one roof on Nov. 25, the twosome sling their specialties in a collaborative environment with funky decor and some seats inside and out. Raw Smoothie Co. owners Gian Carlos Birriel and James Rue brought their first plant-powered cafe to NoHo in 2017. They churn out 11 house bases, which are made four ways, including as a basic smoothie bowl (served over gluten-free vegan granola and topped with greens, coconut flakes, one fruit topping and a chia-flaxseed mix) and as a green smoothie (blended with baby spinach, baby kale, chard and seeds). In 2016, Seminole Heights saw the opening of Spaddy’s owner Greg Spadaccini’s first location: a coffee truck parked in a cool courtyard. 6102 S MacDill Ave., Tampa. (813) 512-8081. rawsmoothieco.com; spaddyscoffee.com.

Inside the new Ballast Point location for Tampa businesses Spaddy's Coffee Co. and Raw Smoothie Co. [Courtesy of Chris Fasick]

RELATED: Bowled over: From acai to poke, the top 10 bowls in Tampa Bay

Burger Culture

The beloved Carrollwood burger truck’s build-your-own patties and grilled cheese have come to the Ybor City Food Mart. First you pick a protein, then pair it with one of the inventive Burger Culture builds. They include the Kicker (pepper jack, bacon, sunny-side-up egg, sriracha mayo) and Street (cheddar, grilled pineapple, cilantro aioli, pink sauce, lettuce, potato sticks) burgers. Other options are just as dreamy-sounding. Look no further than the chicken and waffles grilled cheese, which unites fried chicken, cheddar and honey between two Belgian waffles. Burger Culture is going on six years in the Harley-Davidson dealership lot on N Dale Mabry Highway. It expanded in 2017 with a second location in South Tampa that has since closed. 1821 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 992-7444.

Mofongo Steak House

Offering plenty of seating and a lovely little full bar, Mofongo Steak House celebrated its grand opening in September. The welcoming restaurant does a menu of international Latin favorites like several kinds of mofongo, empanadas, garbanzo bean soup and arroz con camarones, alongside daily and weekly specials and sangria by the glass and pitcher. Also expect a simple sandwich selection and tropical juices and milkshakes. 8199 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 933-3663. mofongosteakhouse.com.

RELATED: Poke Fish expands, We Are Poke debuts in Tampa

Island Fin Poke Co.

Hawaiian- and Caribbean-inspired poke are the focus of this Florida-born chain now in Wesley Chapel. Island Fin Poke Co.’s website says local, responsible sourcing and seasonality drive its straightforward lineup. Similar to many fast-casual poke spots, the customizable bowls come with your choice of base, protein, mix-ins, marinating sauce, toppings and finishing sauce. Four signature creations — spicy tuna, salmon, traditional tuna and veggie — and Dole Whip are on hand as well. Formerly known as Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowls, Island Fin Poke Co. features additional outposts in the Orlando area and Massachusetts, with more headed for Florida and several cities beyond the state. 6417 E County Line Road, Suite 101, Wesley Chapel. (813) 575-8002. islandfinpoke.com.

The Poke Company

A fast-casual franchise established in Florida, the Poke Company has started serving the Channel District with Hawaiian-style poke bowls and burritos. Choose from nearly 40 ingredients to design the dish of your dreams, combining proteins such as ahi tuna and salmon with a rice or greens base and various toppings, among them edamame, sweet onion, sesame shoyu, pineapple and wasabi aioli. Boca Raton and Wellington house the other Florida locations for the Poke Company, according to its website. There’s one in Des Moines, Iowa, too. 1208 E Kennedy Blvd., Suite 116, Tampa. (813) 515-7474. eatthepokecompany.com.

RELATED: Marriott hotel, food hall planned for St. Pete’s Edge District

COMING SOON

The Hall on Central

Bring on the chef-driven dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tampa Heights hot spot the Hall on Franklin is expanding to the EDGE District of St. Petersburg with another European-inspired food hall. Managed by the Tampa team, the Hall on Central will launch in 2022 as part of the first phase of the mixed-use EDGE Collective development. It’s slated to fill 12,000 square feet on the lower two floors of the space where the Furnish Me Vintage store is. 1246 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

A rendering of the EDGE Collective, which will bring a food hall called the Hall on Central to St. Petersburg. [Storyn Studio for Architecture]

RELATED: Bodega, St. Pete’s beloved Latin restaurant, is moving. But don’t worry.

Bodega

This cult favorite in St. Petersburg’s EDGE District is moving up the street. Bodega owners George and Debbie Sayegh, who told the Times they’ve outgrown their original outpost at 1120 Central Ave., will relocate to the building occupied by antique shop Mis en Chic. They aim to complete construction on the restaurant’s new space in May 2020. Opened in 2012 with a second location in the Tampa neighborhood of Seminole Heights, Bodega is known for its Cuban sandwich and other Latin street food items. 1180 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. eatatbodega.com.

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  1. The food is art at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, including this cookie that looks like a painter's palette. [Walt Disney World]
    The 39-day celebration of art, entertainment and food kicked off Jan. 17.
  2. Clockwise from left: Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites, Piña Colada Candy Apple, Candy Corn and Cheeseburger-On-A-Stick [Courtesy of the Florida State Fair]
    Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites, Piña Colada Candy Apples and more are coming to the Florida State Fair.
  3. The cans feature pups who are up for adoption at Shelter Manatee. [Motorworks Brewing]
    The beer, available for purchase in packs of four and cases of 24, will be available until they sell out, the brewery says.
  4. Kumquats in Dade City. [Times (2002)]
    Plus, St. Petersburg restaurant German Knodle made Yelp’s list of the top 100 places to eat.
  5. Beverage manager for the Tampa Yacht and Country Club, Kasia Nowakowska prepares a Milk Punch cocktail, the club's signature drink for Gasparilla. Milk Punch contains brandy, simple syrup, heavy cream, milk and is garnished with nutmeg. Nowakowska says the club will make more than 120 gallons of Milk Punch for the annual Gasparilla Parade of Pirates on Jan. 25 -- and most of it will be consumed by noon prior to the invasion. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    There’s a lot of history pouring into the glasses along the parade route for the brunch (and even breakfast) cocktails.
  6. Catrinas Tacos and Tequila brought its tacos back to Tampa in a new location on Jan. 17. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2012)]
    Plus, the chains Shake Shack and Huey Magoo’s are coming to town.
  7. German beer accompanies a serving of currywurst and schnitzel topped with mushrooms and garlic fries at German Knödle, 951 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
    Nutella-stuffed potato dumplings and rave reviews put German Knodle on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. list.
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    It comes together so fast for a weeknight dinner.
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    Expect an updated take on classic diner fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  10. Kumquats that are yet to be harvested in the groves at Kumquat Growers, Inc. in Dade City. The local agriculture business provides fruit for the annual Kumquat Festival to be held Jan. 25 in downtown Dade City. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
    After years of crop decline, there will be more fresh fruit at this year’s annual Kumquat Festival.
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