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Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Bright Ice, Vizcaya, the Brunchery

Plus, a roundup of some recently announced spots.
Bright Ice has started serving small-batch ice cream, dessert bars and coffee in St. Petersburg. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
Bright Ice has started serving small-batch ice cream, dessert bars and coffee in St. Petersburg. [MEAGHAN HABUDA | Times]
Published Dec. 10, 2019


This Carrollwood restaurant and tapas bar recently moved to the South Tampa space where Babbaluci Cucina Italiana & Lounge had a short run. Vizcaya posted the relocation announcement to its Facebook page last month. Under the same ownership as Babbaluci, which includes chef Felix Piedras, Vizcaya specializes in contemporary Spanish fare, including tapas such as croquetas de jamon serrano and calamares fritos. Live tunes, an upstairs lounge and rooftop seats are featured as well. Around since 2003, Vizcaya previously called N Dale Mabry Highway home. 3671 S West Shore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 968-7400.


Debuted earlier this month in the former ABC Pizza building, Foodys does breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites. Look forward to 15 omelets, pizzas on house-made dough, the fried seafood combo and 12 burgers, plus other dishes with Greek flair. (Think colossal gyro platter or Greek meatballs.) The 8-ounce Angus burger topped with bacon and Swiss cheese and served between two slices of French toast is one of the more intriguing choices. Then there’s the Kickn’ Chickn’ sandwich that presents grilled and lightly breaded chicken breast on ciabatta with provolone, jalapenos, tomato, onions and jalapeno poppers filled with cream cheese. Whoa. Complete your meal with domestic and imported beers by the mug, bottle or pitcher and select wines by the glass or half liter. 7512 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 884-3495.

Bar Fly Fish Shack

Safety Harbor’s Bar Fly has expanded to Palm Harbor. The fly fishing-themed bar and grill with an affinity for SweetWater Brewing Company premiered in a welcoming indoor-outdoor setting on Nov. 16, offering casual bites such as tuna nachos that call for fried wontons, oysters, a chipotle cheese fries skillet, fish tacos and Off the Hook, the signature pretzel shaped like a fishing hook. Alongside craft beer, wine and booze, live music is also on the menu. And if you really dig Bar Fly No. 2, grab some swag from its small merchandise area. Owners Jeff and Celeste Harrell brought Bar Fly to downtown Safety Harbor in 2012, expanding in 2017 to a bigger site a few doors down from their original Main Street location. 1026 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 351-5151.

Bright Ice

The neighborhood sweets shop showcases small-batch ice cream, dessert bars and coffee in fast-casual digs with seating inside and out. You pick from a variety of creative scoop combos at Bright Ice, soft-opened on Nov. 23, including blueberry with cinnamon, cherry peppermint bark and caramelized bananas with peanut butter and honey. Any selection can be made into an affogato, and several flavors are also sold as $8 pints to-go. But if you’re not up for a frozen treat, go for the Magic Bar. The shop tops a graham cracker crust with chocolate chips, pecans and shredded coconut to pull off the ooey, gooey wonder. 3701 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 289-5438.

The Brunchery

The New Tampa area has gained a worth-the-wait breakfast and lunch place in the Brunchery. A Valrico staple for more than 30 years, this popular restaurant pairs its down-home feel with a big menu of dishes like eggs Benedict, stuffed French toast and Reuben sandwiches. First-timers should take note of the weekly special and the raved-about grilled muffins, which the Brunchery cuts in half and presses on a grill. 17507 Preserve Walk Lane, Tampa. (813) 533-7271.

RELATED: Are tacos the new burgers? A slew of new taco-centric places in Tampa Bay make the case


Nueva Cantina

The modern St. Petersburg Mexican joint’s second restaurant in South Tampa closed about a month ago. Nueva Cantina co-owner Louie Spetrini told the Tampa Bay Times that he and partners Rocco and Erin Rinaldi have sold the lease at 4918 S MacDill Ave. to a new owner opening a sports bar called BYG & Patio. “We decided to put all our attention in St. Pete,” Spetrini said. He and the Rinaldis will focus on their flagship restaurant, launched in 2016 along Fourth Street S, and their vendor spot at Enchant Christmas, running through Dec. 29 at Tropicana Field. Known for its eclectic decor, generous margaritas and laid-back vibe, Nueva expanded to the other side of the bay last year. “St. Pete is rocking it, and we appreciate all the support over here,” Spetrini said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what the future brings our brand.”


Lingr on 6th St.

Lingr on 6th St. is local chef and Top Chef alum Jeffrey Jew’s next gastronomic project, and his first solo effort. Jew, most recently the executive chef of 2B Hospitality (BellaBrava, Stillwaters Tavern), introduced St. Petersburg to the forthcoming downtown restaurant and bar on Dec. 7 during the annual Frogman Feast fundraiser. Named after the Old Norse word for “belonging to” and “coming or descending from,” Lingr will sling Nordic- and Asian-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a upscale-casual setting with 150 seats and an outdoor garden area. The food combines the chef’s heritage, love of the area and culinary experience. “... My mother is Norwegian, and my father is Chinese. I wanted to pay homage to my family heritage while introducing the St. Pete area to an interesting combination of cuisine,” Jew said in a statement. Lingr, which will also carry craft beer, cocktails and wine, expects to launch in spring 2020. 400 Sixth St. S, St. Petersburg.

Coming to St. Petersburg, Lingr on 6th St. marks the first solo culinary project for local chef Jeffrey Jew. [Courtesy of Martin Communications]

RELATED: ‘Top Chef’ alum Jeffrey Jew opening Lingr on 6th St. in St. Petersburg

Grand Central Brewhouse

Owner Kevin Milkey will bring Grand Central Brewhouse to the old Taco Bus site in St. Petersburg in summer 2020. Named for its headquarters in the city’s Grand Central District, the two-story, 10,270-square-foot craft brewery divided into two buildings with indoor-outdoor spaces promises a taproom, an open-air beer garden in the middle and a restaurant. The taproom will spotlight 16 beers in varying styles from head brewer Tyler Singletary, among them seasonal and limited releases. In addition, Grand Central Brewhouse is poised to set itself apart from other beermakers by using European beer tank technology to pour brews directly from its tanks. “We intend to make Grand Central Brewhouse a go-to brewery in St. Pete,” Milkey said in a news release announcing the brewery’s ground-breaking on Dec. 3. The third-party restaurant on the side of the beer garden opposite the tasting room has yet to be unveiled. 2324 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

RELATED: Grand Central Brewhouse to join St. Petersburg’s craft brewery scene


Shooting for a February opening, this fast-casual Hooters spinoff is slated to replace Jannus Market at downtown St. Petersburg venue Jannus Live with its first Florida location. Expect an abbreviated menu of crowd-pleasing eats like chicken wings and buffalo shrimp from Hoots, established in 2017 outside Chicago by Clearwater-based Hooters Management Corp. Two additional features that distinguish Hoots from Hooters: male and female servers at the counter and no revealing outfits. St. Pete will mark the third outpost overall, as Hoots operates two Illinois locations. 204 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

RELATED: Hooters’ fast-casual concept Hoots is coming to Jannus Live


  1.  [Times (1996)]
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  4. 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.
  5. 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]
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  6. 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.
  7. Kumquats in Dade City. [Times (2002)]
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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.