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Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Nikkei, Tiki Tavern

Water Oak has also launched, bringing a steak and seafood joint to Safety Harbor.
The passion fruit sashimi salmon at Peruvian Japanese fusion restaurant Nikkei, part of the Tampa Premium Outlets in Lutz. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
The passion fruit sashimi salmon at Peruvian Japanese fusion restaurant Nikkei, part of the Tampa Premium Outlets in Lutz. [MEAGHAN HABUDA | Times]
Published Jan. 8

NOW OPEN

Nikkei

An interesting mashup drives Nikkei. Part of the Tampa Premium Outlets near Converse and Under Armour, the restaurant churns out Japanese and Peruvian fusion fare from an outdoor kiosk with glass windows that allow you to watch the staff prepare your order. Items like the olive octopus special roll with asparagus, cucumber, avocado and Peruvian olive mayo and the passion fruit sashimi salmon with mango pico de gallo and crispy wonton strings accompany classics like ceviche, yucca fries and gyoza. Eat at the Nikkei counter or one of its few tables. 2300 Grand Cypress Drive, Lutz. (785) 498-5028.

The Tiki Tavern

Safety Harbor has welcomed the Tiki Tavern, a sports bar with patio seating and a beachy attitude. Craft cocktails and a menu of small plates, flatbreads, salads, burgers and wraps, wings and tacos are the main draw, as are several HD TV screens. According to the website, signature options on the food side include the Hattrick Trip Dip, showcasing artichoke, spinach, smoked Gouda beer cheese and buffalo chicken, and the Bolt, pulled green chili pork, pepper jack and whiskey barbecue sauce on chicken breast or a burger. Live music is also a regular feature. 201 Main St., Suite 101, Safety Harbor. (727) 843-8454. thetikitavern.com.

Water Oak

Neighbors with the Tiki Tavern, this newly opened, indoor-outdoor joint focuses on steak and seafood. Water Oak does coconut green curry mussels, seared ribeye carpaccio and broiled jalapenos, among other starters, that unite with bigger bites such as New York strip, pasta and grain dishes and crab-crusted grouper. Four kinds of “sticky rice buns,” served with pickled vegetables, cucumber and Sriracha aioli, complete the lineup, alongside soups, salads, sliders and raw bar offerings. Pair it all with beer, specialty cocktails or wine. 201 Main St., Suite 100, Safety Harbor. (727) 286-6919. wateroakgrill.com.

CLOSED

Pair O’ Dice Brewing Co.

On Dec. 27, wife-and-husband founders Julia and Ken Rosenthal took to Facebook to announce the closure of Pair O’ Dice Brewing Co. The Clearwater brewery opened in 2013 and celebrated its sixth anniversary a few months ago. The last day for its taproom at 4400 118th Ave. N was Dec. 29. “What we built nearly 7 years ago now was a dream based on the breweries we fell in love with in California. It was perfect for distribution, which was our focus, and served well as a tap room for the first few years. In 2016 all that changed. Breweries became bars and the rate of brewery openings in Tampa Bay became greater than the rate of consumer adoption of craft beer. Our location became a huge hindrance at that point and, as agile as we tried to be, that was the one thing we could not change. ... Today we must admit that we have run out of resources and it’s time to move on,” their Facebook post read. Pair O’ Dice has won six Best Florida Beer Championship medals since its inception. The brewery was known for hoppy IPAs and using Florida ingredients in beers such as Lucky Lucy Strawberry Blonde and Clearwater Honey Cream. The Rosenthals’ post went on to say they’re “looking forward to a less stressful life” and to thank patrons for their support: “We enjoyed being a part of your lives and we hope to be able to continue that on the other side of the bar.” pairodicebrewing.com.

COMING SOON

Dwntn Social

A “coming soon” banner for this newcomer has appeared near the University of Tampa on the former Blue Moon Trading Company space. It says Dwntwn Social will offer coffee, smoothies, tea, acai bowls and more. 1000 W Kennedy Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa.

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  4. Kumquats in Dade City. [Times (2002)]
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    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]
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  8. Turkey Meatballs with hummus and an herby salad [MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    It comes together so fast for a weeknight dinner.
  9. St. Peterburg's iconic restaurant the Belmark was known as an inexpensive spot to grab a meal. [Times (1982)]
    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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