Upgrades at the Don
As part of the second phase of its property-wide renovations, the Don CeSar has unveiled some updates to the Don Lobby Bar, Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor and Maritana Grille, now called the shorter Maritana. The bar, all emerald green and brass with tropical touches reminiscent of 1920s Florida, was repositioned to the back of the lobby to open up the vibrant space. It does small plates, specialty cocktails and live tunes. Uncle Andy’s occupies a new ’50s-inspired location in the Don Boutiques retail area, churning out ice cream, shakes, pastries and gourmet coffee. Grab-and-go bites and sundries and a candy wall for kids were added, too. As for Maritana, helmed by chef Emily Ferrari, look forward to a coastal, elevated dining experience presented in a revamped atmosphere that, similar to the Don Lobby Bar, embraces the hotel’s history in a modern way. Around since 1928, the Don celebrated 92 years on Jan. 16. The third phase of renovations, which include Sea Porch and the Beachcomber Bar & Grill, will begin this year. A second-level sundeck is headed for the Beachcomber, while casual breakfast-lunch-dinner-brunch cafe Sea Porch will score a complete revamp. 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 360-1881. doncesar.com.
Dough Nation has moved to another locale. After serving final cups and waffle cones of edible cookie dough in downtown Tampa, the dessert cafe reopened at its new Carrollwood home on Jan. 3. “We would like to thank all of our downtown customers who have helped us Dough Good over the years as we announce the closing of our Downtown location on Tampa Street,” Dough Nation wrote on its Facebook page in December. “We will be opening a new Carrollwood location in January and will be announcing another location to serve downtown customers very soon.” Both classic and inventive ice cream flavors — think butter pecan or raspberry truffle — accompany the cookie dough. That’s on top of specialties such as the Cookie Melt, a reinvented ice cream sandwich, and a blended ice cream-cookie dough hybrid called the Dough Shake. Dough Nation launched in 2017 as a Metropolitan Ministries enterprise training the students and employees of the nonprofit’s culinary arts program and catering division. In addition, proceeds from each purchase help Metropolitan Ministries feed the hungry in Tampa Bay. 11642 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 374-5052. doughnation.com.
Load up on Latin American, African, Indian, Creole and Asian flavors, from garlic-lime braised beef to plantains to Cuban-style pork to curry miso sauce. This casual Caribbean fusion restaurant started slinging create-your-own bowls from its counter last week in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. Alongside tropical fruit juices made in-house and Caribbean brews, the Floribbean offers several tables for dine-in customers. Takeout and catering are available as well. 2410 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 826-0198. thefloribbean.com.
Opened in December, Bubba’s 33 brings crowd-pleasing American fare to Pasco County through its first Florida location. The sports bar puts an emphasis on stone-baked pizza, burgers and cold beer. Starters, wings, salads, dinners and sandwiches are also featured, as are TVs and plenty of seating. Bubba’s 33, which began in Fayetteville, N.C., in 2013, is an affiliate of the Texas Roadhouse chain. According to its website, there are 30 locations across the United States, including Florida. 26340 Silver Maple Parkway, Wesley Chapel. (813) 522-5090. bubbas33.com.
Coffee unites with smoothies and Belgian waffles, lovingly dubbed “waffs” on the menu board, at Blessed Cup. A new addition to Clearwater Beach, the second-level cafe is a cute hangout, highlighting other relaxed items like scrambled egg sandwiches, craft sodas and slow-smoked barbecue sandwiches. 483 Mandalay Ave., Unit 200, Clearwater Beach. (727) 754-7633.
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The latest spot vying for space on your Instagram feed has arrived. Complete with a pink neon “kiss my acai” sign and a flower wall, Raining Berries carries signature acai, pitaya and coconut bowls and a variety of toasts in a comfy, modern environment. Fair-trade coffee and artisan tea lead the beverage options. 25595 Sierra Center Blvd., Lutz. (813) 949-8299. rainingberries.com.