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Tampa’s Armature Works food hall reopens for takeout and delivery

The Heights Public Market was closed for a month due to the coronavirus.
Some vendors at Armature Works will reopen for takeout business this week.
Some vendors at Armature Works will reopen for takeout business this week. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Apr. 15, 2020

TAMPA ― Armature Works will reopen for limited takeout and delivery service this week, the owners of the massive riverfront complex announced Wednesday.

The sprawling dining hall and entertainment hub in Tampa Heights has been closed for the past month, part of a statewide effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“After four-plus weeks of full closure we are very happy to allow our vendors the opportunity to now use their kitchens for both takeout and delivery, with very strict guidelines,” Chas Bruck, a co-developer of the project, said in a statement.

The decision to reopen points to the increasingly large number of out-of-work food service workers, tens of thousands of whom have found themselves out of a job after Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all restaurants and bars to close. Several restaurants that have remained open for takeout have since shuttered completely, while those who initially tried to ride it out are now slowly reopening for either takeout or grocery operations in an effort to bring in some business.

Related: Is the takeout model working for Tampa Bay restaurants? It depends.

Beginning Thursday and rolling into the weekend, a small collection of vendors will return to their respective market stalls and resume business for takeout and delivery only. Those vendors include Astro Ice Cream, Ava, Butcher N’ Barbeque, Kuba (previously called Hemingway’s), Union by Commune + Co, Zukku Sushi, Dixie Dharma and Ichicoro Imoto. More vendors may join at a later date, said Eric Blankenship, the chief marketing officer for Armature Works. The complex’s anchor concept restaurants — Steelbach, Oak & Ola and M.Bird — remain closed.

Prior to shuttering in March, the 73,000-square-foot mixed-use building was a bustling hub of commerce, often packed with enough diners and shoppers to easily constitute a large gathering, which under current social distancing guidelines are banned throughout the state.

Customers will not be allowed to enter the building under this new takeout model. They must place their orders online and either opt for curbside pickup or delivery. Diners can order online from their respective vendor of choice, and Armature Works staff will bring the food out to the entrance on North Ola Ave E.

Inside the building, all vendors will be required to maintain six feet of distance from each other and wear gloves and face masks. In addition, all vendors and Armature Works staff will have to give temperature readings before entering the building, a safety measure that is being increasingly implemented at businesses that employ essential workers during the pandemic.

The Armature Works vendors will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.