1. Food

Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Hall on Franklin scoops Fork and Gallina, Sandwich House breaks bread in the Heights

Inspired by coastal Mediterranean fare, Fork and Gallina at the Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights focuses on reimagining classic recipes, including Sicilian pizza. [Courtesy of Fork and Gallina]
Inspired by coastal Mediterranean fare, Fork and Gallina at the Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights focuses on reimagining classic recipes, including Sicilian pizza. [Courtesy of Fork and Gallina]
Published Aug. 19, 2019


Fork and Gallina

At the stall previously home to Bavaro's "little sister" Sorellina, the Hall on Franklin has swapped straight-up Italian for a modern fusion of Greek, Italian and other coastal Mediterranean fare. Chef-partners Mark Traugutt and Alfonso Duron are behind Fork and Gallina. The duo, who both credit their family members with sparking their passion for grub in early childhood, also spearhead Fork and Hen inside the ever-evolving Tampa Heights food hall. Focusing on the reimagination of classic recipes, they work seasonal ingredients — as many local as possible — into Fork and Gallina dishes like squid ink tagliatelle and Sicilian pizza alongside rotating daily specials. The pair's latest culinary collaboration joins existing Hall on Franklin tenants North Star Eatery, the Collection, Poke Rose, Bake'n Babes and Kofe/Xilo, in addition to Fork and Hen. 1701 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 405-4008.

The Sandwich House

Gulf Coast Sourdough founders Christina Cann and Brett Wiewiora have started carbing up Seminole Heights even more, thanks to their laid-back breakfast and lunch built upon those artisan loaves available for purchase around town. Soft-opened with a limited lineup on Aug. 13, the Sandwich House uses Gulf Coast Sourdough bread for custom sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, chips and hummus, toast, crouton-topped side salads and signature Flybys, which feature flavor combinations such as spinach and feta baked inside oregano and olive oil dough to create a pocket of goodness. This sandwich spot sources the java of Tampa-based Birds of a Feather Coffee Company and additional products from area purveyors including St. Pete Ferments. "The Tampa Bay community has supported Gulf Coast Sourdough for more than four years now, and we are so pleased to have a home base where we can connect with them more often," Cann said in a news release. 5214 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. (813) 563-7687.

NoHo Junction

North Hyde Park neighbors with Cass Street Deli and multiple apartment buildings, the 4,000-square-foot food court carries casual eats from a variety of vendors. Royal Palace Asian Express and Pizza Pizza by Michele mingle with perennial Tampa barbecue favorite Sarge's Smokehouse BBQ, serving a slightly expanded version of its mobile kitchen menu. Deli sandwiches and sides, cheeseburgers and vegan wraps; build-your-own tacos with chicken, carnitas and carne asada; and banana splits, scoops of ice cream and milkshakes rounded out the offerings on a recent visit. And according to the NoHo Junction Facebook page, doughnuts, coffee and a juice bar with acai bowls are planned, too. The space itself appears to be still in the works, as signage for each vendor isn't displayed yet. Expect a grab-and-go selection of beverages and bites (think sushi or macaroni salad), limited seating and a lounge area with a big flat-screen TV. 1500 W Cass St., Tampa. (813) 285-4005.


Time to get your fried green tomato fix. The homestyle indoor-outdoor American diner reopened on Friday at its larger, long-awaited location in Gulfport with breakfast, brunch and lunch. A neighborhood staple originally launched two blocks down the street in 2009, Stella's is known for churning out specials that change daily and popular options like corned beef hash and the famous BLT layering fried green tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon and spicy mayo on sourdough. 2914 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport. (727) 498-8950.

Le Boudoir

South Tampa eatery So Gourmet has morphed into Le Boudoir, a European restaurant and wine bar opened last month. There's still an emphasis on French pastry. Lunch brings items like charcuterie, risotto and ham croquettes and tomato tart, while dinner features octopus salad, coq au vin and duck confit. As for weekend brunch, eggs, meat pies, quiche, crepes and $15 bottomless mimosas are highlights. 3301 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 835-8045.

Santo Espiritu Bakery

Opened on July 20 as part of the Bay Plaza center, Santo Espiritu Bakery specializes in all sorts of Colombian goodies. The cozy bakehouse churns out arepas, pan de bono (cheese bread), croissants, empanadas and roscon de arequipe (dulce de leche bread), to name a few treats, complementing them with coffee drinks. "Santo Espiritu" translates to Holy Spirit. 5537C Sheldon Road, Tampa. (813) 769-9341.

Hacienda Corralejo Mexican Kitchen

This restaurant took over the former site of iThai Sushi and Sports Bar with funkier decor. Hacienda Corralejo Mexican Kitchen's large menu caters to chicken, beef and seafood fans as much as vegetarians, offering house signatures — among them the Oaxaca enchilada with mole, sopes and Guanajuato burrito with queso dip — to accompany Tex-Mex stalwarts. On the drinks side, everything from margaritas and red or white sangria to imported and domestic cervezas is poured at the full bar. 1238 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 953-3484.

Mickey's Subs

"Where Ingredients Matter" is the tagline of Mickey's Subs. Decked out in lime green and a curious sub-themed mural showcasing a UFO abduction and what might be tomatoes with wings, the small West Tampa sandwich shop incorporates Boar's Head meats and cheese and other ingredients into its generously stuffed subs. You can go the simple Cuban and ham route or opt for the buzzed-about London broil. 4411 N Armenia Ave., Tampa. (813) 644-4026.

Chai Mixology

The EDGE District bubble tea joint doing poke bowls on top of customizable boba premiered last week. Start with fresh tea, milk tea or a blended smoothie base to build the popular Taiwanese beverage to your liking, then fill it with tapioca boba, popping boba or jelly. Finally, to achieve Chai Mixology nirvana, the crew allows you to choose from flavors such as coconut, avocado, cookies and cream, strawberry and taro — and mix and match as many as two. An extra scoop of boba runs you $1. 1106 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.


Book and Bottle

Book and Bottle will function as a community gathering place for shopping, reading and sipping. Owned by self-proclaimed oenophile and bibliophile Terra Dunham, who is studying to become a certified sommelier, the wine bar and bookstore aims to open in downtown St. Petersburg in winter. But it has already started posting reviews and a recommended book and bottle pairing on its blog the first Tuesday of every month. The featured August match is If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais and MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc. 17 Sixth St. N, St. Petersburg.

Cru Cellars

The next spot headed for Westshore Marina District? This popular wine bar and restaurant. Cru Cellars, established nine years ago in South Tampa, will occupy 2,400 square feet at the mixed-use waterfront community near Gandy and West Shore boulevards. Look forward to the neighborhood hangout's extensive bill of wines and a lunch menu next summer, along with charcuterie, pastries, coffee and cocktails. Owners Jennifer and Torrey Bingham operate the second Cru Cellars location in Tampa Heights at Armature Works food hall Heights Public Market, making Westshore Marina District the third.

RELATED: Cru Cellars is coming to Tampa's Westshore Marina District next summer

Dead Bob's Too

The late-night locals haven slinging burgers and cheap booze since 2014 will expand from St. Petersburg to South Tampa with a second outpost. Signage for Dead Bob's Too with the glorious words "Open till 3 a.m." is up and construction has begun on the long-vacant building where Irish taphouse Reilly's last operated. Fall is the projected opening date of this beloved dive bar, according to Facebook. Here's hoping it brings those fried pot roast nuggets across the bay. 3681 S West Shore Blvd., Tampa.


  1. Downtown St. Petersburg's Watergarden Inn at the Bay houses a new popup restaurant called the Kitchen at Watergarden. [Courtesy of the Kitchen at Watergarden]
  2. Watermelon salad with feta and mint [MICHELLE STARK  |  Times]
  3. An illustration of a casserole. [Illustration by Lisa Merklin   |   Times]
  4. Chef Joe Isidori will lead JoToro, which is opening soon at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa. [Courtesy of JoToro]
  5. Tampa's El Toro Loco features more than a dozen tacos, including crispy fried fish, center. [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
  6. Gulfport's North End Taphouse pours a Tampa Bay-focused lineup of craft beers, ciders and hard seltzers. [MEAGHAN HABUDA | Times] [MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Times]
  7. New in Clearwater, the Healthy Hive specializes in energizing teas and protein smoothies. [Courtesy of the Healthy Hive]
  8. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
    Strawberry shortcake is among the attractions at Plant City's Florida Strawberry Festival, which will kick off on Feb. 27. [Tampa Bay Times (2016)]
  9. New '47 brand caps featuring spring training designs are on display as the Phillies reveal what's new at Spectrum Field in Clearwater. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  10. Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams plans to open two locations in Tampa this summer. [Courtesy of Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams]
  11. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay. [Dat Dog]
  12. The Cheesecake Factory will bring an iconic selection of more than 50 cheesecakes and desserts to Clearwater mall Westfield Countryside this year. [Courtesy of the Cheesecake Factory]