Three friends' longtime dream will culminate when 7th+Grove, a Southern-inspired restaurant designed to be a hub for creatives from all walks of life, opens on Ybor City's 7th Avenue later this month.
Jamaris Glenn and Vondalyn Crawford met in Tallahassee while studying pharmacy at Florida A&M University. They stayed friends after moving back to Tampa, where Crawford opened her own pharmacy and became friends with Khalilaa McDuffie, who owned OTL, a smoke shop and lounge.
The friends found themselves feeling there was something missing in the fabric of Tampa's burgeoning creative scene: a space for diversity.
"Equal equity. We feel like its missing," Glenn said. So we decided to make our seat at the table."
7th+Grove, he said, is designed to be a space where creatives can eat, drink and network with like-minded individuals.
"Ybor was a perfect space for our place because of how welcoming it is in people of different backgrounds," Glenn said.
The restaurant's menu, created by James Roberts, sous chef at the Lure in St. Petersburg, will feature Southern staples with a nod to its Ybor surroundings in items like "collard green cigarrillos," greens fried in an egg-roll like cigar shape, or the "Afro-Cuban," where the pickles are replaced with pickled fried okra, though Glenn said sandwich purists shouldn't fret.
"Tampa is really big when it comes to Cuban sandwiches, and we want to put our hat in the ring," Glenn said. "As people born and raised here, we know what a Cuban is supposed to taste like."
The restaurant will open for business on July 26 at 1930 E. 7th Ave. It will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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