The flavors of Mexico via Fort Lauderdale are coming to Tampa when new restaurant Lona opens inside the Tampa Marriott Water Street. Founded by chef Richard Sandoval, it will open July 18 in the space where Garrison Tavern — which was also owned by Sandoval — was previously located.
The original Lona is based in Fort Lauderdale. The Tampa location is in collaboration with chef Pablo Salas, founder and owner of Mexico restaurant Amaranta.
“We are thrilled to bring the flavors and essence of Lona to Tampa,” Sandoval said in a news release. “Our team is dedicated to crafting unforgettable dishes using the freshest ingredients, and we look forward to sharing our passion for Mexican cuisine with the community.”
The food is billed as an “elevated but approachable expression of Mexican fare,” with a menu that features contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes. Lump crab guacamole, lobster quesadilla and house-made churros are a few examples, with chef’s specials like Steak Tampiqueña and Pablo’s Fajitas made with roasted sweet peppers.
Weekend brunch programming is expected to be launched later this year.
The beverage program includes a list of more than 200 mezcals and tequilas, with private selections of Maestro Dobel Diamante and Maestro Dobel Añejo. Guests can stash bottles from the spot’s collection in private tequila lockers.
In Spanish, the word “lona” means “canvas,” which inspired decor that will feature tapestries and pottery leading up to the indoor dining room and redesigned patio space. Patrons of Garrison Tavern who loved the Top Golf simulator suites will be happy to know that those are available in the new space.
What to know before you go to Lona
Lona is inside the Tampa Marriott Water Street at 505 Water St. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Happy hour is available daily from 4-6 p.m. Three hours of complimentary valet parking is available for all Lona guests. Park with the Tampa Marriott Water Street valet team and tickets will be validated at Lona. Lona is also available for private dining and events. lonatampa.com.