TAMPA — As soon as Foundation Coffee Co. exited from its booth at Sparkman Wharf, Blind Tiger was ready to take over.
Owner Roberto Torres said Blind Tiger No. 6 will start serving its local roasts from inside one of Sparkman’s repurposed shipping container kiosks this Friday.
It will be the coffee shop’s soft opening ahead of its grand-opening celebration the following weekend.
Sparkman Wharf opened this time last year as a gathering spot inside Jeff Vinik’s and Strategic Property Partners $3 billion Water Street development project.
Foundation Coffee Co., which has two full-service locations in Tampa Heights and Riverview, was among the original tenants. It ended its lease with the outdoor food court last week.
“So, Sparkman Wharf called us and we said absolutely," Torres said. “It’s very exciting.”
This isn’t the first time this year Torres has moved fast into a spot left behind by another coffee purveyor. One of his other recent expansions, a small Blind Tiger inside the WestShore Plaza mall, took over a former Starbucks. Blind Tiger also took over a large suburban Starbucks in Westchase. The original Blind Tiger opened in Ybor City in 2014.
Torres is used to adjusting his store model to the right scale. He already runs a small Blind Tiger counter space on the bottom floor of the Times Building on Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa.
Its new spot at Sparkman will be just 125 square feet.
The cafe will serve Blind Tiger’s coffee and specialty drinks, along with pastries, croissants, avocado toast and other light fare.