Dessert shop, ‘oyster room’ among restaurants set for Water Street Tampa

Developers have unveiled four new restaurants and shops slated to open in the downtown development.
The Pearl, which will open in downtown Tampa in fall of 2022, specializes in seafood dishes like fish and chips, oysters and shrimp boils, pictured here.
The Pearl, which will open in downtown Tampa in fall of 2022, specializes in seafood dishes like fish and chips, oysters and shrimp boils, pictured here. [ CHRIS CASELLA | Cameron Mitchell Restaurants ]
Published Nov. 3, 2021|Updated Nov. 3, 2021

Four new food and drink concepts — including an artisan chocolate shop and an oyster-focused tavern from the team behind Ocean Prime — are coming to Water Street Tampa, developers announced Wednesday.

Three of the restaurants will line the ground floors of the $3.5 billion development’s two new residential towers, Cora and Heron, while the fourth will open at nearby Sparkman Wharf.

Cora’s two additions have local roots. Tampa’s Cru Hospitality Group will open Small Giant Bar and Restaurant and Wine on Water this spring.

Small Giant will feature craft beers and cocktails and “Ohio-style pizza,” which is a thinner-crust pie with toppings from edge to edge, cut into small squares. (While not as famous as Brooklyn- or Chicago-style pizza, it is a real thing — there’s already one Ohio-style joint, Ohio Pizza Parlor, in St. Petersburg.)

Wine on Water is a combination wine bar and wine and liquor shop that will serve “small-production wines” by the glass in an outdoor garden that Cru said will be used for classes and gatherings in the months to come.

“We’re excited to be part of the fabric of life for those that work and live here,” Cru co-founder Jennifer Bingham said in a statement. “Small Giant will be their favorite corner bar to have a night out with friends or catch the game. If they want to relax at home with some wine or a favorite cocktail, then the bottles at Wine on Water are just moments away.”

Related: In the new Tampa Publix GreenWise Market, lots of organic food and kombucha

Over at Heron, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, the company that runs Ocean Prime, will debut The Pearl next to Water Street’s new Publix GreenWise Market. It’ll be the first Florida location for The Pearl, which has two spots open in Ohio.

The Pearl serves craft beer, drinks and sharable, artisanal takes on pub and tavern fare, from fried PB&Js to chicken wing confit to fish and chips. But its specialty is fare from what it calls the “oyster room,” featuring a selection of seasonal oysters, clams and shrimp-boil fare.

Opening in December at Sparkman Wharf is New York import Hampton Chocolate Factory, a New York brand that promises locally made chocolate treats, ice cream and other creative desserts “sourced from top pastry chefs in Tampa.” The Pearl will open in fall 2022.

Related: 5 things to know about The Battery, now open at Tampa's Sparkman Wharf

“The Water Street Tampa community will have direct access to some of the best cuisine in town,” Susan Martin, vice president of retail and place management for lead Water Street developers Strategic Property Partners, said in a statement. “A huge part of the experience of living and working here is the variety of retailers at your doorstep.”

Water Street Tampa is being developed by Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cascade Investment, which manages investments for Bill Gates.