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Tampa’s foodie Epicurean Hotel in Hyde Park gets a $21 million expansion

The boutique culinary hotel by Bern’s Steak House is using historic nearby apartment buildings to add 51 rooms and suites.
A rendering for plans of the extension of the Epicurean hotel in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood.
A rendering for plans of the extension of the Epicurean hotel in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood. [ The Epicurean ]
Published Jun. 21|Updated Jun. 21

The Epicurean, South Tampa’s themed hotel for foodies and wine enthusiasts, is about to take a bigger bite out of Hyde Park.

This time, it’s a historic one.

The sleek 137-room boutique hotel opened in 2013 as a place guests where could learn to cook fancy dishes in its culinary theater, pick up pointers on Pinot Grigio or partake at the rooftop bar. Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, it was developed by Mainsail Lodging & Development in collaboration with the world-famous Bern’s Steak House just across Howard Avenue and south of the rowdier SoHo entertainment district.

A rendering for plans of the extension of the Epicurean hotel in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood.
A rendering for plans of the extension of the Epicurean hotel in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood. [ Courtesy of the Epicurean ]

Now — for its “second course,” as the hoteliers call it — two historic 1920s fourplex apartment buildings across the street from the hotel will become eight new suites. A third building between those apartments and Bern’s will provide parking and more lodging for a total of 51 new guest rooms.

“Basically we wanted to blend in (the neighborhood) like we did when we first built this hotel,” said general manager Shawn Routten. “We’ll be taking over a whole block with Bern’s, which is very exciting to us.”

The $21 million expansion, slated to open in spring or summer 2023, will include a rooftop terrace, meeting space, private lobby and two floors housing 91 parking spaces.

The old, somewhat dilapidated apartments are currently a hard hat site, but hoteliers say they once housed Cuban cigar workers. The buildings have been structurally shored up, and developers say they are working to keep many of the old touches, including original brick fireplaces, wooden staircases, floor tile and stucco facades.

“It adds to kind of that historic, I’m-getting-somewhere-special feel,” Routten said.

These two historic apartment buildings on Howard Avenue in Hyde Park will soon become part of the Epicurean Hotel.
These two historic apartment buildings on Howard Avenue in Hyde Park will soon become part of the Epicurean Hotel. [ SUE CARLTON I Times ]

“We’re really bringing them back to their original grandeur,” said Tom Haines, vice president of operations for Mainsail. “They haven’t actually had any grandeur in the last couple of decades.”

“It will have really the essence of what it was,” he said.

The view from the 1920s Hyde Park apartments on Howard Avenue that will soon house suites for the Epicurean Hotel.
The view from the 1920s Hyde Park apartments on Howard Avenue that will soon house suites for the Epicurean Hotel. [ SUE CARLTON I Times ]

The expansion will include the same kind of food-and-wine touches as the current hotel — art made from corks, a chandelier done in wine and liquor bottles.

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Routten noted that the hotel’s expansion coincides with the city’s current growth, particularly around downtown.

“What a great time to be in Tampa as we continue to flourish,” he said.

EDGE Rooftop Lounge at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa
EDGE Rooftop Lounge at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa [ Marriott ]

The existing Epicurean Hotel was built on what used to be parking for Bern’s. Today it houses Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits, and the hotel sells vintage cookbooks collected by the steakhouse’s late namesake, Bern Laxer. Proceeds benefit a culinary scholarship in his name, Routten said.

Epicurean also features a “Bern’s Steak-Cation Package” — one night at the hotel with confirmed dinner reservations at Bern’s.

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