These restaurants are slated for the outdoor dining space at Sparkman Wharf

Published August 21 2018
Updated August 21 2018

TAMPA -- The lineup is set for the outdoor dining space at Sparkman Wharf, where developers have assembled a Who’s Who of inventive Tampa chefs for what will be an open-air food hall on the waterfront.

The last to be announced is the chef who will get the most space: four-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist Jeannie Pierola.

She will occupy two of the 10 repurposed and mural-decorated shipping containers that Sparkman Wharf will have overlooking a 1-acre lawn.

Pierola plans to expand on her award-winning restaurant Edison: food+drink lab with Edison’s swigamajig divebar and fishkitchen.

"Super excited to join the extraordinary local culinary team that has been assembled," Pierola said in a statement released through Strategic Property Partners, a joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment.

Sparkman Wharf — a top-to-bottom re-working of the old Channelside Bay Plaza complex near the Florida Aquarium — is part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa mixed-use development.

When complete in early 2020, it will include about 180,000 square feet of office lofts, plus the Fermented Reality Biergarten, with more than 30 Florida craft beers on tap.

But the nine shipping-container restaurants announced over the past two weeks are scheduled to open in October.

Edison’s swigamajig is envisioned as a re-thinking of a traditional Florida seafood shack with a menu intended to go well beyond clarified butter and Old Bay seasoning, plus craft cocktails, beer and organic wines.

The other eight spots around the lawn have been set aside for:

• The Corners Pizza, run by chef Noel Cruz, known for his Ichicoro ramen restaurants, and Anthony Messina, who says he plans to feature "my grandmother’s recipe" for Detroit-style pizza (square with crisp cheesy edges).

• Flock & Stock, featuring burgers, chicken sandwiches, tenders and fries, will come courtesy of Dave Burton, a partner in Holy Hog BBQ in Tampa and the Getaway in St. Petersburg.

• BT-in-a-Box, offering small plates of some of the more popular French-Vietnamese dishes that BT Nguyen has been serving Tampanians for three decades.

• Montados, serving Spanish-style tapas and Spanish wines, is being created by Mise en Place duo Maryann Ferenc and Marty Blitz, plus Mise en Place alum Ben Carson.

• Boat Run Oyster Co., an offshoot of Tampa-based SaltBlock Hospitality, co-founded by Ryan Conigliaro and Scott J. Roberts. Watch for raw and chargrilled oysters, local shrimp rolls, stone crab and seasonal Florida fare.

• Gallito, a taqueria planned by chef Ferrell Alvarez and partner Ty Rodriguez, who are behind the Rooster & the Till farm-to-table restaurant in Seminole Heights.

• Whatever Pops, a version of the Seminole Heights popsicle stand where Steve McGlocklin offers flavors ranging from pineapple cilantro to Earl Grey lavender lemonade to "salty chocolate Elvis" — plus gelato, açaí bowls, and waffles-on-a-stick.

• Foundation Coffee, owned by Jason and Emily Smith, who work to source their coffee from places where farmers get an equitable price for their beans.

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