SOUTH TAMPA — It doesn't get much easier — or healthier — than a breakfast, lunch or dinner bowl at Fresh Kitchen, the newest addition to the Ciccio Restaurant Group.
It's this simple: Pick a starch (rice, quinoa, kale slaw, sweet potato noodles and more); then choose two proteins, two veggies, a sauce (maybe ginger or coconut Sriracha) and pay $9.50 ($6 for kids' size; additional charge for steak, shrimp and tuna). A family-style order feeds four or five people for $33.
Artificial turf lines the walls; cold-pressed juices fill the cooler at Fresh Kitchen, on S Howard Avenue opposite Bern's Park, just a blip north of Bayshore Boulevard. Oxford Exchange executive chef Erin Guggino partnered with the restaurateurs to create the menu.
"We're grilling fresh all day," lead partner Steven Lanza said of what he hopes will be "the first of many" Fresh Kitchens. On Oct. 13, he'll add breakfast bowls: quinoa, scrambled eggs or egg whites and grilled veggie medley for $6, plus such add-ons as bacon, steak, assorted cheeses, avocado and salsa.
Desserts are "guilt-free," Lanza said, recommending a raw vegan brownie or almond butter rice crisp treat. "You've got to try the pumpkin chia oatmeal."
Fresh Kitchen, 1350 S Howard Ave., is now open 9:30 a.m. to 9:35 p.m. daily. (Breakfast hours will be 7:30 to 11 a.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on weekends.) Visit cicciorestaurantgroup.com or call (813) 280-0515.
Blind Tiger Cafe, Co-Work Ybor
What is Black & Denim Apparel designer Roberto Torres brewing at the Blind Tiger Cafe in Ybor City?
California-made jeans, T-shirts, leather goods and accessories, sold along with Buddy Brew Coffee, TeBella Tea, Piquant pastries and Jerk Hut veggie patties. "Coffee, tea and textiles," Torres calls the food and fashion mashup named for what bootleggers called speakeasies in the Roaring '20s, "because a blind tiger couldn't hurt you." He anticipates a Nov. 6 opening.
At the same time, Torres is launching Co-Work Ybor in the adjacent office, an open communal space for creative entrepreneurs to network. Rent is $100 a month to share a conference room, high-speed Internet, free coffee and advice.
"It's an incubator for nontraditional retail, like food and beverage, like candlemakers and leather crafters, a category that gets overlooked," Torres said. The public is welcome to an open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 9).
Blind Tiger Cafe, 1901 E Seventh St., will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit their Facebook page.
Co-Work Ybor is at 1901-A Seventh Ave. Visit their Facebook page or call (813) 421-0129 for information on either business.
Channel District changes
Bamboozle Tea Lounge, 109 N 12th St., launches Sunday brunch Oct. 26, featuring mimosas and beignets, homemade granola and fresh fruit, in addition to its fresh Asian fusion specialties.
Nearby Mouton Noir bakery turned off the lights Sept. 28, closing after two years. "We are grateful for all the support of the Channel District residents," owner Francisco Arias said, adding "We were about two years too early to get the returns we were looking for."
Howard Johnson is now the Barrymore
Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown is now the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk. The new name reflects "a multimillion dollar refreshment project" at the 332-room hotel, Waterworks Bar and Grill and 6,000 square feet of meeting space. Throughout the 14-story hotel, an eclectic collection of local artists' works reminds guests they are in a burgeoning arts district, a short jaunt from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and the Tampa Museum of Art.
"We're an independent boutique hotel, not connected to the theatrical Barrymore family, but we love paying tribute to the performing and visual arts," said Larry Collier, director of hotel operations.
Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, 111 W Fortune St. Visit barrymorehotel.com or call (813) 223-1351.
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