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Four Green Fields pub chosen to bring Irish flavor to Curtis Hixon park

A rendering of the restaurant to be opened by Four Green Fields has a Gaelic feel. The eatery, expected to cost $680,000 to build, will include a raw bar with inside and outside seating.
A rendering of the restaurant to be opened by Four Green Fields has a Gaelic feel. The eatery, expected to cost $680,000 to build, will include a raw bar with inside and outside seating.
Published Jul. 6, 2017

TAMPA — Some of the longest lines at this year's St. Patrick's Day festivities at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park were for the corned beef and cabbage.

Soon, it will be a year-round offering at the park.

City officials announced Wednesday that Four Green Fields has won the bid to build a restaurant in Curtis Hixon.

With its thatched roof, white-washed walls and Irish memorabilia, the pub on W Platt Street has long been a popular watering hole for downtown drinkers.

A rendering of the proposed new pub shows an equally Gaelic looking venue. It will include a raw bar with inside and outside seating and will cost an estimated $680,000 to build. Construction is scheduled to start in mid August and is expected to take just 16 weeks.

The park pub will be handily placed for future St. Patrick Day's festivities, right next to the stretch of the Hillsborough River that the city dyes bright green every March.

"The city received seven very enticing proposals but the Four Green Fields concept with a raw bar is exactly what downtown Tampa is craving," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement. "For over 25 years, Four Green Fields has been a tried and true staple in Tampa and their vision for the park seamlessly integrates with our busy event schedule while providing a much needed additional food options."

The other bidders for the project included Columbia Food Services; John Oraha, the owner of City Dog Cantina; and Richard Calderoni with El Goya LLC, which operates the Hula Bay Club Waterfront Bar & Grille and Duke's Retired Surfer's Island Bar.

"They were creative," Buckhorn said in an interview Monday. "Some financially were better for the city than others. Obviously, that's going to be a big consideration. There were some legitimate and credible and serious folks who bid."

In 2015, the block that includes Four Green Fields' Platt Street site was bought by St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School for $3.75 million. The pub became a tenant of the school's and plans to continue operating at the site, owner Colin Breen said at the time. Four Green Fields also has a pub at Tampa International Airport.

Still to be announced is the city's decision on putting a restaurant in an empty space across the street from the Tampa Convention Center. The city has 10,000 square feet at the corner of S Franklin Street and Channelside Drive, where the Tampa Bay History Center was until 2009.

For that space, the city got only one proposal, from Ronald Evans of Smuggler's Enterprises for a Harpoon Harry's Crab House.

Evans runs Harpoon Harry's Restaurant & Bar in Punta Gorda, where the menu highlights include seafood either steamed, fried or served on the half-shell, plus sandwiches, salads and crab cakes.

Buckhorn said Evans was a "real restaurateur" with good financial backing.

"I know that he can do the job, even though there was only one" bid, Buckhorn said.

Staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report. Contact Christopher O'Donnell at codonnell@tampabay.com. Follow @Codonnell_Times.