Advertisement
  1. Food

Chris Ponte will open a new restaurant at Midtown Tampa

Tampa Bay chef Chris Ponte, of Cafe Ponte and On Swann, is set to open a new restaurant at Midtown Tampa. These are renderings of the space. (Courtesy of Midtown Tampa)
Published May 1

Chris Ponte, one of the Tampa Bay area's culinary leaders for the past decade-plus, is opening a new restaurant at Midtown Tampa.

The 1.8 million-square-foot Midtown Tampa project is planned for the intersection of N Dale Mabry Highway and I-275 will include dining options in addition to office buildings, apartments, a hotel and a Whole Foods Market. Ponte's new space joins the previously announced True Food Kitchen, the first Tampa Bay location for the health-conscious restaurant co-founded by Dr. Andrew Weil and backed by an investment from Oprah Winfrey.

Ponte is a James Beard-nominated chef who has trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and cooked with notable chefs around the world. In 2002, he opened Café Ponte off Ulmerton Road in Pinellas County, an upscale spot that made a name for itself long before the area's recent culinary boom. Our former food critic Laura Reiley placed it on her 2019 list of the area's most romantic restaurants, saying it's a reliable place "for business lunches and amorous assignations fueled by wild mushroom bisque, classic steak tartare and short ribs with Moroccan carrot puree and sesame dates."

In 2016, Ponte and his wife Michelle partnered with former Outback Steakhouse senior vice president Trudy Cooper and former Bonefish Grill president John Cooper to open On Swann in Tampa's Hyde Park Village. (We think it's one of the best small plates restaurants in Tampa Bay.) The Pontes are also set to open Olivia, an Italian restaurant named after their daughter, soon at 3601 W Swann Ave.

Their 5,000-square-foot Midtown Tampa restaurant will seat 200 guests and include a full bar and lounge. It will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on the weekends.

In a press release, Ponte said: "Midtown is a first-class, one-of-a-kind destination. The location just off I-275 makes Midtown the perfect choice for our new concept in the Tampa market. In addition to opening an exciting restaurant as a destination for Tampa foodies, it will be easy for our long-time Cafe Ponte patrons from Pinellas County to cross the Courtney Campbell bridge and join us for lunch or dinner."

He said the restaurant will serve food similar to Cafe Ponte's fare: elegant American cuisine with French and Italian influences.

Michelle Ponte added: "Set near the heart of Midtown's central square just off the main entrance at Cypress Street, we'll have a lively, dynamic location."

No opening date for the restaurant was given, but Midtown Tampa aims to open in early 2021.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Celebrity chef and restaurateur Fabio Viviani inside Osteria in downtown Tampa. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times (2018)
    The high-end spot is called La Pergola, and it’s set to launch next year.
  2. KFC's latest creation features donuts. KFC
    You can’t get these in Florida yet, but the new menu items are already popular on social media.
  3. Zongo IPA Tampa Bay Brewing Company
    The hazy New England-style IPA is on tap at the brewery’s tasting rooms in Ybor City and Westchase. | Craft beer of the week
  4. Neighbors with Cafe Ten-O-One, CellarMasters Wine Bar & Bottle Shop aims to debut before Thanksgiving. MEAGHAN HABUDA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Appetizers and small plates are planned alongside wines by the glass and bottle.
  5. The fun, witty menu at Brandon's Strandhill Public features a six-minute egg wrapped in ground Irish pork. The whole thing is panko-fried, then served with pickled red peppers and spicy hollandaise. Courtesy of Rory Martin
    The modern bar and restaurant doesn’t feature any harps or shamrocks, but it does embrace present-day Ireland without losing sight of the past.
  6. Rick's on the River has called West Tampa home for 25 years. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times (2009)
    Rick’s on the River celebrates 25 years in Tampa, Oktoberfest, wine tastings and Taste of Laura Street in Plant City.
  7. Patrons hit the dance floor at Tampa venue Skipper's Smokehouse in 2015. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times (2015)
    A 12-hour party in the Skipperdome, stargazing and a family-friendly Williams Park festival provide free and cheap entertainment.
  8. A natural wine (Bianco di Ampeleia, 2017, from Italy) is poured at Cru Cellars in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    From pét-nats to skin-contact whites, natural wines are popping up at restaurants, coffee shops and wine bars across the bay.
  9. Natural wines at Cru Cellars in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    New to the growing trend? Start with these wines.
  10. Hoisin-glazed chicken meatballs. LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times
    They’re topped with a hoisin sauce, and can be baked or pan-fried.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement