1. Food

New restaurants: Amigos Tortilla Bar is open now, Jewish deli coming to Tampa

Times file Reuben sandwich. (Times files)
Times file Reuben sandwich. (Times files)
Published Nov. 20, 2018


Have you all noticed that CBD oil is everywhere? Yeah, me too. Now it's even in cocktails. The Tzekas family and Sea Sea Riders in Dunedin made it onto Restaurant Hospitality's Top 10 cocktails in the country for their Blueberry Yum Yum ($15). It's made with Nolets Gin, a blueberry shrub, Friexent Negro Brut, lemon juice, sugar and … a CBD-oil tincture. Bar manager Emine Tzekas said she adds only about 25 milligrams, which has a relaxing effect but adds no real flavor. "It's really a twist on a French 75." Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound in marijuana with a variety of uses. It's legal to use CBD oil in Florida containing 0.8 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent CBD. The cocktails were selected by editors of Restaurant Hospitality to spotlight innovation — in this case, CBD oil as a hot ingredient, even in states that have not yet legalized cannabis for recreational use.



I get these calls all the time. Best corned beef sandwich in Tampa Bay? Where do we go for matzo ball soup? Got a bead on good chopped liver? It's slim pickings for a solid Jewish deli in our area. Young restaurateurs Sean O'Brien, Garrett Garcia and Edward Shumard, left, are poised to open what they're calling one of Tampa's only authentic New York-style Jewish delis. They're calling it Cass Street Delicatessen (it's because of the address, but not bad that it sounds like Katz's Deli).

"After years of searching Tampa Bay for the perfect Reuben or bowl of matzo ball soup and always coming up empty, we decided it was time to give this market something it so desperately needs," O'Brien said. "This is the food I grew up on, and so many of the New York transplants living in this area grew up on, so it seems only fitting to give Tampa a truly authentic Jewish culinary experience."

It will feature breads from Jamison Bakery in Ybor City, hot dogs from Tambuzzo Sausage Co. in West Tampa and smoked meats from Ella's Folk Art Café in Seminole Heights.

Cass Street Delicatessen is slated to open in January at 1331 W Cass St., between Rome and Willow avenues. It will feature eat-in but also a grab-and-go market. For more information, visit


Local mediator Ken Bowen hosts his third annual Frogman Feast charity celebrity chef event Sunday at the 10,000-square-foot warehouse behind 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg. A whole bunch of chefs are pitching in to raise money for U.S. Navy SEALs and their Gold Star families when they don't make it home. There will be visiting chefs Pushkar Marathe of Ghee Miami; Keith Laturre of Sandfly Bar-B-Q in Savannah, Ga.; and Jeremy Ford of Stubborn Seed Miami. Local chefs include Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill; Jeffrey Hileman of Locale Market/FarmTable Cucina; Chad Johnson of Elevage/Epicurean/Haven; Jason Cline of Poke Rose; Chris Fernandez of Red Mesa; Ray Lampe of Dr. BBQ; Joshua Breen of Annata Wine Bar and Alto Mare; Antonio Casamento of Beccofino; Doug Bebell of Mystic Fish; Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster and the Till; the team from Buya Ramen; and Swah-rey Dessert Bar.

Paired with the food will be beers from 3 Daughters, wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle and boutique labels provided by Vine2Table Distributors, spirits from Kozuba & Sons and American Freedom Distilling, and ginger beer from Tidal Boar Ginger Beer. There will be a few Gold Star families in attendance at this casual, family-oriented event, as well as some Navy SEALs, Green Berets and other Special Operations warriors and their families. There will be live music as well as an auction. 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. 222 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. $75.


The 600 block of downtown St. Petersburg is an embarrassment of riches these days in terms of restaurants (The Lure, Maple Street Biscuit, Pacific Counter, etc.). Here's one more: Amigos Tortilla Bar, "Home of the Square Taco," has just opened at 681 Central Ave. Jack Anderson, Jesse Anderson and Eric Sindone have another location in Key West, but the innovation here is the tortilla machine that cuts masa (that's really just ground corn and water) into squares, the finished tortillas then stuffed with seasoned meats and fresh seafood, diced onions, chopped cilantro, pico de gallo and fresh salsas. Simple, portable, affordable. But I've gotta say, downtown is pretty packed right now — some fierce competition with tacos and poke bowls.