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Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Clearwater Brewing Company, Grain and Berry in South Tampa

Greek and Lebanese eats from Baba, part fast-casual bakery and part full-service restaurant, are coming to St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. [Courtesy of Baba]
Published May 6

NOW OPEN

Clearwater Brewing Company

A two-day grand opening for this gas station-turned-anticipated brewery took place over the weekend. In the works since 2017, Clearwater Brewing Company will put an emphasis on seasonality, according to brewmaster Aaron Barth, who has brewed for Florida Avenue Brewing Co. and international cruise line Carnival. The brewery has also teamed up with its neighbor, Arthur's Homestyle BBQ, to supply beer-drinking guests with food. 1700 N Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. Toll-free 1-844-737-1700. clearwaterbrewingcompany.com.

Sushi Rock Grill

Need to get your sushi fix near the Pinellas Bayway? Look no further than Sushi Rock Grill, launched where Japanese restaurant Tokyo Bay used to operate. The usual suspects — among them nigiri, makimono and sashimi — are listed on Sushi Rock Grill's large lineup, as are lunch and dinner entrees like chicken katsu, yakisoba noodles and tuna poke. Hot and cold sake, wine and bottled beer are available, too. 5901 Sun Blvd., No. 122, St. Petersburg. (727) 867-0770. sushirockgrill.com.

Grain and Berry

As of Saturday, the long-awaited South Tampa location for Grain and Berry has arrived. This local superfood cafe chain, which our former food critic Laura Reiley named in her roundup of the best bowls in Tampa Bay, specializes in all sorts of — you guessed it — bowls. Options include everything from acai and pitaya to spirulina and kale, as well as smoothies, avocado toast, yogurt banana splits and juices. 1155 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 281-1011. grainandberry.com.

Win Win Asian Kitchen

The name says it all, apparently. Win Win Asian Kitchen, which celebrated its grand opening on April 15, showcases a variety of menu favorites, including Chinese fried rice, Thai green curry, vegetable spring rolls, chicken pad Thai and Korean barbecue steak. You can make any dish a combo, and takeout and catering are offered. 812 Providence Road, Brandon. (813) 653-1111.

COMING SOON

Baba

Have you spied the secret passion project from Bodega owners George and Debbie Sayegh? Next to Casita Taqueria and across from Bandit Coffee Co. in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, the couple aim to start working American flair into a Greek and Lebanese menu largely influenced by their family. After all, Baba is the Lebanese and Greek word for "Dad." Shooting for a summer premiere, Baba's full-service restaurant will spotlight starters and entrees — not to mention Lebanese- and Greek-inspired cocktails — while its fast-casual bakery will feature pita bread made in-house, sandwiches, kebabs, Greek coffee and pastries here and there. Indoor and outdoor seating are other highlights of Baba, but the best part might be the little treasure you leave with after each visit. Debbie has painted an eyelike symbol onto a ridiculous amount of rocks, which will serve as "amulets" protecting against the evil eye curse that many Mediterranean cultures believe causes misfortune. 2701 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. babaoncentral.com.

Chris Ponte's next eatery

One of the culinary leaders in Tampa Bay for the past decade-plus is opening a new restaurant at Midtown Tampa. The next eatery for James Beard Award-nominated chef Chris Ponte doesn't have a name or opening date yet (the Midtown Tampa project expects to launch in early 2021). However, we do know it will seat 200 guests and include a full bar and lounge. In a news release, Ponte said the 5,000-square-foot restaurant, just off Midtown Tampa's main entrance at Cypress Street, will serve food similar to that of his fine-dining Cafe Ponte: elegant American cuisine with French and Italian influences. Expect lunch and dinner daily, and brunch on weekends. Alongside Cafe Ponte, the chef is also behind Hyde Park Village's On Swann and soon-to-open Italian spot Olivia in South Tampa. North Dale Mabry Highway and I-275, Tampa.

Wandering Whisk Bakeshop

Owner Jennifer Jacobs has found the first brick-and-mortar storefront she can call her own. Wandering Whisk Bakeshop's "boutique bakery studio," on the border of Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg, hopes to debut in July or August. The idea is for Jacobs to spend most of the time preparing her custom creations, but on a larger scale. The bakery will open to the public primarily during popups, where guests can browse a "whole case of desserts," especially around the holidays. She has grand plans for baking classes, too, plus wholesaling. wanderingwhiskbakeshop.com.

CLOSED

The Bungalow

This low-key South Tampa restaurant and bar with a patio deck shaded by palm trees and other foliage has closed. There's now a banner for a place called Old School Bar and Grill hanging outside of the bungalow-style home originally built in 1919. The forthcoming hangout bills itself as "a music joint," so stay tuned. 2202 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

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