1. Food

Tampa Bay restaurant and bar openings: Datz in St. Petersburg, Hyde Park Village's Forbici make their anticipated arrivals

Next to the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, Datz’s long-awaited second restaurant opened last week in downtown St. Petersburg — sleek bar and all. [Datz Restaurant Group]
Published Jun. 17



Originally scheduled to open in May, the upscale-casual South Tampa stalwart has premiered its second restaurant on the other side of the bay. Next to the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, Datz owners Suzanne and Roger Perry offer edgy, Instagrammable comfort food items like the famous Cheesy Todd (a ground brisket and short rib burger between bacon-jalapeno mac and cheese "buns"), changing their selection on a quarterly basis. Keep an eye out for Ben, the Perrys' pooch depicted in an entryway mural, when you go. Datz is the flagship restaurant of Datz Restaurant Group, which also operates Dough, Roux and Dr. BBQ. 180 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 202-1182.

Forbici Modern Italian

Say hello to the latest addition to Hyde Park. Forbici — the culinary collaboration from Ciccio Restaurant Group co-founder Jeff Gigante and Brunetti Pizza co-owner Jason Brunetti, plus investor Joseph Guggino — focuses on Roman-style pizza featuring a long-fermented dough. Sturdier and thicker than the Neapolitan variety, these pies cut with scissors (forbici translates to scissors, after all) deliver a light and airy crust. There are no shortage of other Italian signatures with a fresh, simple touch, either. Or craft cocktails and wines on tap. Hyde Park Village, 1633 W Snow Ave., Tampa. (813) 251-8001.

Maple Street Biscuit Company

Maple Street Biscuit Company has expanded with a fifth Tampa Bay restaurant. The modern comfort food chain, started in Jacksonville, is known for its enticing lineup of flaky biscuit sandwiches, among them the Squawking Goat that combines fried chicken breast, house-made pepper jelly and a fried goat cheese medallion. 127 W Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon. (813) 409-3583.

Poke Point

Wesley Chapel's Poke Point recently rolled out two more outposts with customizable nosh. Dreamy poke bowls drive the fast-casual menu, alongside sushi burritos and boba. 13815 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, (813) 300-2121; 5383 Ehrlich Road, Suite 106, Tampa, (813) 450-1928.

The Salad Station

You pay by the pound for any salad (or wrap) masterpiece created at this franchise founded in Louisiana. The Salad Station completes what you can chow down on inside or out with a hot bar and a soup bar. 13811 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 425-4400.

Salty J's

Welcome to your newest neighborhood hangout with a beachy vibe. Opened June 1 in the former Cafe Vienna site, Salty J's offers stiff margaritas and bar food classics like wings, nachos, burgers, wraps and tacos. The best part might be that happy hour extends to the weekend, highlighting $3 Tito's, Bloody Marys, mimosas and Corona bottles, $2.50 Bud Light bottles and $6 breakfast burritos. 5625 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg.

Canopy Road Cafe

This Tallahassee staple has also grown its footprint locally, bringing the second location outside of Florida's capital (the first being Jacksonville) to Tampa. Canopy Road Cafe, which celebrated its grand opening last month, adds flair to traditional breakfast and lunch in a modern diner setting. Expect dishes such as the Fat Elvis pancakes, showcasing peanut butter chips, banana, chopped bacon and peanut butter drizzle, and Sweet Caroline, a sandwich topped with grilled chicken, crispy bacon, Swiss, bourbon barbecue sauce, coleslaw and sweet dill pickles. 10254 Causeway Blvd., Tampa. (813) 644-7079.

Carpeneto Italian Eatery

May 6 was opening day for Carpeneto Italian Eatery, a family-friendly restaurant known for cooking up crowd-pleasing eats like pasta, sandwiches and pizza. I mean, breaded and fried goat cheese and spinach ravioli affectionately dubbed "pillows"? Mall food doesn't sound so bad after all. Westfield Citrus Park, 8021 Citrus Park Town Center Blvd., Tampa. (813) 440-3660.



The tequila and taco joint next to South Tampa salon Mikel's is closed. Guac's number is disconnected, and the Tampa Bay Business Journal has reported that local restaurateur Dave Burton will fill its place with Tampa Pizza Company. Guac opened at 4110 Henderson Blvd. in 2018, replacing the more upscale Mexican spot that came before it: O Cocina.


Lolis Mexican Cravings

A "coming soon" banner for the popular restaurant's third location is up in South Tampa where coffeehouse and eatery the Daily Dose used to operate. Lolis Mexican Cravings specializes in menu favorites such as tacos, sopes and tamales. 3324 W Gandy Blvd., Tampa.


According to signage on the space previously home to a Subway in downtown St. Petersburg, this fast-casual, health-forward chain will premiere in September. Tampa-born SoFresh carries hot and cold signature wraps and bowls, including salads. The build-your-own option allows you to dream up lunch or dinner, while smoothies and juices are highlights on the beverage end. This is the first SoFresh for Pinellas County, as the others are found in Hillsborough and Manatee. 200 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Brew Bus Brewing

Earlier this month, Brew Bus Brewing, which is also behind the craft beer brand Florida Avenue Brewing Co., announced it bought a 34,000-square-foot facility in Pasco County. The purchase will allow the Tampa-based brewery to expand its brewing, canning and distribution efforts, and provide another tasting room. Additional features of the building are a beer garden, full-service restaurant and event space. "We are excited to expand our operations into Pasco County to provide the community with a family-friendly brewery, event and restaurant destination," CEO Anthony Derby said in a statement. "By this time next year, Pasco County residents will not only be working in our expanded operation, but also enjoying our products a bit closer to home." In addition to producing Brew Bus and Florida Avenue suds, Brew Bus Brewing gives tours of the Tampa Bay beer scene. 2029 Arrowgrass Drive, Wesley Chapel.

7th and Grove

Elevated Southern fare and specialty cocktails are headed for Ybor City. Sporting an "Eat. Vibe. Flourish." tagline, 7th and Grove will open over the summer next to neighborhood mainstay Sunday's Delicatessen. The new restaurant and lounge is pretty active on Instagram, teasing photos of items like collard green egg rolls and an interior mural by Paz Art Studios. 7th and Grove even went "live" with executive chef James Roberts on June 8 to share additional details on what to expect. Roberts, who said he loves the eclectic food culture of Tampa, hopes to tap into some misrepresented Southern and Florida cultures, defining the grub as an "urban twist on Southern and soul food." 1930 E Seventh Ave., Tampa.


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