This fast-casual Hawaiian-inspired franchise specializing in poke bowls, salads and burritos has launched at International Plaza. On July 13, Pokeworks will make the opening official with a buy-one-get-one-free deal on its dishes, plus giveaways and prizes. The franchise offers a menu of eight signature builds — including the Umami Classic (ahi tuna, green and sweet onion, hijiki seaweed, cucumber, sesame seeds, umami shoyu sauce) — and a customizable option, offering you-pick-them toppings like fresh produce and seafood. Owned by John and Tina Anastasia, International Plaza’s Pokeworks marks the first Tampa Bay location for the 4-year-old franchise started in New York. The Anastasias are slated to debut their second local outpost next month in the University of South Florida area; it’s part of the University Collection center on Fowler Avenue. Pokeworks, which has more than 100 locations around the country, aims to open an additional 100-plus sites by the end of 2020. 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Suite 230B, Tampa. (813) 749-4136. pokeworks.com.
Hidden Star Tiki Bar
Opened to the public on June 29, Hidden Star Tiki Bar can be found inside downtown Tampa staple Anise Global Gastrobar. A secret entrance leads to the tucked-away watering hole’s playful tropical cocktails and intimate setting. But first: Stop by the host stand, where you fill out a card to claim one of the limited seats, then wait for the host to escort you in. Want to get there sooner? Visit the Anise Global Gastrobar website to sign up for an email list with expedited entry details. Hidden Star Tiki Bar operates 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 777 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 225-4272. aniseglobal.com.
22nd Street Coffee
The neighborhood coffee shop with a patio out front celebrated its grand opening in May. Honoring Ybor City and the convivial nature of cups of joe, 22nd Street Coffee carries various hot and iced drinks, among them the signature Cono Coffee that calls for homemade whipped cream, and house brews such as Mountain Supremo, a medium roast blended with Central and South America beans grown at a high altitude. You can grab a quick bite to eat, too, from the lineup of breakfast sandwiches, pastries and other bites. 208 N 22nd St., Tampa. (813) 304-0373. 22ndstreetcoffee.com.
Blush Tea and Coffee
At founder Lori Bishop’s cozy gathering place, more than 90 teas, some of which are from TeBella Tea Company, mingle with roasts and blends by Zeal Coffee Roasters and Eastlick Coffee Co. On the food side, Mana Bakery supplies the pastries. 2382 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 592-2648. blushteaandcoffee.com.
Slice of the Burg
The main draw of Slice of the Burg is pizza, including pies built upon low-carb and gluten-free crusts. However, the recently opened restaurant prides itself on more than just those cheesy rounds. Slice of the Burg serves everything from Philly cheese steaks and wings to “cinna knots” and loaded tots, filling dine-in, delivery and takeout orders well into the evening. 10484 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 576-8272. sliceoftheburg.com.
Il Ritorno owners Erica and chef David Benstock have teamed up with Hype Group owner Brooke Boyd and her husband Peter, who owns Boyd Construction, to introduce this salad joint in downtown St. Petersburg. Greenstock, which takes over the former Kalamazoo Olive Company space, will put an emphasis on ingredients (think freshly prepared proteins and house-made dressings) through its menu of create-your-own and signature salads ranging from $12 to $15 and panini. The place plans to premiere in September. “Nothing we serve will come in a can or jar,” according to a statement from Erica Benstock. “When we say fresh, we truly mean it.” Greenstock is steps away from Il Ritorno, which launched on the 400 block in 2013. “Guests of Greenstock will find the same attention to detail and dedication to ingredient integrity that Il Ritorno is known for,” added David Benstock in the statement. “These are things we’ll never compromise on.” 449 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
Beachwood Seafood Kitchen and Bar
In the short-lived home of Suegra Tequila Cantina and, before that, City Fish, Beachwood Seafood Kitchen and Bar is opening soon. The restaurant, another culinary project from the FlameStone American Grill owners, has started holding open interviews for all positions, including servers, hosts, kitchen staff, dishwashers and managers. Promising a vibe both casual and sophisticated, Beachwood Seafood Kitchen and Bar shared a few photographic sneak peeks with its Facebook followers last month: shots of the stylish dining room and bar, as well as tempting sushi. 4022 Tampa Road, Oldsmar. (813) 537-8080. beachwoodseafoodkitchen.com.
La La’s Sangria Bar
House-made sangria is the focus of this Channel District watering hole. Under construction and expected to debut in the fall, La La’s Sangria Bar will showcase local craft beer and tapas on top of sangria presented in dreamy-sounding flavors like blueberry sage. 203 N Meridian Ave., Tampa. lalassangriabar.com.