New Japanese place. Now open on Franklin Street. Sounds really good. Read about it – plus more local culinary news – below, and be sure to bookmark it cltampa.com/food to get this update in real time.
Now open it
Haiku An Instagrammable space, filled with lush greenery and neon, is located on the lower floor of Element’s apartment in downtown Tampa. Inside, Chef David Reyes creates a creative menu that focuses on Izakaya-style food (Izakaya is “the type of informal Japanese bar serving alcoholic drinks and small plates” according to the press release – think Japanese tapas). It goes without saying that the shareable items are the stars of the Asian fusion menu: duck bao buns, hamachi crudo and tebasaki wings. But there are plenty of appetizers for anyone who doesn’t like to share such as pork belly fried rice and savory umami salmon. Plus various wood-fired yakitori, sushi and toro market prices. There’s also an impressive bar menu, with old-fashioned smoked lychees and a stacked sake menu. Legitimate. Foodies may remember that the room was supposed to open as a distinct Asian fusion and cocktail bar called Shibui, which is part of a partnership between Nocturnal Hospitality Group and Viviani Hospitality Group owned by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. But then all the Nocturnal Hospitality Group nonsense happened, prompting Viviani to withdraw from partnerships and related projects. A Haiku representative told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Haiku has no affiliation or ownership relationship with the Nocturnal group. “[Haiku] bought by new owners: Asad Yusupov and Kevin Stowe, Phoenix Hospitality Group, “wrote the representative in the email.” They are also the new owners of Eden (formerly Franklin Manor) which will open at the end of March. Chef Fabio wasn’t involved either. “ 808 N Franklin St., Tampa. haikutampa.com
Hyatt House and Hyatt Place IThere are two concept hotels under one roof, and it’s now open in downtown Tampa across from City Hall. For now, the hotel’s drinking and dining option is the Corazon Bar and Restaurant on the lobby floor which offers “regionally inspired lunch and dinner” items such as Cuban sandwiches, fish tacos and crunchy yucca with avocado cream. Guests can also visit H Market for snacks and ready-to-eat groceries 24/7, but buried in the opening news is the announcement of Junmai Station, a new concept from owner of Ebisu Sushi Shack in Seminole Heights. In a phone call with CL, Ron Simmons said his wife Akemi, who is originally from Kobe, Japan, wants to open up a more traditional Japanese concept and not focus too much on sushi (although Junmai will have several choices of sushi bowls). The venue will open on the Kennedy Boulevard side of the double Hyatt and feature onigiri – aka stuffed rice balls – as its signature dish. Onigiri is a staple food in Japan, and the Junmai version will lean more towards western-style foods like tuna mayo or Spam, and Ron expects the menu to evolve over time. 325. N Florida Ave., Tampa. hyatt.com
22 South The Historic Manhattan Casino brings the full-service food space concept to the Deuces, St. South Petersburg. St Pete Rising said 22 South Food Hall will consist of seven concepts serving sushi, Cajun, Jamaican, American and barbecue. Chef Melly of the popular food truck Three Generations Food Truck has been confirmed as the vendor. Room for private dining, extensive wine list with wines from around the world, and a sangria bar are also included. The only other dining venue that uses a full-service menu in a food hall setting is The Hall on Franklin, which was located under the Tampa Heights Creative Loafing Tampa Bay office until closing late last year. Although the exact opening date of 22 South is TBA, Historic Manhattan Casino is slated to open mid-March. 642 22nd St S, St. Petersburg. @ 22_guru on Facebook
Buddy Brew In early January, after Union by Commune + Co. announcing its closure at Armature Works, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay asked PR representatives at Buddy Brew to confirm rumors that a locally owned chain would open a new location in Tampa Heights food hall. “I spoke with Bangsal, and no, they cannot confirm this,” the representative told CL. But on Monday Buddy Brew – which has locations in Bay to Bay and in Hyde Park Village, Oxford Exchange, Tampa International Airport, and downtown Sarasota – announced plans to move into a food hall, with co-founder Dave Ward writing, “Armature Works is a special place that has so much architectural and cultural history, and is perfect for the latest expansion of Buddy Brew. “The room, which the PR representative said will indeed live in a former Union by Commune + Co. stall, will serve coffee products as well as” a full breakfast and lunch menu, including Buddy Brew’s signature avocado toast with boiled eggs. ” The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported the news Monday ahead of the press release and said Susan and Dave Ward’s wife-and-husband team had ties to Armature Works co-founder Chas Bruck, whose company SoHo Capital owns the Buddy Brew’s Bay to Bay Boulevard cafe and production facilities at West Cass Street. Dave Ward did not disclose the cost of opening the 450-square-foot Armature Works site – which could open as early as later this month – but told TBBJ that “It was a very coincidental deal,” adding that “From a sales per square foot perspective, [the new location] must be the best so far. “ 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. buddybrew.com
Pye Road Meadworks Owned by husband and wife Matt and Debbie McDonough, the honey brewery is looking to open this month and will be operating – for now – at half as little capacity inside (outside seating is also available). Located in the Hillsborough County sector in Odessa, Pye Road also offers craft beers for those not interested in drinking mead. “Our focus will be on large, light, carbonated sweet mead and low ABV mead suitable for a summer day in Florida,” Matt McDonough told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. 8533 Gunn Hwy., Odessa. pyeroad.com
The whole meal St Petersburg’s Suncoast Fitness has shared plans to move out this summer and make room for its owners to build Whole Foods. Its location, close to the Old Northeast neighborhood, will be St. Petersburg’s first Whole Foods. Petersburg, and is just a few blocks from the corner where the two Publix markets are across the street from each other and only a mile from Fresh Market and Trader Joes. 203 38th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. wholefoodsmarket.com
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