MICHELIN GUIDE EXPANDS TO TAMPA
Michelin announced in November that it will expand its Michelin Guide to Florida in 2022. The world’s most established, prestigious restaurant rating system will send anonymous guide inspectors to evaluate restaurants in Tampa, Orlando and Miami. A win for Tampa’s future economy, Michelin followers travel far and wide to patronize Michelin restaurants.
TAMPA AMONG BEST FOODIE CITIES IN NATION
WalletHub named Tampa the 10th Best Foodie City in America for 2021, it announced in October. The city ranked 12th in diversity, accessibility and quality and 73rd in affordability and has the fifth most gourmet specialty-food stores per capita. Two Florida cities ranked higher overall — Orlando at No. 2 and Miami third.
STANDALONE SWEETS SHOP OPENS IN PARK
Sweet Mama’s Ice Cream opened its first fixed location in October downtown at The Square, a public space activation project at Lykes Gaslight Park. Selections include soft-serve ice cream, cookies, brownies and waffle bowls and shakes. Owners Akwi Njoh and Jahkeal Samuel started Sweet Mama’s as a food truck in Tampa Heights.
DOWNTOWN GETS NEW POKE AND ACAI SHOP
SweetFish, a Hawaiian and Japanese-inspired, fast-casual concept, opened in October at 811 Tampa St., next to Duckweed Urban Grocery. Established Haiku chef David Reyes’ light, health-conscious menu includes poke bowls, poke burritos, acai bowls, smoothies, detox shots and juices.
FLORIDAN PALACE HOTEL, RESTAURANT TO GET FACELIFT
Downtown’s Floridan Palace Hotel changed hands in October, and the new owners have big plans. 1754 Properties, an investment firm that also owns TradeWinds Resort on St. Pete Beach, is looking to renovate the hotel, expand its staff and significantly upgrade the restaurant. The historic hotel was Florida’s first skyscraper and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
TIMPANO REOPENS IN HYDE PARK
Timpano, a Tampa staple for nearly 20 years that closed for over a year, reopened in November in Hyde Park Village with a new menu and look. You’ll find comfort classics with a modern twist, fresh, seasonal ingredients, prevalent seafood and steak options and an elevated craft cocktail and wine program. Inspired by the Italian countryside, the renovation created a comfortably chic and rustically elegant atmosphere.
POPULAR SALAD CHAIN COMING
Popular salad chain Sweetgreen filed plans for its first Tampa location with indoor and outdoor seating in Hyde Park Village, next to Salon Norrell Aveda. Sweetgreen serves up greens and warm rice and quinoa bowls topped with chicken, seafood, tofu and veggies. The Los Angeles-based company has over 100 U.S. locations, including in South Florida. An opening date has not been announced.
FAST-CASUAL ITALIAN OPENS IN MIDTOWN TAMPA
Fast-casual Italian restaurant Oronzo opened in November in Midtown Tampa. Its first location opened in North Tampa in 2020. Dan Bavaro’s (of Bavaro’s) menu is inspired by family recipes and includes pastas, flatbreads, bowls and Italian burritos (stuffed with spaghetti and chicken or meatball parmesan), as well as beer and wine. For convenience, Oronzos offers walk-up kiosks, tableside charging stations and free Wi-Fi.