A comfort food icon of Jacksonville has recently opened a new location on Kennedy Boulevard. METRO DINER offers large platters of chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and breakfast all day. The chain has also been featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Pinellas County’s CALADESI ISLAND has made it onto Dr. Beach’s annual list of the country’s best beaches for the second year in a row, coming in at seventh. Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University, cited scenery, transportation and activities as factors behind the ranking.
Popular organic food restaurant TASTY ROOTS is saying goodbye to its Davis Islands location in preparation for the opening of a new space in the heart of South Tampa. The Bay to Bay location is not only twice the size but will also be sporting a new name and brand: Daily Dose Organics.
Brazilian steakhouse TERRA GAUCHA is now open in Palma Ceia. Featuring a traditional Southern Brazilian barbecue “churrascaria” experience, guests are treated to open-flame roasted skewers of meat served by gauchos. They can also control the pacing of the meats with green and red indicating coasters.
Two Tampa staples, ULELE and OXFORD EXCHANGE, were named to OpenTable’s national 100 best brunch restaurants list. The list was created using more than 12 million verified OpenTable diner reviews for over 45,000 restaurants in all 50 states.
Abigail St. Clair, owner of TEBELLA TEA CO., is up for two major awards at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas. St. Clair started her tea company in 2010 in a small Davis Islands storefront. Since then, the company has grown to include many locations around the Tampa area and more than 100 wholesale accounts.
The UPS STORE on Platt Street has introduced a new, faster Konica Minolta digital printer to its location, ensuring rapid print speeds and enhanced color matching for prints of all sizes.
A new women’s apparel boutique is coming to Hyde Park Village in the fall. CANVAS FASHION GALLERY is co-owned by Shelby Pletcher and Michelle Burtch and is based in St. Petersburg.
The Lowry Park Zoo has undergone a rebrand as well as a $6 million expansion. With the new name ZOOTAMPA AT LOWRY PARK and a revamped Roaring Springs section of the zoo, CEO Joe Couceiro is taking cues from the flashier theme parks. The new section will include gourmet food options and a family friendly water ride.
According to a new report by financial site WalletHub, Florida is ranked No. 1 in the nation for MILITARY RETIREES. The report took into account veterans per capita, number of VA hospitals, employment rate among the demographic and other factors indicating Florida is the best place in the country for retired military looking to enter the workforce.
TAMPA BAY RAYS 2020, the group behind the effort to relocate the Rays’ stadium to Ybor City, announced they had reached their goal of getting support from 100 local business owners and civic leaders for a new stadium, known as the Rays 100, at the end of May. Among the newest notable backers are Bloomin’ Brands and Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
The team behind Yeoman’s Cask & Lion opened a new one-stop-shop for busy downtowners on Morgan Street in late April. CITY MARKET EATS is a local fresh market that mainly serves hot dogs, ice cream, coffee and other grab-and-go items. But it also offers anything you might find at a convenience store: gum, candy, chips, toiletries and even some retail items.
The University of Tampa began construction on their RIVERSIDE CENTER in May. The major renovation is expected to be completed in the fall and will add nearly 20,000 square feet to the space. This will allow for significantly increased space for the Career Services department, classrooms and a new post office along the banks of the Hillsborough River.
A new local design company is starting to make it big in Tampa. RAISE THE BAR DESIGN is run by veteran Chris Davenport and offers custom made wood and metal furniture and bars. Davenport began by selling custom bars and wine racks online and hopes to eventually open a storefront, with the goal of hiring fellow veterans.
Tampa was named one of “21 SMART CITIES TO WATCH” by the state and local government technology news organization StateScoop. Tampa is one of two Florida cities noted, included for its $3 billion Water Street Tampa development and a $21 million grant to study connected vehicle technology.
Tampa’s CAPITANO FAMILY and BluePearl Veterinary Services’ DARRYL SHAW are partnering with Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group to develop a $52 million, 176-room boutique hotel in the heart of Ybor City. Located on 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, the project will incorporate the building that was formerly Las Novedades restaurant.
Tampa Heights pioneer ULELE has named a new head chef. Run by the Columbia Restaurant Group, the native Floridian kitchen will now be led by KEITH WILLIAMSON. Williamson has an international resume, including time at other Tampa eateries like Ocean Prime and Bulla Gastrobar.
According to a report released by Business.org, the Tampa metropolitan area is a top-ranked market for FEMALE-OWNED BUSINESSES. The report says that large companies value this characteristic in a region, as it shows the inclusivity and diversity of Tampa.
A new SCULPTURE was unveiled at Poe Plaza in Downtown Tampa, bringing to life the skull and crossed key logo of Visit Tampa Bay. The 8-by-8 foot structure was created and built by artist Dominique Martinez and ties in with the organization’s efforts to bring tourists to Tampa.
After ten years at Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay’s often-renamed GASPARILLA BOWL will be moving to Raymond James Stadium this year. The move is expected to draw more fans to the game and to expand the organization’s relationships with vendors around the Tampa Bay area.
MoveHub, an organization that provides information to young professionals considering moving to a new city, recently ranked 446 cities according to their “hipster” vibes. Tampa came in as the No. 17 MOST-HIPSTER CITY in the world. The company considered each city’s number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques and record stores to calculate the rankings.
California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is discussing building a HYPERLOOP between Tampa and Orlando. The new route would likely use the right of way along the median of I-4 that was saved for a proposed high-speed rail. This could be a cheaper and more time efficient option for busy commuters.
LYFT has been testing out their new subscription programs with Tampa Bay users. Certain Lyft users were given the option to purchase a $200-for-30- rides pass, good for rides valued up to $15. The test came in advance of a potential nationwide rollout of the program.
The TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART is a temporary home to a new exhibit called “Vapor and Vibration.” On view until the end of September, art from creators Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto work in concert with one another for the first time ever, exploring light and space and experimenting with innovative form and media.
The TAMPA DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP was a recipient of the Travel Choices Innovative Program Award for implementing the Downtowner micro-transit service. The award is given by the Florida Department of Transportation each year and was given to the free ride service for its innovation and problem-solving techniques.
A rare collection of American flags is currently on display at the TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER until July 29. The exhibit includes more than 20 original flags dating back to the 1790s, the centerpiece being a 27-star flag that marked Florida’s admission into the Union. Works from artists Andy Warhol and Jasper John demonstrate the place of the American flag in pop culture.
The city of Tampa recently honored the participants of the 1960s lunch counter sit-ins that were instrumental in the desegregation of the city. The WOOLWORTH’S store on Franklin Street, the site where 40 African-Americans fought for their right to be served, is long closed, but the building remains and will now have a plaque with each participant’s name memorialized upon it.