Check In With TAMPA Downtown
Airports Council International World named TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT as the only North American airport inducted into the 2018 ACI Director General’s Roll of Excellence. The honor recognizes airports that consistently provide excellent customer service according to passenger opinion.
The TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART has partnered with SaltBlock Hospitality as its new catering provider, after a nine-year relationship with Sono Café, operated by Mise en Place. The new in-house restaurant concept called the Riverwalk Café now offers fresh sandwiches, salads, coffee, gelato and a Friday oyster and cocktail happy hour.
The first retail location opening at The Pearl apartments in Tampa Heights will be STRANDHILL PUBLIC, an Irish pub and restaurant. While an opening date has not yet been announced, the restaurant promises to “celebrate and sustain the spirit of the traditional Irish pub” while embracing modern culture.
Art2Action and Ybor City’s THE BUNKER have teamed up to give veterans and artists a safe place to share stories and interact. The Veteran Community Open Mic night at The Bunker is a night when the café doesn’t charge for entry and extends its Sunday hours to accommodate the guests. It also provides one complimentary tea or coffee for each veteran during the event.
Tampa is leading the state in high-wage STEM JOB OPENINGS. More than 30,000 private sector jobs were created in the Tampa Bay area over the last year, according to figures from Governor Rick Scott’s office. Tampa Bay also leads the state in demand for high-wage jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the field where there were 14,556 job openings in June.
Tampa was ranked the second-best city for FIRST TIME HOMEOWNERS, according to a new survey from WalletHub. The website ranked 300 cities compared based on market attractiveness, affordability and quality of life. Tampa had high scores in quality of life, weather, job market and crime rate. The only city that outranked Tampa was Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
A new study paid for by UBER, the popular rideshare app, says it has contributed about $1.1 billion annually to Florida’s economy. The study was conducted by the Economic Development Research Group using data from mid-2016 to mid-2017 and is the first of its kind. The study examined the whole country, as well as breakout areas in Florida including Jacksonville, where Uber first launched in 2014.
One of the last tenants of the original Channelside Bay Plaza, HOOTERS will be closing its Channel District location when the restaurant’s lease ends in January. The company announced it is searching for a new Downtown Tampa location. Soon to be rebranded as Sparkman Wharf, the plaza now has just a few open businesses, including Precinct Pizza and Splitsville (currently under renovation and scheduled to reopen in October).
The city of Tampa recently chose CATERING BY THE FAMILY as the preferred caterer for the River Center at the new Julian B. Lane Riverfront park. The 2,880-square-foot venue boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open to a covered terrace and gives a scenic view of Tampa near the 25-acre park located in downtown. The catering company makes everything from scratch and caters to the customers requests for what type of food is served.
Popular bakery Piquant closed its doors in West Tampa after moving from a long-held spot in Hyde Park Village. The owners quickly launched a new concept at the Hall on Franklin. XILO, a Mexican street food concept they piloted at the location on Cinco de Mayo, now has a permanent presence at the Tampa Heights restaurant collective.
Local paddleboarding company URBAN KAI will open their first Tampa location at Armature Works later this year. Urban Kai offers a wide range of paddleboarding lessons and classes out of their location off the Gandy Bridge in St. Petersburg, and the new shop will carry equipment, safety items, apparel and more, in addition to offering paddleboard and kayak rentals and classes.
In late July, the Tampa City Council approved funding for the DOWNTOWNER shuttle for a third year. The service first launched in October 2016 and has seen ridership of over 325,000 people. Currently serving downtown, the Channel District, Harbour Island and the University of Tampa area, the Downtowner is likely to expand into Tampa Heights as early as October, pending city approval.
The St. Petersburg-based kombucha brand MOTHER KOMBUCHA is now sold at Publix and Whole Foods stores around the Tampa Bay area. Kombucha has exploded into the mainstream in recent years thanks to its health appeal; the naturally fizzy fermented drink is a good source of probiotics, antioxidants, amino acids and vitamin B12.