Tampa’s urban core is springing into 2020 with new restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and plenty of events to keep your social calendar full. Read on for all the recent and upcoming additions to Downtown Tampa and beyond.
Endeavr & Blind Tiger at Sparkman Wharf (above)
Blind Tiger Coffee owner Roberto Torres has had a busy 2020 so far. First, he opened a new café called Endeavr inside Embarc Collective, a new startup and innovation hub supported by Jeff Vinik. The spot serves up coffee, tea, kombucha and light bites every day until 4 p.m. Torres also recently bought Cass Street Deli in North Hyde Park and opened his sixth Blind Tiger location at Sparkman Wharf, where his team is pouring espresso, nitro cold brew, beer and wine, tea and kombucha, and serving up breakfast sandwiches and gluten-free pastries.
802 E. Whiting St.
The Blind Tiger at Sparkman Wharf
615 Channelside Drive
Woven Water Brewing Company
This new craft beer brewery is scheduled to open on Columbus Drive in Tampa Heights sometime in the first quarter of this year. Woven Water is promising options like IPAs, blondes, lagers and stouts, in a location that connects one of Tampa’s most historic neighborhoods to its booming craft brewing scene. Owner and head brewer Jay Jones says the name comes from the idea that “craft beer is woven water.”
456 W. Columbus Drive
Girl & a Grill
Chef-owner April Page is serving up breakfast favorites six days a week at this small spot in South Seminole Heights. The offerings are simple — eggs, bacon and sausage, hash browns, and pancakes — but with a homemade flair. Hours are currently 6 to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
4330 N. Nebraska Ave.
A new smoothie bar and acai bowl spot is coming to the University of Tampa area. In the former Blue Moon Trading Co. location, Dwntwn Social will be serving up organic acai bowls, smoothies, coffee, tea and light bites, with gluten-free and plant-based options. Opening is expected early this year.
1000 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Dessert-lovers, rejoice! Former Bern’s Steak House pastry chef Kim Yelvington has reopened her beloved bakery and confectionery Chocolate Pi in a new location. Her team has taken over a spot on Florida Avenue last occupied by YesterDaze Vintage Clothing. The daily menu is a rotating selection of “nostalgically cravable sweets,” including ice creams, cakes, pies and other confections, plus three single-origin espressos, a manual brew, and flavored coffees to sip on each day.
5207 N. Florida Ave.
Fly Bar and Restaurant
The beloved Downtown Tampa institution is finally reopening in a new space, about a year and a half after closing the doors to its original North Franklin Street location (now home to Mole y Abuela). Fly Bar 2.0 is on the corner of Grand Central Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard, along the same block as Mise en Place, Oxford Exchange and the University of Tampa’s Falk Theatre. While the new Fly will not have the original’s iconic rooftop bar, it promises a dog-friendly patio, “jazz-inspired cocktails and familiar American cuisine — only better.” Fly Bar is expected to open in the early part of this year.
442 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Sisters Atheer and Athar Naif opened this healthy-bowl focused spot on Florida Avenue at the beginning of the year. Choose from one of the signature breakfast or lunch bowls (like the Mediterranean Meze with quinoa, cucumber and tomato salad, kalamata olives, house-made hummus, Mediterranean-seasoned chicken and feta), or build your own bowl or salad. The eatery also features soups and pastries, while the Insta-worthy space includes a market with snacks, fresh produce, and drinks.
6109 N. Florida Ave.
Rome + Fig
Expected to open in February, Rome + Fig is a “globally inspired” bistro in North Hyde Park. Executive chef Rob Scott has worked under Tampa-area chefs like Jason Kline of The Birchwood and Greg Baker of The Refinery and is now using locally sourced ingredients to create dishes like a seafood risotto, an ahi tuna bowl, bison meatballs and octopus fritters. Rome + Fig’s bar list is full of classic cocktails with a twist, like a tequila Old Fashioned, Tom Collins with Earl Grey tea, and a Moscow Mule with fig-infused vodka.
301 N. Rome Ave.
The permanent food truck adjacent to Harley-Davidson of Tampa in Carrollwood has opened a second location on Ybor City’s Seventh Avenue. Serving up gloriously messy creations like the Waffle Burger (patty topped with goat cheese, blueberry compote and honey between two waffles), Three Pigs Burger (topped with bacon, prosciutto and mojo pork), and the Goober Burger (complete with peanut butter and a sunny-side-up egg), Burger Culture is open Thursday through Sunday. Hours vary, though, so be sure to call or check the restaurant’s social media.
1821 E. 7th Ave.
The e-scooter company Lime has a new weekly subscription service that waives the standard $1 fee to unlock its scooters. For $5 a week, users pay just the per-minute fee they accumulate using Lime scooters. Depending how frequently you use scooters, Lime says, the subscription could pay for itself in just a few days. LimePass is available through the Lime app.
App available on App Store and Google Play store
Willa’s & Willa’s Provisions
This new dual-concept space will be bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner to the North Hyde Park area seven days a week. Co-owned by Tampa natives Nate Siegel and Merrin Jenkins, the neighborhood restaurant and bar Willa’s will feature lunch and dinner options like rotisserie chicken, fresh Gulf seafood and steak frites with salads and veggies. At the front of the space will be Willa’s Provisions, a smaller dine-in or take-out spot with coffee, bagels, sandwiches, salads and soups. In the evenings, Willa’s Provisions will transition to a menu of aperitifs and digestifs. Both Willa’s and Willa’s Provisions are set to open in “a carefully re-worked, century-old industrial warehouse” in the early part of this year.
While the main event is going down at Raymond James Stadium, Amalie Arena will play host to a number of events surrounding the WWE’s WrestleMania on April 6. All eyes will also be on Tampa in mid-March, when the University of South Florida hosts the first two rounds of the NCAA March Madness Tournament at the arena. For a distinct change of pace, Cher will also be stopping by on her Here We Go Again Tour, her first show in Tampa since 2004.
Lightning v. Boston Bruins – March 3
Lightning v. Montreal Canadiens – March 5
Jeff Dunham – March 7
André Rieu – March 11
Lightning v. Philadelphia Flyers – March 12
Lightning v. Detroit Red Wings – March 14
Lightning v. New Jersey Devils – March 15
The Road to the Final Four – March 19-21
Lightning v. Toronto Maple Leafs – March 25
Cher – March 26
Lightning v. Columbus Blue Jackets – March 27
Lightning v. New York Rangers – March 28
Lightning v. Ottawa Senators – March 31
WWE Hall of Fame – April 2
WWE Smackdown – April 3
WWE NXT – April 4
WWE RAW – April 6
98Rockfest 2020 – April 17
This spring, the Straz Center will host some of the most highly regarded Broadway productions of the last three decades. First up is the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt at the intimate Shimberg Playhouse (opening March 11), followed by the massively popular Jersey Boys and Miss Saigon at Morsani Hall. Opening in April, the Straz’s in-house theatre troupe, mad Theatre of Tampa, will present Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical Assassins. Finally, don’t miss the Straz Center’s annual TASTE @ The Straz, which raises money for arts education programs.
Tampa Bay Symphony presents Land and Sea – March 1
Paul Taylor Dance Company – March 4
United States Navy Band – March 5
Florida Orchestra: Rachmanioff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 – March 6
George Lopez: Live in Concert – March 6
Doubt: A Parable – March 11–April 5
Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance – March 13–March 15
Jersey Boys – March 13–March 15
Miss Saigon – March 24–29
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee: The Anatomy of Deceit – March 24
Florida Orchestra: Broadway – Sondheim & Lloyd Webber – March 27
Arts Legacy REMIX: Festival of Asia – March 27
Florida Orchestra: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – April 3
TASTE @ The Straz – April 4
Ranky Tanky – April 5
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astronomy Bizarre – April 7
Mandy Moore – April 9
Kreeps with Kids Comedy Tour – April 11
Assassins – April 16–May 3
Florida Orchestra: Beethoven & Paganini – April 17
An Evening with Damien Escobar – April 24
Guiseppe Verdi’s Aida – April 24–26
I Think She’s the One – April 25
Charlotte’s Web – April 26
Mary Gauthier – April 27
Bert Kreischer – April 30
Timed to coincide with the WWE’s WrestleMania in Tampa, the History Center’s “Sunshine State Showdown: Pro Wrestling in Tampa Bay” takes a look back at some of the wrestlers that have called the region home, like Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes and (of course) Hulk Hogan. Then, the Touchton Map Library’s celebration of Pensacola, “Florida’s Second City,” marks its final few weeks on display.
Pensacola: Florida’s Second City – through April 12
Sunshine State Showdown: Pro Wrestling in Tampa Bay – opens March 7
Sangria & Stories: Pensacola — Florida’s Second City – March 10
Florida Conversations: Will to Win: Gen. James A. Van Fleet – March 19
Teacher Appreciation Day – March 20
Brew-seum – March 26
Women’s History Month Celebration – March 29
Now open, A Global Friendship presents 62 never-before-seen photos and letters showcasing the decades-long friendship between the iconic poet Langston Hughes and photographer, journalist and diplomat Griffith J. Davis. Then in March, artist David Monroe has created fine art pieces with embedded chips that link to audio accompaniments on your smartphones. From meditations to talks from Monroe, the audio helps create an immersive experience.
Roger Ballen: In Retrospect – through April 26
Griff Davis and Langston Hughes, Letters and Photographs 1947–1967: A Global Friendship – through April 19
Portals of Intent — FROM Earth – opens March 2
With the intention of expressing “the beauty, the complexity and the tragedy,” of America’s relationship to growing and picking cotton, Thomas Sayre’s White Gold is an immersive exhibit that examines that history. Then, opening February 20, Modern Women: Modern Vision features 100 photos by female artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries organized into six themes looking at the photographers’ focuses and methods. TMA will also host its annual “Pride and Passion” event, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community’s impact on art and raises money for programs that support museum initiatives to reduce barriers to admission and create safe places for people to experience the arts.
The Making of a Museum: 100 Years, 100 Works – through March 15
White Gold: Thomas Sayre – through May 17
Modern Women: Modern Vision, Works from the Bank of America Collection – through May 24
Pride & Passion: Neon Jungle – April 18