New year, new additions and new experiences. Here are the new restaurants, shops and other developments beginning or coming online in Tampa’s urban core throughout the opening months of 2019, plus a venue-by-venue look around downtown in January and February.
Soul Food Street Kitchen
The newest occupant of the rotating stall inside Armature Works’ Heights Public Market is bringing soul food into the mix at the foodie destination. Chef-owner Joe Dodd has already made fans of his boiled peanuts, collard greens and hush puppies at his food truck parked next to Circa 1949 in Lowry Park; at the new location, he’ll also be dishing up chicken and dumplings, a catfish po’boy, “Not Yo’ Mamma’s Meatloaf” sandwich, and a Southern brunch dishes on the weekend (chicken and waffles, smoked sausage and gravy on biscuits).
Park & Rec
This St. Pete transplant is bringing its vintage arcade games, air hockey and ping pong tables, cornhole, and giant Jenga to the Channel District. Park & Rec will move in to the two-story space on Meridian Avenue previously occupied by the nightclub Aja in early 2019. The indoor-outdoor venue will feature four bars serving up draft cocktails and kid-inspired dishes (read: pizza rolls, grilled cheese, chicken tenders and pocket pies).
290 S. Meridian Ave.
Cass Street Deli
Tampa’s urban core is getting its very own New York-style Jewish deli in January. Cass Street Deli owners Sean O’Brien, Garrett Garcia and Edward Shumard are enlisting some of the city’s top culinary talent for the new spot. Expect beef brisket hot dogs from Tambuzzo Sausage Company on Jamison B. buns, bagels from St. Pete-based Bella’s Bakes Cakes and Bagels, coffee from Blind Tiger Coffee, and a kitchen helmed by Ella’s chef Suzanne Crouch churning out pastrami, knishes, matzo ball soup and egg creams.
1331 W. Cass St.
Heights Seafood Co.
As a city with bodies of water on all sides, there’s no such thing as too much local seafood in Tampa. This new Seminole Heights spot will have both a retail and prepared foods side, so you can pick up your fresh fish caught around Florida or enjoy a bite inside. The Heights Seafood Co. Facebook page has teased salmon jerky, smoked fish spreads, poke and lobster rolls ahead of its anticipated mid-December opening.
6421 N. Florida Ave.
It’s Halloween all year long at this Ybor bar. While the skull-and-spirit-themed SpookEasy Lounge does serve alcohol, the bar specializes in kava and kratom teas, brewed with plant-based supplements intended to help relax the body and mind. The spot sits upstairs from the Stone Soup Co. and also offers a selection of the restaurant’s menu items to nibble on.
1919 E. 7th Ave.
Sorellina and Fork & Hen
The Hall on Franklin has made its first major vendor change, saying goodbye to Heights Fish Camp and Melt Shoppe (restaurateur Dave Burton decided to focus on his other concepts, including Flock and Stock at Sparkman Wharf) while welcoming Sorrelina and Fork & Hen in their place. Sorellina — which literally translates to “little sister” — is a smaller version of Bavaro’s, the Neapolitan pizza and pasta spot a few blocks south on Franklin Street. Fork & Hen features farm-to-table-style Southern cuisine, like Nashville hot chicken, popcorn shrimp and grits with egg yolk from Sarasota’s Blumenberry Farms, a Key West pink shrimp cocktail, and a whole fried chicken board (meant for sharing… or not).
The Hall on Franklin
1701 N. Franklin St.
Gulf Coast Sourdough Sandwich House
The step from bread to sandwich is a logical one, so the minds behind one of Tampa’s biggest bread bakers is converting the front of its baking facility to a retail cafe. Gulf Coast Sourdough recently surpassed their Kickstarter fundraising goal to support the opening of the shop, which will serve a variety of yet-to-be-announced sandwiches and sides made with the bakery’s famous sourdoughs, red pepper bread, tumeric and black pepper bread, and asiago loaves. An official opening date has not been set but is expected in January.
5214 N. Nebraska Ave.
Ybor City’s newest market boasts something for everybody. The biweekly event features a wide variety of vintage and antique home goods, furniture, decor, kitchenware and other knick-knacks found or otherwise salvaged by Tampa Bay-area vendors. Expect to spend a little time here looking through the massive warehouse for your just-right, diamond in the rough treasure. Vintage Roost is open Friday through Sunday the second and fourth weekends of the month. Check the market’s Facebook page for exact dates and times.
Riverwalk strollers have a new place to grab craft cocktails on the first floor of Rivergate Tower. From the team at Malio’s Prime next door, Remedy offers Tampa-inspired drinks (like the Riverwalk Mule, which adds pineapple and passionfruit to the classic, and the whiskey-based Bayshore Boulevard) and bites. The menu features an entire section dedicated to caviar, though it also focuses heavily on flatbreads and a raw bar. And be sure to watch the weather; Remedy is entirely outdoors.
400 N. Ashley Drive
Dark Door Spirits
Tampa’s craft liquor scene is seriously on the rise, as evidenced by the latest newcomer. Dark Door Spirits uses local beers (for now, IPAs) to create their lavender-infused Spirit of IPA and hoppy Spirit of Prohibition whiskys through Prohibition-inspired distilling methods. The Dark Door team acknowledges their flavors are different — “but the type of different you want to drink over and over again,” they say. The whiskys are currently available to purchase at Bern’s Fine Wine & Spirits and Brew Bus Brewing, which is also using the spirits in their own craft cocktails.
Locally owned brick-and-mortar stores are getting creative in the era of Amazon Prime, and Tampa-based fashion designer Kyle Kilgore is no exception. This fall he opened his first storefront on the bottom floor of Skypoint, which functions as both an active design studio and a repair, alteration and custom design shop. Kilgore also partnered with Bake ‘n’ Babes owner and pastry chef Julie Curry to offer some of her team’s signature sweet treats, giving customers a shopping experience they can only get away from their internet browser.
777 N. Ashley Drive
Hyatt Place & Hyatt House
Construction is expected to get underway any day now on the dual-branded Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel next to City Hall. Currently a parking lot (and home to the popular Rico’s Acai cart), the corner of Kennedy and Florida will hold the 17-story, 230-room Hyatt Place and smaller 115- key Hyatt House. The project is slated to include meeting space and 3,200 square feet of ground floor retail space, though tenants have not yet been announced. Developer HRI Properties says opening is scheduled for late 2020.
East Kennedy Boulevard and North Florida Avenue
Embassy Suites & Marriott Waterside Renovations
A sort of side project to the larger Water Street Tampa development, the Strategic Property Partners-owned Marriott Waterside is in the midst of a $40 million renovation from tip to toe. Guest rooms have been updated with new flooring, showers and smart TVs, while the pool, meeting and lobby areas are also being spruced up. For downtown residents, though, the highlights of the renovation will be a new gastropub (replacing Champions Sports Bar) with craft beer and two Topgolf practice bays. The patios at the back of the hotel will also be redesigned to more naturally flow to the Riverwalk and bring people both into and out of the Marriott along the waterfront. Updates are expected to be finished by early this year.
Across the street, the Embassy Suites are getting some tweaks of their own. Many of the public lobby and lounge areas will have an upgraded, modern look with new furnishings and lighting, while every guest suite is being redesigned with granite countertops and local artwork. First-floor restaurant Trolley’s will reopen as TASTE — what the hotel is calling “a beverage-centric dining concept with a focus on ingredient driven, elevated comfort food.” Work is slated to wrap up before the new year.
700 S. Florida Ave.
Embassy Suites by Hilton
513 S. Florida Ave.
Casitas En La Doce
Drawing inspiration from the casitas inhabited by Ybor City’s cigar workers, Tampa-based Sight Real Estate is restoring four historic bungalows along 12th Avenue for purchase. Both the 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom and the 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes have already been sold, but a 2/1 and 2/2 are still for sale. A few blocks down, the firm is renovating three existing single-family homes and building three new townhomes that resemble traditional Ybor multifamily houses — known as Casitas en Cuatro. Sight has not yet said when the homes will be move-in ready.
2308-2320 E. 12th St.
Water Street Tampa Updates
Developers Strategic Property Partners marked their first official opening of the Water Street Tampa project in late November (see the full story 25,000-square-foot grocery store will front Channelside Drive, and a new entrance to the Riverwalk is being created along 815 Water Street’s southern edge.
Water Street/Channel District area
The Heights Project update
While Armature Works has already begun the revitalization of Tampa Heights, it’s just a piece of the larger Heights District going up just north of downtown. Developers recently received approval for the next phase of construction, which will include two new office buildings with retail space, a 150-room hotel, a 30,000 square-foot grocery store and 7,400 square feet of additional retail space, as well as a parking garage. These buildings will sit on the piece of land between Highland Avenue and Tampa Street, to the east of Armature Works.
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
A new collection will be on display in January in the museum. “Modus Operandi: Contemporary Photography from the Collection of BNY Mellon,” explores the innovative practices of today’s photographers.
Modus Operandi: Contemporary Photography from the collection of BNY Mellon January 15 through April 15, 2019
Tampa Museum of Art
As the Season of Love series ends in early 2019, a new exhibit will be on display at the Tampa Museum of Art. “Oswaldo Vigas: Transformations” will open January 31. Vigas, who found inspiration in the natural landscape of his native Venezuela and the European avant-garde, was a prolific artist who contributed to 20th-century modernism. The exhibit displays Vigas’ artistic evolution between 1940 and 1980 and explores figurative abstraction, cubism and constructivism.
Oswaldo Vigas: Transformations
January 31 through May 27, 2019
Patricia Cronin: Aphrodite and the Lure of Antiquity
Closes on January 6, 2019
Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING
Closes on February 14, 2019
Robert Indiana: Sculpture Retrospective
Closes March 17, 2019
After its New Year’s Eve Wrap Party, the Tampa Theatre will be kicking off the new year with a series of live events, including a performance by Netflix star and comedian Bert Kreischer and the James Bond-themed Wine Fest 2019. On February 24, the theatre will once again host their glamorous Academy Awards night, celebrating the year’s best films and filmmakers.
Raffi (Jan. 19)
Bert Kreischer: Body Shots Tour (Feb. 14)
Wine Fest 2019: Wine Royale (Feb. 22-23)
Hollywood Awards Night 2019 (Feb. 24)
Welcome to Night Vale (Feb. 28)
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Multiple Broadway shows and various performers will be taking over the stages in the Straz Center. The lineup of shows includes the crowd favorite “Les Miserables,” the long-awaited Tampa debut of “Hamilton” and other performances by the Florida Orchestra and Havana Cuba All-Stars.
The Florida Orchestra – Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (Jan. 4)
Les Miserables (Jan. 15-20)
Hundred Days (Jan. 15- Mar. 23)
A Bronx Tale (Jan. 29 – Feb. 3)
The Florida Orchestra – Dreams of Spain (Feb. 1)
Tyler Perry’s Madea Farewell Tour (Feb. 6-7)
Hamilton: An American Musical (Feb. 12- Mar. 10)
Farruquito (Feb. 13)
Heathers The Musical (Feb. 14-Mar. 3)
The Florida Orchestra – The Planets (Feb. 15)
C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert (Feb. 16-17)
Mayumana: Currents (Feb. 21)
The Florida Orchestra – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Feb. 22)
Tampa Bay Symphony presents Brush Up Your Shakespeare (Feb. 24)
Havana Cuba All Stars (Feb. 27)
As they continue their push toward the NHL playoffs, the Lightning won’t be the only stormy weather hitting Amalie Arena in 2019. In February, performances by beloved superstars Fleetwood Mac, TobyMac and Michael Bublé will bring a flood of music lovers to the venue.
Lightning v. Columbus Blue Jackets (Jan. 8)
Lightning v. Carolina Hurricanes (Jan. 10)
Winter Jam (Jan. 12)
Lightning v. Toronto Maple Leafs (Jan. 17)
Lightning v. San Jose Sharks (Jan. 19)
Lightning v. Vegas Golden Knights (Feb. 5)
Lightning v. St. Louis Blues (Feb. 7)
Lightning v. Pittsburgh Penguins (Feb. 9)
Lightning v. Calgary Flames (Feb. 12)
Michael Bublé (Feb. 13)
Lightning v. Dallas Stars (Feb. 14)
Lightning v. Montreal Canadiens (Feb. 16)
Fleetwood Mac (Feb. 18)
Lightning v. Buffalo
Sabres (Feb. 21)
TobyMac (Feb. 24)
Lightning v. Los Angeles Kings (Feb. 25)