Spring Restaurant Preview 2016: Looking ahead

Keep these new Tampa Bay spots on your springtime radar.

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click to enlarge TACOS 'N' TEQUILA: Miguelitos is coming along in South Tampa. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
TACOS 'N' TEQUILA: Miguelitos is coming along in South Tampa.


Spring. A time for recipes with a lemony kick, cooler weather, Koozie-free beer drinking and openings from several food and drink joints around the Bay area.

This year, we’ve strayed from our traditional restaurants-only formula in the Spring Arts Issue, to be inclusive of drink establishments. The following concepts, which range from expansions to new projects, are set to open in early 2016; put ’em on your radar.

Bandit Coffee Co. In downtown St. Pete, owners Joshua and Sarah Weaver are working with barista Chris Costanza to premiere this Grand Central District coffeehouse, where a multiroaster system will help feature coffee from around the globe. There will also be a brief menu, a slow bar featuring pour-over and cold-brew coffees, and rentable studio/cowork/event space. 2662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, banditcoffee.co.

Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria. This Tampa-based crowd-pleaser will invade downtown St. Pete’s EDGE District with house-made pasta, Neapolitan pies from a wood-fired brick oven, local produce, and Italian cheeses and meats. An additional outpost at the Tampa International Airport’s Southwest terminal is scheduled to debut in June. 945 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 813-868-4440, bavarospizza.com.

Brew Bus Brewing. The craft brewery tour company from owner Anthony Derby will debut its own brewery and tasting room in Florida Avenue Brewing Co.’s former headquarters, while keeping the Florida Ave. brand in production. 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-990-7310, brewbususa.com.

Chakana SoHo. The South Tampa building most recently home to Wicked ‘Wiches & Brew, and before that Urban Cantina, will soon accommodate a Peruvian fusion restaurant. serving seafood dishes like ceviche mixto, Chakana SoHo’s tagline is “tradition + innovation.” 223 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-263-7844, chakanasoho.com.

Drama Burger. Proclaiming “All is better with a bit of drama” and “Waiting is always dramatic. That’s why we like it,” this gourmet burger eatery coming to South Tampa will dish items for carnivores and vegetarians alike. 2420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 727-212-6102, drama-burger.com.

Extreme Pizza. Pizza fiends will have a new spot to check out when Extreme Pizza, driven by traditional and California-style pies, opens its first Florida location this month. Sean Parkinson and Richard Blanc have partnered to bring the San Francisco-based brand to the region, and the next Extreme Pizza will debut in Clearwater Beach in early February. 33135 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor, 727-789-8700, extremepizza.com.

Florida Cane Distillery. Relocating to Ybor City from Brandon, the state-inspired craft distillery will launch inside its new pad — the historic El Encanto Building last occupied by Row Boat — in March. Florida Cane Distillery’s big move will expand its production, and allow for more experimentation. Bottle sales, tastings, tours and distilling classes will also be offered. 1811 N. 15th St., Tampa, 813-347-6565, floridacane.com.

The Honu A “lei’d back” indoor-outdoor cafe from the creator of Charlie Tulum’s Dos Tacos, Kimberly Platt. Aiming to open its doors this month, The Honu's ever-changing menu will offer tacos, Hawaii-influenced grub and fresh veggie-based dishes. 516 Grant St., Dunedin, 727-584-8226.

Rock Brothers Brewing. Another concept taking root within a historic Ybor City building is this craft brewery and music venue. The new brick-and-mortar will feature a tasting room with Rock Brothers' nation-spanning band-themed portfolio and seasonal spins on its flagship beers, plus a “listening room” for concerts. 1901 N. 15th St., Tampa, 770-401-6410, rockbrothersbrewing.com.

Urban Creamery. Sourcing milk directly from farmers, the fourth downtown St. Pete outpost under Andy Salyards’ Urban kingdom will showcase offerings like homemade ice cream, shakes, dessert Belgian waffles and sundaes. Neighbors with State Theatre, the sweets shop purchased its ice cream machine from Brooksville’s Emery Thompson, and its tentative opening month is March. 689 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Other places to continue to watch for: Tampa’s Miguelitos Taqueria Y Tequilas, the casual incarnation of the nearby Miguel’s Mexican Seafood & Grill, Thai Prime and Irish 31; On Swann and Goody Goody in Hyde Park Village; Jimmy Hula’s and Portillo's in Brandon; Gulfport's Backfin Blue Cafe; and St. Pete’s Central Melt, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Pinellas Ale Works and Daily Eats/Fresh Kitchen.

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