Baba debuts new seafood concept Barbouni, Pinellas Pepper Fest returns, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

And there's a slew of St. Patrick Day parties happening this weekend.

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click to enlarge Baba debuts new seafood concept Barbouni, Pinellas Pepper Fest returns, and more Tampa Bay foodie news
@barbouniatbaba / Instagram

Trophy Fish Tampa A little bit of the beach is coming to Seminole Heights. Trophy Fish—with a menu built around fresh seafood and the concept’s beach escape inspired ambiance—opens doors to the public on Friday, March 17, with a grand opening planned for March 22. The 2,000 square-foot space, and sister to a St. Pete location with the same name, is located at 5901 N Florida Ave. in the space outside cocktail lounge Mandarin Heights. "Our goal was to create a one-of-a kind relaxed atmosphere where our patrons can sit back, relax, escape the busy city-life, and enjoy great food with their family and friends." owner Ryan Griffin said. Trophy Fish menu favorites include its grouper sandwich, house made fish spread, smoked shrimp, and a seafood boil for two. If you have a sweet tooth, the spot also has house-made cheesecakes and ice cream. In addition to the food menu, the drink menu includes award-winning cocktails like the boat beverages and the pistachio Mai-Tai. 5901 N Florida Ave., Tampa.

Barbouni Earlier this month, Barbouni—which is located next to Baba in its former bakery and cafe space at 2701 Central Ave.—opened its doors with limited weekend hours. Barbouni concept calls itself a modern ouzeri. Just a few of Barbouni’s dozens of canned options include smoked salmon, preserved barnacles, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, smoked mussels and razor clams. In addition to its variety of canned seafood, Barbouni also offers craft cocktails and other alcoholic options. It boasts an intimate raw bar where guests can watch their fresh oysters being shucked in real time, too. For now, Barbouni will operate with limited weekend hours until it's fully up and running. After its soft opening phase, its hours will mirror Baba’s. 2701 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. @barbouniatbaba on Instagram.

Coming soon

Olivia St. Pete Riding off the success of his new Tampa restaurant Ponte Modern American, a renowned local chef is ready to tackle his next culinary endeavor. James Beard semifinalist Chef Chris Ponte will soon open a downtown St. Pete location of popular Italian restaurant Olivia (stylized "OLIVIA"), which currently resides in South Tampa. St. Pete Rising says that the 5,600 square-foot Olivia will open on the ground floor of the 36-story Ascent building at 225 1st Ave. N. St. Pete's Olivia  is slated to debut by the end of 2023, although no opening date is set in stone. While St. Pete’s newest Italian restaurant undergoes its buildout, head to the flagship location in South Tampa to get a taste of its charcuterie boards, pizzas, squid ink pasta and porcini mushroom-rubbed filet mignons. The modern eatery also boasts a large wine and cocktail list to accompany its house-made pastas and decadent entrees, in addition to popular desserts like tiramisu and apple butter cake. 225 1st Ave. N, St. Petersburg.


Taste of South Tampa Back for another year—its 17th year, actually—the Taste of South Tampa hosts yet another rendition of its hyper-local foodie festival. The Tampa Garden Club will host this annual celebration of local eats on Sunday, March 19 from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. Tickets to this weekend's rain-or-shine event run from $50-$100 and can be purchased on the festival's Eventbrite page. VIP ticket holders can access the festival's unlimited eats a bit early, in addition to having their own air conditioned tent and a few more food and drink options. While VIP folks get a few more perks, all guests at next month's event will be able to sample bites from dozens of South Tampa restaurants, vendors, and small businesses. In addition to unlimited samples, there will also be access to a cozy beer garden, live entertainment, giveaways, and opportunities to win different prizes. Guests can expect bites from Tampa hotspots like Bolay, Luv Child, Shake Shack, Sweet Soul, 7th + Grove and Outback Steakhouse, and sips from popular brands like Stella Artois, Blue Ice vodka, Planet Smoothie and Kona Brewing. 2629 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa.
Over 30 St. Patrick's Day parties, bar crawls and family-friendly events happening in Tampa Bay St. Patrick’s Day is here, and Tampa Bay bars and restaurants are getting ready to dish out green beer and traditional Irish eats. From low-key bar crawls and block parties to The City of Tampa’s annual River O’Green celebration, there are dozens of St. Patrick-themed events happening in every corner of Tampa Bay. We've curated a list of over 30 local parties, markets, and crawls happening for St. Patrick’s Day 2023—all events are free to attend unless a ticket price is indicated. Some of Creative Loafing’s recommended events include parties at Lucky Dill Deli in Safety Harbor, Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Dunedin and the first annual Paddy Fest St. Pete, happening at downtown’s William Park this weekend. Pinellas Pepper Fest Another year, another rendition of this spicy festival. This year’s Pinellas Pepper Fest takes place on Saturday-Sunday, April 1-2 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. It’s free to attend and both child and pet-friendly. Once again, Pinellas Park’s England Brothers Park will host this massive foodie fest. In addition to a variety of local vendors slinging hot sauces, jams, seasonings and rubs, food trucks and other small businesses will also dish out their best (and spiciest) eats. Local bands 727band, Tommy & Mimi, Infinity Tilt and The Band Grounded will take over the England Brothers Park bandshell while the festival’s guests enjoy a wide spread of eats, family-friendly activities, eating contests and local vendors. And like in previous years, two of the festival's main events include a jalapeño eating contest on Saturday and an extreme lollipop lick-a-thon on Sunday, where only the highest spice tolerances will prevail. Champions will receive bragging rights and a giant pepper-adorned trophy. 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park.
Event Details

Pinellas Pepper Fest

Sat., April 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., April 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

England Brothers Park 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park Pinellas Park


WUSF's 'Longest Table' fundraiser shuts down St. Pete's Bayshore Drive later this month
One of the most talked about fundraisers in Tampa Bay returns to the scenic St. Petersburg waterfront at the end of this month. Tickets for WUSF’s “Longest Table” start at $225 and are available on a first come, first served basis. Menus for four of the six vendors quickly sold-out after tickets went on sale today, but offerings from Catering By the Family and St. Pete’s popular Twisted Indian are still available. Chefs from each of the restaurants will serve a four-course meal paired with wine. Check in for the event starts at 5:30 p.m. and the grand toast is at 6:30 pm.Downtown St. Pete's Bayshore Drive will be closed to traffic as a 1,000 foot-long table stretches from 5th Avenue at the Vinoy Hotel, to 2nd Avenue at the Museum of Fine Arts. “We are thrilled to host this wonderful outdoor event where we can gather together to enjoy these fabulous restaurants in a beautiful setting – all while supporting the mission of public media,” WUSF Public Media General Manager JoAnn Urofsky said.400 Bayshore Dr. NE St. Petersburg.

About The Authors

Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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