Backfin Blue Cafe closes in Gulfport, Mediterranean chain CAVA heads to St. Pete, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

And Ybor’s soon-to-open wine bar, La Sétima Club, hosts a spicy vegan pop-up this weekend.

click to enlarge Backfin Blue Cafe closes in Gulfport, Mediterranean chain CAVA heads to St. Pete, and more Tampa Bay foodie news
Backfin Blue Cafe / Facebook

Chicken Salad Chick It's safe to say Tampa Bay is becoming a hub for all-things-chicken, and as the country's only fast-casual chicken salad chain, it makes perfect sense for Chicken Salad Chick to continue to grow in the area. This month, Tampa Chicken Salad Chick franchisees will open their fifth location in Wesley Chapel on July 20. The chain already already has eight locations across Tampa Bay, including Brandon, Lutz, and North and South Tampa. According to a press release, the first 100 customers at the location's grand opening will receive free chicken salad for a year. The first guest in line, which opens at 8 a.m., will receive one large large chicken salad per week for 52 weeks, and the next 99 guests will receive one large large chicken salad per month for 12 months. Known for, you guessed it, chicken salad, the chain offers over a dozen flavors of the dish as well as salads, soups, sandwiches, sides like pimento cheese dip and more. 25038 Wesley Chapel Blvd., Wesley Chapel.

Coming Soon

CAVA When one fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant closes, another one opens. St. Pete Rising points out that Cava—a build-your-own-bowl-style spot— will take over Zoë's Kitchen, a similar Mediterranean concept in St. Petersburg. The move comes after Cava acquired 261 Zoë's Kitchens around the country. The DC-based chain features a menu that allows its customers to create custom bowls, salads and pitas, each accompanied by choices of dips/spreads, proteins and toppings. With a diverse selection of all things Mediterranean, St. Petersburg's Cava location will allow its patrons to take their meal in many diet directions, whether it be vegan, keto, etc. An opening date for the 113-capacity St. Pete location has not yet been announced, but you can keep up with its Facebook and Instagram for the latest information. 1320 4th St. N, St. Petersburg.


Backfin Blue Cafe This past week, Gulfport lost one of its longest-running seafood eateries—The Backfin Blue Cafe, located adjacent to Stella’s and Gulfport Brewery + Eatery—which marked its last day in operation on July 4. “After 25 amazing years the time has finally come to the close the doors to the beautiful Backfin Blue Cafe. Over the years we’ve built a family with so many people, and are extremely grateful to have done so,” Carly Russell—daughter of owner Harold Russell—posts online. And although Backfin Blue Cafe permanently shut its doors, Russell says that her father isn’t done with the restaurant industry just yet. He's saving all of his beloved recipes, and is ruminating the possibility of opening a food truck or local catering business instead. 2913 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport.


Emo Night Tampa x La Sétima Club Emo Night Tampa is as passionate about local vegan food as much as it is about sad alternative music—and its next installment will feature an exclusive pop-up from a highly-anticipated Ybor wine bar. La Sétima Club, an all-natural wine bar slated to open sometime this year, will be at this Saturday's Emo Night’s gig slinging vegan wings and chicken sandwiches when the dance party takes over Seminole Heights' American Legion Seminole Post 111 this weekend. The spicy lineup includes bands Sum of Our Failures, Kick Veronica, Rutterkin and Head High— while the even spicier food lineup will feature La Sétima’s garlic honey wings, sauces that range from mild, medium to hot buffalo, and even an exclusive “Crying at Emo Night" hot sauce. Although folks can't sample any of La Sétima's natural wine selection at this weekend's pop up, the American Legion has a full-service bar for all of your boozy needs. 6918 N Florida Ave., Tampa.
Lucky Tigré x In Between Days kitchen takeover Before Lucky Tigré opens its sari-sari counter in South Tampa this fall, you can get a taste of its “Filipino-ish” small bites at St. Petersburg’s In Between Days this week. From July 6-15, Lucky Tigré will take over the kitchen of The Burg’s only Tokyo-style listening room, dishing out its popular white pepper pork dumplings, bihon noodle salad, braised chicken adobo bao buns, bola bola dumplings and hamachi kinilaw, a Filipino-style ceviche.  These savory small plates can be paired with In Between Days' extensive sake list, which its owners boast as one of the most extensive in the state of Florida.  The intimate listening room is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday.  2340 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

Bonsai & Brews Ybor’s NOLA-inspired Zydeco Brew Werks hosts its Bonsai and Brews event on Tuesday, July 12. Whether you enjoy working on the tiny, Japanese trees or Zydeco’s craft beers—like its popular “Nature Walk” double IPA—this upcoming event is a unique, hands-on experience. No tools or experience is required to attend this exciting workshop, as guests will leave with their very own little own tree. Basic care and maintenance knowledge will also be provided, but keeping it alive, however, is entirely up to you. Tickets for this event run for $75, and can be found at Another installation of this event will take place on Tuesday, July 26. 1902 E 7th Ave., Tampa.


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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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