Chefs behind Tampa’s shuttered Piquant bringing new bakery concept to Hall on Franklin

That means the return of Piquant’s favorites including the croissant doughnut (or “cronut”).

click to enlarge Husband-and-wife chef-owner team Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera launch third stall at Tampa Heights’ Hall on Franklin upon reopening. - ℅ XILO
℅ XILO
Husband-and-wife chef-owner team Ricardo Castro and Rosana Rivera launch third stall at Tampa Heights’ Hall on Franklin upon reopening.


Pending the results of an eviction lawsuit, Tampa Heights’ Hall on Franklin is supposed to return on June 12. And when it does, it’ll look a little different inside.

The Hall—which closed on March 20 to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus—bid farewell to Bake’n Babes (which is on the lookout for a new location) last week, but chef Ricardo Castro and chef Rosana Rivera of Xilo and Kofe (both existing Hall concepts) told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that they have plans to launch a third stall, a patisserie called Chef & The Baker, in the old Bake’n Babes space. 

“We describe Chef & The Baker as taking Piquant to New York City,” Castro explained, referencing the French bakery he and Rivera operated in Hyde Park Village until they had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July 2018. That means getting creative and adding fancier flair to patisserie items, and it also means the return of Piquant’s favorites including the croissant doughnut (or “cronut”). 

“We told Jamal [Wilson, and owner of Hall on Franklin] to expect a line once we reopen,” Castro said with a laugh.

Castro—who would not comment on the eviction lawsuit—said that since closing Piquant, a week hasn’t gone by without being asked about his beloved croissant doughnut making an appearance on a menu.

“That’s what we love—we love that the locals remember us and miss our creations,” he said. Castro added that he and Rivera are taking full advantage of the open space within the Hall to gain exposure for the new venture, which looks to fill the dessert void left by the Bake’n Babes departure.

We’re adding another branch to our repertoire,” he said excitedly. “We’ve used this time to diversify our business plan and launch ideas we’ve been working on for the last few years.”

Full disclosure: Creative Loafing Tampa Bay rents the second floor of the Hall on Franklin and uses the space for events and offices.

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