Coming soon: Cigar City Brewpub

Plus: Chipotle finally signs with Immokalee workers.

click to enlarge CHIPOTLE SIGNS ON: Chipotle has agreed to take part in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program. - CRISTINA CASTILLO
Cristina Castillo
CHIPOTLE SIGNS ON: Chipotle has agreed to take part in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program.

The announcement on the Facebook page for Cigar City Brewpub read: “Coming soon: Cigar City Brewpub. Expect delicious beer, delicious food, and more to be announced soon!” In just minutes, the page attracted hundreds of likes, more than some businesses will ever get. Only five days in, the page has over 1,300.

Owner and operator Joey Redner says the new brewpub will open in the former site of a TGIF restaurant in Tampa's Northdale neighborhood at 15491 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

“There will be a stand-alone brew system there to make unique beers for the brewpub,” Redner said. “These beers will be specifically designed and paired for the food offerings and totally separate from the beers offered at the brewery.”

The brewpub is getting a manufacturing license so growlers can be filled onsite with some of the brews made in-house.

The new spot seats 250. So what’s on the menu? Redner wasn’t ready to say.

“I am talking to a lot of local people now, specifically people who have run large kitchens before,” Redner said. “I’m going to look first to the Tampa Cuban-style food as a starting point.”

Inside, Redner says he wants the restaurant to look and taste like a gastropub.

“We’ll put the Cigar City touch on it, you’ll definitely see a lot of wood and accoutrements from brew houses,” Redner said. “We’re going to use a lot of repurposed brewing equipment to bring a bit of the production feel to the setting.”

The brewpub is slated to open sometime in February or March …

Everyone has one more reason to love Chipotle. Thurs., Oct. 4, Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) announced that they had reached an agreement improving wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers. Farmworkers represented by the CIW pick tomatoes that are used by numerous restaurants, including Chipotle. The agreement comes just months before the start of Florida’s winter tomato-growing season.

“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all — workers, growers, and Chipotle — can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners — every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants — in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”

Chipotle is the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which works to create a sustainable tomato industry for all involved. The Fair Food Program also gives a bonus to tomato pickers to raise wages and makes farmers agree to a code of conduct, allowing workers to communicate concerns without fear.

“Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation’s food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “We believe that this agreement underscores our long-standing commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”

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