Local chef and restaurateur Noel Cruz has a “secret passion project” planned for Tampa’s Sparkman Wharf. In partnership with chef Anthony Messina, Cruz will introduce the region to his latest venture, The Corners Pizza, when the new waterfront destination opens in October.
“The Corners Pizza concept has been a secret passion project in my head for a while,” said Cruz — who’s also behind the family of Ichicoro restaurants, c.1949 and chismis & co — in a statement. “The vision for Sparkman Wharf is a celebration of innovation in doing something different. Pizza, like ramen, is truly endearing to me, and we are approaching it with integrity and fun.”
The Corners specializes in Detroit-style square pies. Pizza done the Motor City way is traditionally made in blue steel square pans that were meant to hold small parts in factories. Another defining characteristic of Detroit-style pizza is the crust, which is thick and airy with crispy, cheesy edges.
According to Messina, he has a special connection to The Corners.
“My family has always loved cooking, and food to me is just a mechanism to bring us together. This is in my blood. It’s an incredible opportunity to open this concept at Sparkman Wharf and be able to share my grandmother’s recipe with the Tampa Bay community,” said the chef.
The Corners is the eighth addition to Sparkman Wharf’s intimate al fresco dining garden, where 10 eateries will play with street food-style concepts and menus inside upcycled shipping containers. Foundation Coffee Co., Whatever Pops & Bowls, Gallito, Boat Run Oyster Company, Montados by Mise en Place and BT in a Box are the previously announced projects.
Part of the larger Water Street Tampa development, Sparkman Wharf is a reimagined, mixed-use hangout in the Channel District that features a biergarten and a recreational lawn, alongside the dining garden.