Back in December, Ford’s Garage, the Fort Myers-born craft beer and burger hub that pays homage to Henry Ford, announced that Brandon would house its first franchise outside Lee County. At 11105 Causeway Blvd., where the family-style Buca di Beppo used to be, construction on the new spot is coming along.
Ford’s, a licensed Ford Motor Company partner, operates two other sites in Cape Coral and Estero. Like its older siblings, the Brandon location, slated to open in spring, will be styled after a 1920s-era speakeasy-meets-service station with copper bar tops and brick walls.
The restaurants offer a something-for-everyone mix of comfort food-inspired items. Diners can customize their burgers, choosing from black angus beef, lamb and portobello mushrooms, or try one of the signature “Burgers of Fame” (named after each location’s local public figures). More than 100 brews accompany the eats.
• Grabbing a seat at The Stein & Vine just got easier. Ty and Lacey Mathis’s intimate Brandon joint packs in patrons as much for the food it serves as for the wine and beer. Now the gastropub at 827 W. Bloomingdale Ave. has expanded next door, adding five sit-down tables, more than 10 stools at a penny-coated bar, two additional flat-screen TVs and a larger tap list.
• Rock Brothers Brewing will be the next brewery and live music venue to hit Ybor City. The brewery, which has crafted its local and national band-themed beers at Cigar City Brewing for the past two years, is set to revive the historic King-Greco Hardware building at 1901 N. 15th St. (former home of MC Film Fest) for a fall opening.
With its own facility and tasting room, Rock Brothers’ nationwide portfolio, including Hootie’s Home-grown Ale and 311’s Amber Ale, will be highlighted. Founders Kevin Lilly and Tony Casoria say they want folks to explore new music alongside the brews.
• Established in Atlanta 12 years ago by Stephen Chan, Tin Drum Asiacafé will open the doors of its first Florida location in Oldsmar Friday, May 15. It's named for the legendary Tin Drummer, who would take to the streets during ancient times, gathering people for laughter, music and a meal while beating on a drum. The café at 3687 Tampa Road will churn out affordable Pan-Asian streetside dishes, ranging from classic to contemporary.
• Multiple spots are included in this week’s final course. The Clearwater-based Tony’s Pizza plans to debut its third pizzeria next door to St. Pete’s recently opened Brick & Mortar. After unveiling it was pouring at a few St. Pete haunts last month, St. Petersburg Distillery products like Old St. Pete Whiskey are rolling out to area liquor and wine stores, including Riverview’s Winthrop Liquors. Paci’s Pizza is aiming for a mid-May reopening in South Tampa; The Lure, a tapas and billiards bar with “cold dead fish” (sushi, y’all), is moving into Octave’s former St. Pete home; Seminole Heights’ Ichicoro ramen haven will launch in a mod-casual setting this summer on Florida Avenue; and Hilda’s started serving Italian ice, custard and gelato to St. Pete’s Fourth Street.