King State gets a St. Pete brewery, Raising Cane's comes to Tampa Bay, plus more foodie news

Yes, Flying Boat was sold as part of the deal.

click to enlarge King State's Tampa Heights coffee shop location. - K1NGST8/INSTAGRAM
k1ngst8/Instagram
King State's Tampa Heights coffee shop location.
Now open

Crypto Street According to the Tampa Bay Times, Crypto Street Restaurant owner Ricardo Varona opened the restaurant to do something unexpected. Crypto Street Restaurant’s menu is jam-packed with American and Cuban dishes named after the digital currency like “Crypto Cuban,”, “Blockchain Club,” “Dogedog,” and the “Bitcoinana Split.” The restaurant said it finally accepted its first Bitcoin transaction back in November. “Our first Bitcoin transaction accepted & processed! Thank you for coming in and leading the path for payment with crypto currency!,” said a Facebook post. 309 Coronado Dr., Clearwater Beach. cryptostreetrestaurant

Potbellies Complete with kitschy dish names and a renovated building in South Tampa, Himes Breakfast House opened to a group of excited brunchers just a few weeks ago. According to the owner and experienced restaurateur John Cristen (Shells co-founder), Himes' menu follows three guiding principles: large portions, great prices, and fresh ingredients. Christen worked closely with his friend Chef Jason Dame—executive chef of CMX Cinébistro and Café Dufrain—to create unique breakfast offerings that you can’t get at home. 3826 S Himes Ave., Tampa. eathimes.com

Tacos las Californias Since July 2020, Tacos las Californias has been dishing its beloved quesabirria tacos, ramen, quesadillas, and fat California-style burritos out of its Armenia Avenue food truck, but the West Coast-style Mexican spot heads into the new year with its first brick-and-mortar location. Tacos las Californias and its famous drippy broth now have over 20,000 followers on Instagram, and co-owner Chris Garcia attributes their fast success to social media buzz, as he told ThatssoTampa a few weeks ago. They were one of the first taquerias to introduce the quesabirria food trend to Tampa Bay last year, and their business has not stopped growing since. 5635 Memorial Hwy., Tampa. @tacoslascalifornias on Instagram

Coming soon

Blackbrick Earlier this year, Creative Loafing reported that Chef Richard Hales was planning to open his modern American concept Bird & Bone out of the former Pop 'N Sons diner, adjacent to Raymond James Stadium. But as restaurateurs know, plans change. Now, Hales and the Grateful Hospitality Group will now be opening Blackbrick—a modern Chinese restaurant. Although the Blackbrick website states that the new restaurant is opening in February 2022, reps suggest that it will debut in March instead. 4812 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa. halesblackbrick.com

Brutalist Brewing St. Petersburg-based Flying Boat Brewing Co. announced this week via Instagram that its production brewing location has been sold to King State, the popular Tampa-based restaurant, coffee roaster and small-batch (turned bigger-batch) brewer. Although King State now owns the building on 11th Avenue N, Flying Boat will continue to make its many beers there as a contract brewer, and several of its tap beers will stay on the Brutalist Brewing menu. The last day at its current location will be Jan. 30, but Flying Boat Brewing Co. states that it’s currently looking for another home base in the greater Tampa Bay area. 1776 11th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. templeofbeer.com

Clasico Italian Sarasota’s Clasico Italian Chophouse is opening a location at the Brandon Town Center Mall. The Sarasota menu includes an assortment of dishes ranging from seafood to pastas and pizza. Their weekend brunch has our midday faves including Benedicts, chicken & waffles, and sandwiches. No word yet on an official opening date for the second location, so in the meantime, take a drive down I-75 to the Sarasota location at 1341 Main St. clasicosrq.com

Pop Goes the Waffle Barring any additional supply chain issues, there will soon be no need to chase the popular St. Petersburg food truck Pop Goes the Waffle around Tampa Bay anymore, as its very first storefront hopes to open by March. Located between the popular outdoor music venue The Blueberry Patch and Gulfport’s Tangerine Greenway Park, Pop Goes the Waffle’s 2,400 square-foot location will boast a menu filled with owner Sara Fludd’s unique waffle creations. The ‘Burg-based food truck is known for its sweet waffles, as well as its unexpected savory flavors—like maple bacon, shrimp and grits, and a handheld chicken and waffle. 5004 Tangerine Ave. S, Gulfport. popgoesthewaffle.com

Flip Crepes and Waffles
Ex-patrons of the recently-closed bakery swah-rey might miss its mini cupcake and artisan marshmallows, but there’s another cafe opening in its previous downtown St. Petersburg space that's set to satisfy your sweet tooth. Flip Crepes and Waffles will open either at the end of this month, or at the beginning of February. Co-owner Leana Monrazel told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay what the Flip menu will look like, how the current build out is going, and where the inspiration for this new crepe and waffle concept came from. 625 Central Ave., St. Petersburg @flipcrepesandwaffles on Instagram

Raising Cane's Yet another challenger has entered Tampa Bay's ongoing and hotly contested tendy war. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Louisiana-based restaurant chain Raising Cane's, known for chicken tenders and sauces, purchased a Village Inn lot in Clearwater. Notably, the lot is directly across the street from a Chic-fil-A restaurant. It's unclear when Raising Cane's plans to open. But when it does, the concept will have to compete in an already saturated tendie market here in Tampa Bay. 2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater. raisingcanes.com—Colin Wolf

Zoie’s There no shortage of LGBTQ+-owned businesses in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, including bar and club Cocktail, Metro Inclusive Health’s welcome center and Punky’s Bar & Grill. Its newest addition will be Zoie’s bar and restaurant at 2245 Central Ave., with its grand opening slated for spring of this year. Although there’s no official opening date yet, owner Jeff Baker—who named Zoie’s after his beloved chihuahua— tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Grand Central’s newest restaurant will definitely be open in time for St. Pete’s Pride parade in June—which organizers have dubbed the largest Pride celebration in Florida. The Zoie’s team just started renovations to the building, and is working tirelessly to transform the roughly 3,000 square-foot old AC & Heating shop into a neighborhood restaurant for all. 2245 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. zoiesfl.com

Closed

Gaia
Tampa vegan bakery Gaia has closed. Owned by Sarah Hunt Bollhorst, the business, located at 6617 N Nebraska Ave. in Seminole Heights, opened in March focusing mainly on donuts and other allergen-free baked goods (including these amazing cakes). In her announcement, Bollhorst opened up about how taxing running a small business was on her mental health and the overall wellbeing of her family (including two young sons). Bollhorst is now looking into cake-decorating positions around town and wants to start her own YouTube channel. Follow @sarahmakesherself on Instagram for updates.

About The Authors

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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