King State heads to St. Pete, The Pearl has an opening date, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

And there are food festivals happening on both sides of the bay this weekend.

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click to enlarge King State heads to St. Pete, The Pearl has an opening date, and more Tampa Bay foodie news
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The Pearl Water Street is clearly one of downtown Tampa's fastest-growing districts, and it's already preparing for yet another tenant. Located on the ground floor of the Heron apartment tower, The Pearl will celebrate its grand opening on Tuesday, March 7. According to Water Street Tampa’s website, the district’s newest restaurant and tavern will boast “an expansive menu of chef-inspired cuisine featuring made-from-scratch entrees, shareable plates and seasonal oysters.” The Pearl’s dinner menu features exciting entrees like ricotta dumplings with acorn squash, braised short rib and pineapple-marinated hanger steak, alongside seafood-focused dishes like fresh oysters and a market priced seafood tower. In addition to its regular lunch and dinner menu, this Water Street Tampa restaurant also has weekend brunch offerings like chicken and waffles, pork cheek hash, chicken wing confit and jalapeño cornbread. 823 Water St. Suite C-100, Tampa.

Slice of Gulfport At least now Gulfport residents have some 'za diversity. Slice of Gulfport Pizzeria is now open and serving up hot pies, subs and chicken wings to the beachfront community. The family-run pizzeria’s soft opening was on Feb. 22, from 1- 5 p.m. During its soft opening phase the menu is limited to only pizza and calzones, but the full menu will be available March 1, where guests can expect options like salads, meatball subs, wings and pizza bagels. According to their site, owner John McLachlan moved to Gulfport with his family in 2021, and took heavy inspiration from New York City Pizzerias when formulating the menu. All the sauce and dough is made and tossed in-house, with cheese imported from Wisconsin. The pie’s come in sizes 10, 12, or 14-inch with the choice to build your own. Guests can also choose from one of the specialty pies like the Pepperoni Pirate, Boca Ciega Ultimate and the White Out. The pizzeria also offers vegan and gluten free options. 1414 58th St. S, Gulfport. slicegulfport.comTyana Rodgers

Duckweed David Islands Duckweed Urban Grocery recently debuted its fifth Tampa Bay location, now open on Davis Islands. The newly-opened brick and mortar—which also boasts a full gas station—carries all of the expected beer, liquor, wine, sundries, dry goods and fresh produce that you can expect from its sibling locations. Its new David Island location shares a space with The Boozy Pig, a butcher that specializes in locally-sourced proteins. 5212 Bridge St., Unit 108, Tampa.

Coming Soon

Pacific Counter In late 2019, popular poke bowl concept Pacific Counter opted to open its second location in Lakewood Ranch instead of Tampa. Almost three years later, the fast casual restaurant finally makes its way across the bridge to 1732 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., where its debut Tampa location will open sometime in March, according to a press release. The fast casual restaurant is known for its expansive menu of build-your-own poke bowls, sushi burritos, Asian and Hawaiian-inspired hot dogs, Spam musubi, fresh juices and kombucha, and the Disney-famous Dole whip ice cream. After next month’s grand opening, Pacific Counter will share a bustling South Tampa plaza with neighbors Woody’s Famous Salads and the newly-opened Crumbl Cookies. After next month's debut, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 1732 S. Dale Mabry Hwy.

King State St. Pete As is tradition for very popular local concepts, beloved Tampa Heights coffee shop and brewer King State will attempt to open a new outpost across the bridge. The new King State location will open at 15 8th St. in St. Petersburg within the Harlan Hotel at the new COHatch co-working space, the shop announced yesterday on social media." So many rad people working on this project and we’re so thankful to be bring the Bruce to the Burg. Full kitchen, full service, full liquor, full coffee, 16 taps, full party time," said King State in the post. Since its debut four years ago at the flagship location at 520 E Floribraska Ave., King State owners have been on a roll, launching The Brutalist brewery and Temple of Beer taproom at 1776 11th Ave. N in St. Pete, as well as its annual Lagerfest. In 2019, King State was named among Food & Wine's "Best Coffee Shops in America" in 2019. No exact opening date was given, but the new St. Pete King State spot is expected to open within the next few months. 15 8th St., St. Petersburg.—Colin Wolf


St. Petersburg Seafood & Music Festival
Co-hosted by the City of St. Petersburg, 2023's rendition runs from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26. Although the festival itself is free to attend, its local food vendors will be peddling their specialty dishes at a cost, of course. Alongside a variety of seafood stands, The St. Petersburg Seafood and Music Festival will also offer different alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, desserts, sides and vegetarian options. Although children are welcome to attend next weekend's festival, only service dogs will be permitted. The festival's music lineup includes local bands like K-Luv and United Funk Foundation, Dr. Dave, 22N, Paisley Craze, Gas House Gorilla, Mixed Signal Band, The Black Honkeys, Stormbringer, Sarasota Steel Pan Band, YaYa Diamond Band and No Filter. 400 Bayshore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg.

Tampa Taco Fest Get those Tums, Pepto Bismol and wet wipes ready, because the Tampa Taco Fest is making its yearly pilgrimage to Al Lopez Park. Taking place on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., this popular food festival is back for another year of endless tacos, stiff margaritas, family-friendly activities and live entertainment. Although the full list of participating vendors for Tampa Taco Fest have not yet been released, a few local restaurants and taquerias we might be able to expect at next year's event include Los Chapos Tacos, Jimmy's Tacos, Loli's Mexican Cravings and Los Tacos Mariachis. Guests can expect a wide spread of tacos, of course—from quesabirria and al pastor to carne asada, chicken, seafood and more. Several vendors will also be slinging sides like elote and rice and beans, in addition to margaritas, cerveza and aguas frescas to help wash down your meaty feast. 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa.

Friday Night Bites If you're looking for after race plans next weekend, you can probably walk to this massive foodie event at Tropicana Field. To help celebrate the annual return of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, organizers from the Saturday Shoppe will host their first "Friday Night Bites" food truck and dessert rally. Taking place on Lot 5 at Tropicana Field on Friday, March 3 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., this free foodie event will feature dozens of seasoned and up-and-coming vendors—all dishing out their best entrees, homemade drinks and sweet treats. In addition to being free to attend and family-friendly, next weekend's Friday Night Bites event also offers free parking and live entertainment. A full food vendor list can be browsed on the organizer's Facebook page, but a few local heavy hitters include St. Pete's Huggers food truck, The Duke of Ribs, Slush Trap, Sea Dog Cantina, Tara's Kitchen and Southern Oak Barbecue. 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg.

St. Pete Youth Farm closes Black History Month with Saturday workday
St. Pete Youth Farm hosts community volunteer days throughout the year to support its mission of providing access to nutritious food in South St. Pete, but this weekend’s call to action is particularly important. Black History Month Workday—happening Saturday, Feb. 25 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at 1664 12th St. S—encourages community members to extend a helping hand at the urban farm whether you have a green thumb or not. “Culture and community are pillars of what we do at the farm, and providing space for the community to gather and have the opportunity to get involved and learn is important to us,” the farm’s Instagram reads. And if you can’t make it out to help this weekend, you can always donate directly to the St. Pete Youth Farm on its website.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company releases exclusive “Coral Head” beer In an homage to his brother Johnny who adored Florida’s coral reefs, TBBC owner David Doble is launching a new beer “Coral Head,” which is meant to compliment the brewery’s beloved Reef Donkey IPA. The brand new IPA with “aromatic notes of stone fruit, papaya & passion fruit with a big citrus twist” was launched at TBBC’s Westchase location last Friday. The West Coast-style IPA has an ABV of 7.0% and is currently only available at TBBC locations in Ybor City and Westchase—although it will eventually be distributed throughout the state. A portion of proceeds from beer sales will benefit the Coral Reef Restoration Foundation. .—Ray Roa

About The Author

Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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