Wine Exchange Closes — Psych!
After two years of unsatisfying negotiations with Hyde Park landlords the Wasserman Group, the 18-year-old Wine Exchange shut down on Mother's Day. "We had a big party and we drank all the wine," says bar manager Craig Dean. "The doors closed."
Not so fast.
While in town for a vote on the Hyde Park Village condo project that the Wasserman Group is pushing, David Wasserman noticed a huge crowd congregating in and out of the Wine Exchange. Combined with a vocal community outcry, it was enough to bring the restaurant's plight back into the landlord's focus.
Now, the Wasserman Group is building Wine Exchange a new space in "the heart of the Village," which is scheduled to be finished in late July. "That's hilarious," says Dean. "We're expecting late fall."
In the meantime, Wine Exchange owner Mark Smith has done some quick and easy renovations on the old space and started restocking the wine cellar. "It's been a rough 60 days on the staff," Dean confides, "but now we're happy, with fresh attitudes." (1611 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, 813-254-9463)
In one respect, this is a big city steakhouse that's betting on downtown Tampa's redevelopment. In another — it's freaking Malio's, yo! The restaurant is owned by Jason Fernandez (of Ybor's Bernini), Derek Iavarone and, of course, the man himself: Malio Iavarone. Scheduled to open the week of June 18. (Riverside Building, 400 Ashley Drive N., Tampa, 813-223-7746)