More kava in Seminole Heights, a new concept from Empamamas and more Tampa Bay foodie news

Also, St. Pete’s Belmark diner won’t re-open after all.

click to enlarge Leo Gomez just finished painting at the new concept from Empamamas’ Stephanie Swanz. - Kiera Andrews c/o Stephanie Swanz
Kiera Andrews c/o Stephanie Swanz
Leo Gomez just finished painting at the new concept from Empamamas’ Stephanie Swanz.

This week’s roundup is loaded with newbies, menu changes, and a buttload of foodie news. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the beloved Corner Club (don’t get too upset, seasoned hospitality guru Jeni Armstrong plans on breathing new life into the concept very soon). In the meantime, be sure to support local businesses, but keep washing your hands, wearing your masks and keeping space. We need to get a grip on the number of local COVID-19 cases before our favorites spots have to take another massive hit. Oh, and don’t forget to check out CL’s list of Halloween activities for adults and trick-or-treat spots for kids via


Grassroots Kava House Grassroots is growing its reach with not one, but two new locations—one at 5248 N. Florida Ave. in Seminole Heights and the other at 1925 E. 6th Ave. in Ybor City. That makes three locations including the original, which has been going strong since January 2017 at 957 Central Ave. in Downtown St. Petersburg. Both locations debut Friday, Oct. 30.

Meli Greek Street Donuts Irene Manglis renovated a horse trailer and is now slinging her great grandmother’s Greek doughnut (loukoumades) recipe with a twist. Swing by for your classic Greek doughnut traditionally served with honey syrup and cinnamon or Manglis’ inventive takes incorporating Nutella, Oreo, bacon, whatever is both delicious and on-trend. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at 36211 U.S. Hwy 19 N., Palm Harbor. @meligreekstreetdonuts on Facebook

Pop Nutrition The new healthy shake and tea storefront bills itself as a community club determined to make the world healthier one shake and tea at a time. The offerings are geared toward protein and providing energy with a fun spin—like the limited edition Homer’s Holiday Donut, a banana toffee shake packing 34 grams of protein. 9753 66th St., Pinellas Park. @popnutritionfl on Facebook

Tony Macaroni & Co. Seminole Heights' American Legion Post 111 now hosts a takeout concept run by Chef Tony Macaroni. After taking over the kitchen last month, Chef Tony has been slinging Italian American eats alongside bar food classics. You can order on-site, by phone, or through Grubhub and UberEats. By the way, the chef also has a from-scratch Italian cuisine food truck launching next month. 6918 N. Florida Ave., Seminole Heights.

Coming soon

Muchahas Stephanie Swanz, the owner of Armature Works’ resident, Empamamas, is launching a new concept. The chef/restaurateur is keeping things pretty under wraps, but with hints from branding (sombreros and maracas), it looks like Muchachas may be serving up Mexican cuisine. The location and an opening date has yet to be announced, but CL has an interview on the books with Swanz, so stay tuned for details. @muchachas.tampa on Facebook


The Corner Club Old Seminole Heights’ long-standing institution and so-called dive bar, has been for sale for almost a year, and after finding a buyer, shut its doors for good last Saturday, October 24. The neighborhood bar—located at 1502 E. Sligh Ave. near Sulphur Springs—is being taken over by longtime Tampa hospitality veteran Jeni Armstrong. There's no opening date, Armstrong added that while Corner Club won't be a dive, it'll still be a place to "come get a drink and do karaoke." —Ray Roa

The Belmark Due to coronavirus, St. Pete's iconic diner The Belmark will not re-open. The concept closed in 1987 and was scheduled to "re-open" in February. “As per the Coronavirus meltdown our plans to open the Belmark have faded,” Chef Ed Lowery wrote in an email to CL. Instead, Lowery has taken on the role of chef at Seminole Heights’ Ella’s Folk Art Cafe.


5 Branches Brewing With only a year on the scene under its belt, and after jumping into its first competition, 5 Branches Brewing in Tarpon Springs won a silver medal during the 34th annual Great American Beer Festival for its “Doggin Wrench” stout in the Imperial Stout Category. The brewery also took home awards for “Very Small Brewing Company of the Year” and the “Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year.” 531 Athens St., Tarpon Springs.

Coppertail Brewing Co. The brewery’s kitchen has revamped its menu with a focus on hand-made items. That means pickling everything in-house, smoking meats and fish, making sausage and curing bacon on-site. According to a Coppertail rep, the menu better reflects the brewery and brings in an element of Florida and the south. 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Ybor City.

Fat Rabbit Pub Beginning Nov. 3, the New Tampa pub is dropping a new menu featuring some lighter choices including rice bowls with a slew of protein options as well as vegetarian substitutions. Seafood eats feature buffalo shrimp and scallops. You can also expect to see burgers, wings, brats and pretzel bites. Don’t worry, the popular Nashville Yard sando tossed in housemade Nashville hot sauce then topped with chipotle aioli and pickles isn’t going anywhere. 16029 Tampa Palms Blvd. W., Tampa.

Free Kahwa coffee for voters Kahwa's downtown Tampa location will give voters $1,000 worth of coffee on Election Day (November 3). All you have to do is show your "I Voted" sticker. The gesture is courtesy of personal injury law firm Farah & Farah and the Vote Boldly campaign created to increase and encourage voter engagement in Tampa and key regions throughout Florida. 808 N. Tampa St., Tampa.

Taste of the Fair Want a taste of the fair without braving the crowds? Stay in your car and snag the goods, everything from funnel cakes to nearly anything put on a stick and dipped in cheese. Admission and parking is free. Food prices range between $3-$12 and all the vendors accept cash and credit/debit cards. The drive-thru event runs from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 30-Nov. 1. 215 Sydney Washer Rd., Dover. —Alexandria Jones

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