More than 20 Tampa Bay restaurant, bar openings to watch for in spring

It's gonna be a busy season.

click to enlarge Pokéworks carries a customizable lineup of create-your-own poke burritos, bowls and salads. - Courtesy of Pokéworks
Courtesy of Pokéworks
Pokéworks carries a customizable lineup of create-your-own poke burritos, bowls and salads.

Over the next few months, more than 20 restaurants and bars are slated to premiere in Tampa Bay. Deadlines could always shift, but nonetheless, spring is gonna be a busy season.

Babbaluci Cucina Italiana & Lounge An upscale Italian eatery breathing fresh life into the space that CBD’s Southside called home for more than a decade. 3671 S. Westshore Blvd., Tampa. 813-493-6975.

The Blind Tiger A fourth neighborhood in the Big Guava nabs a selection of coffee and tea, alongside food options, from the indie cafe. 10118 Montague St. #19, Tampa. 813-540-2233,

Cass Street Deli Launching in late February, the New York-style Jewish delicatessen promises carryout-focused fare like stacked pastrami on rye and matzo ball soup. Also expect a grab-and-go market. 1331 W. Cass St., Tampa.

Dio Modern Mediterranean The restaurant formerly known as Paninoteca, which expects to debut early next month, will fully embrace the Mediterranean region with a wide-ranging menu. 519 N. Franklin St., Tampa. 813-341-2525.

Garrison Tavern Developed by pioneering chef-restaurateur Richard Sandoval, this gastropub with contemporary-meets-approachable comfort food will replace Champions Sports Bar. Another new venue is planned for the property, too. Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 700 S. Florida Ave., Tampa.

Giovanni’s Fresh Italian Kitchen A relaxed family joint featuring simple spins on Italian classics and a full-liquor bar. Vista Inn Lake Tarpon, 37611 U.S. Highway 19 N., Palm Harbor. 727-935-2106,

Grain & Berry The popular superfood cafe has six sites under construction around town. Brandon Mall will score its own outpost in late January, followed by Carrollwood (14308 N. Dale Mabry Highway) and South Tampa (1155 S. Dale Mabry Highway) in February and Sarasota in March. Various locations, Tampa Bay.

Harpoon Harry’s Crab House With a targeted opening of Jan. 24, the two-story Hungry Harry’s spotlights sushi and seafood stalwarts — not to mention a bar fashioned from a 1926 Chevy truck. Tampa Convention Center, 225 S. Franklin St., Tampa. 813-321-4040,

Hole In One Donuts The fiercely loved neighborhood doughnut shop’s latest location is scheduled to open within the next month or so. 39024 U.S. Highway 19 N., Tarpon Springs.

King State The first brick-and-mortar cafe for the specialty roaster will fuse coffee, beer and food under one roof. 520 E. Floribraska Ave., Tampa.

Meat Market This staple in Miami Beach is what happens when the traditional steakhouse gets a modern, chef-driven upgrade. Hyde Park Village, 1607 W. Snow Ave., Tampa.

The Mill Known for New American grub and craft cocktails, the downtown St. Pete favorite takes over the former spot of Ceviche with its (relocated) second restaurant. 2500 W. Azeele St., Tampa.

Mole y Abuela Premiering next month where Fly Bar & Restaurant last operated, celebrity chef Fabio Viviani and Nocturnal Hospitality Group’s next culinary collaboration works fresh, locally sourced ingredients into Spanish-inspired dishes that accompany a Latin spirits bar on the roof. 1202 N. Franklin St., Tampa.

Mr. & Mrs. Crab The casual Bradenton restaurant expands its Cajun-style seafood, everything from shrimp and oysters to clams and crawfish, once again. 1251 E. Fowler Ave. #D3, Tampa.

No Vacancy Florida-inspired bites and specialty drinks are found at the indoor-outdoor hangout replacing Kings Street Food Counter. 937 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Olivia The neighborhood restaurant — which chef Chris Ponte and his wife, Michelle, aim to open with their son, JT Mahoney, in February — will deliver a mix of northern and southern Italian cuisine, including pasta and Neapolitan pizza. 3601 W. Swann Ave., Tampa.

click to enlarge One signature cocktail offered at Park & Rec. - Courtesy of Park & Rec
Courtesy of Park & Rec
One signature cocktail offered at Park & Rec.

Park & Rec On top of playful food, Park & Rec’s second location showcases four bars, bringing signature cocktails like a grown-up CapriSun across the bay. Giant beer pong and retro arcade games are other highlights. 290 S. Meridian Ave., Tampa.

Plant+Love Ice Cream Rotating flavors of vegan ice cream, made with an organic coconut milk base, from a community-driven artist collective. 953 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-900-6744,

Pokéworks The Hawaiian poke franchise carries a customizable lineup of create-your-own poke burritos, bowls and salads, as well as signature builds, starting next month. 2734 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.

Salt Shack on the Bay A rustic-refined bar and grill focusing on freshly caught fish and seafood, in addition to seasonal cuisine and tropical cocktails. 5415 W. Tyson Ave., Tampa.

Sandwich House The brainchild of Gulf Coast Sourdough & Wild Yeast Breads founders Brett Wiewiora and Christina Cann slings elevated sandwiches on fresh-baked artisan loaves, plus sides, beverages and desserts. 5214 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa.

Sea Hags Bar & Grill This seafood-heavy waterfront haunt will soon see the launch of its third outpost in the old Selene space. 4945 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.

Sekushi on the Beach Originally projected to open before Christmas, Sekushi provides a taste of the Las Vegas strip through chef-partner Viet Vo’s sushi, but also dumplings and noodles. 524 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach.

Taste The New American eatery does ingredient-driven dishes with an emphasis on local farmers, ranchers and artisans. It’s shooting for a late February debut. Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center, 513 S. Florida Ave., Tampa.

Tiki Docks River Bar & Grill One of the newest ventures for Ford’s Garage parent company 23 Restaurant Services is on the Alafia River, allowing for boat-up access to three bars, a large patio and tropical eats. 10708 Palmetto St., Riverview.

WEPA! Cocina de Puerto Rico Mid-February is when this traditional Puerto Rican kitchen hopes to premiere. Anticipated dishes include mofongo and arroz con gandules. 2149 Third Ave. S., St. Petersburg. 727-420-7832,

The Wooden Rooster A casual downtown St. Pete cafe whose second location also offers house-made crêpes and sandwiches, salads and seasonal soups. Seminole City Center, 11201 Park Blvd. N., Seminole.

Aside from these bars and restaurants, a couple of more retail-y options on the horizon include Tampa’s Boozy Pig and Heights Seafood Co. There are even some leftovers from our previous coverage on fall openings, which means we’re still anxiously awaiting America Neat Grill & Whiskey House and the third Casita Taqueria in St. Pete; the same goes for 3 Dot Dash Vegan Kitchen, Catrinas Tacos and Tequila, Counter CultureThe Bowery, Forbici Modern Italian, Gen X Tavern and Xtreme Tacos in Tampa.

What else to keep an eye out for? The St. Pete return of Nitally’s, along with the new homes of Tampa’s Daily Dose and Fly Bar and Stella’s in Gulfport.

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