Tampa American restaurant, bar and cafe Willa’s is officially open in North Hyde Park. The much anticipated concept—located at 1700 W Fig St.—made the announcement today, adding that it’s operating at 70% capacity, plus implementing safety measures including “wellness checks for all employees before every shift, socially distanced tables, air filtration, surface disinfecting, mandatory masks for all staff and guests unless seated and more.”
Hours for Willa’s are Wednesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m., and expanded lunch hours and weekend brunch are to come.
The family-friendly concept—the brainchild of Tampa natives Nate Siegel and Merrin Jenkins—has been on the mind of locals since December 2019 and just announced plans to finally open in January. Housed within a 4700-square-foot, century-old industrial warehouse, nearly everything on the Willa’s menu is made in house, from the bread to the tonics.
In a testament to its mission to serve the classics, the signature dish at Willa’s,—named after Merrin’s great-great-grandmother and 19th-century Tampa pioneer, William Lowry—is a rotisserie chicken. “The kitchen staff uses the whole bird to make stock and bone broth from scratch for dishes like Chicken & Rice Soup, Schmaltz Potatoes and more,” Willa’s wrote in a press release.
What’s more is that roughly 70% of the dishes on the menu are vegan or vegetarian.
Other menu items include a “Miso Ōra King Salmon” with seared green beans, lemon & dressed greens and a tahini caesar salad with “little gems and kale with a mountain of grana padano and rustic croutons.”
Snacks include bar popcorn with house noochy seasoning and cured castelvetrano olives with citrus, chili & fennel pollen.
Pastry Chef Benjamin Copeland—formerly of The Gasparilla Inn & Club—is making desserts which include “Profiteroles with soft serve vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate and Carrot Cake with coconut, caramel nuts & whipped mascarpone.”
The wine list includes glasses, bottles, half-bottles and magnums which feature about 50 bottles from small producers of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Head bartender (and Tampa poet) Ronnie Wyche Jr. brings his expertise from Rooster & the Till and Mise en Place to a bar whose menu includes a “Parsley Pepper Margarita” with fresh green juice, jalapeno & a lava salt rim.
Today’s press release also said that Willa’s sister concept Willa’s Provisions, will open next month and server locally roasted King State Coffee, plus “tea and adaptogens from HOUSE of WARIS Botanicals out of NYC, baked goods and breakfast tacos in the morning.”
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