New coffee in Seminole Heights, Chef Suzanne Lara has a new Tampa concept, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

Plus, food festivals and a few more grand openings.

click to enlarge New coffee in Seminole Heights, Chef Suzanne Lara has a new Tampa concept, and more Tampa Bay foodie news
thelabcoffeetampa / Instagram

The Lab Seminole Heights just gained another locally-owned specialty cafe, since The Lab officially opened out of the former Blind Tiger space on Florida Avenue today, April 28. In addition to locally-roasted coffee from Zeal Roasters, The Lab slings Cuban toasts, breakfast sandwiches, homemade pastries and chorizo burritos in collaboration with local butcher The Boozy Pig. While co-owner Jason Barnett tells Creative Loafing that the drink menu of its new Seminole Heights cafe will mirror that of its Hyde Park predecessor, it will also feature a new grab n’ go section of freshly-baked bagels and tortillas. On its grand opening morning, The Lab also dishes out quarter pounder everything bagel hot dogs, which we hope will stay on its daily menu. 4304 N Florida Ave., Tampa. @thelabcoffeetampa on Instagram

Florida Avenue Brewing Co. A prominent Tampa Bay brewery will soon make its highly-anticipated homecoming to its original neighborhood. Florida Avenue Brewing Co. will open its Seminole Heights brewery and taproom on Friday, May 5, according to a press release. The 4,000-square-foot space will serve as a taproom and small-batch brewery, dishing out all of Florida Avenue Brewing Co.'s popular beers, like the "You're My Boy, Blue" blueberry wheat ale and its "Dead Parrot" light lager. Overall, the new brewery will boast 16 taps, a full liquor bar, shaded patio seating and an on-site kitchen. A brand new beer will also be available on draft at next week's grand opening, aptly-named the "Coming Home" double IPA. In addition to a variety of beer, wine and cocktails, an on-site food trailer will dish out a spread of beer-friendly eats like pub pretzels, cheesesteak egg rolls, hot chicken sandwiches, salads and flatbreads. Its website says that operating hours for its new Seminole Heights location will updated soon.4315 N Florida Ave., Tampa.

Huey Magoo’s Tampa Bay’s chicken tender scene is certainly blowing up, and a new contender is now open in Odessa. Earlier this week, Florida-based chicken tendie chain Huey Magoo’s celebrated the grand opening of a new location in Odessa, at 13372 Pine Gap Spur. The new fowl outpost features a double drive-thru and large outdoor covered patio. Guests can expect grilled, hand-breaded or sauced chicken tenders, salads, sandwiches, crinkle fries and wraps. The spot also features 10 different sauces like Buffalo, lemon pepper and sweet heat. Tampa Bay already has Magoos in Pinellas Park, Auburndale, Spring Hill, but this new location is part of a rapid expansion plan, with 10-20 new Florida locations in the works, according to the press release. 13372 Pine Gap Spur, Odessa.—Tyana Rodgers

Coming Soon

Lara Seasoned Tampa chef Suzanne Lara, who was widely known as Suzanne Crouch before getting married recently, announced the opening of her upcoming bar, kitchen, and artisan marketplace this week. The multifaceted concept deemed “Lara,” an ode to her newly-acquired last name, is set to open sometime in 2024. Lara will offer three unique experiences—a bar, a bazaar full of locally-grown produce, artisan goods and hard-to-find ingredients and supplies for chefs, and an intimate kitchen which Suzanne describes as a “supporting member.” “The focal point of this concept will be the bar—but our whole approach is that we want folks to be stimulated in some way that’s not just intoxication,” Suzanne says. "It will provide an exciting and inclusive place for social drinking anew." Although a building for this exciting culinary and hospitality concept has yet to be secured, Suzanne tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Tampa Heights is the ideal neighborhood due to its centralized location.

The Dan One of downtown Tampa’s most notable historic landmarks will soon unveil its newest (and swankiest) addition. The historic Floridan Palace Hotel plans to open its new restaurant The Dan on Saturday, May 20, according to its newly-formed social media pages. The Dan will replace the hotel's former signature restaurant Sapphire Lounge, an old-school eatery that is known for its classic cocktails and upscale American eats. Inspired by the Roaring Twenties with a New Orleans-style approach to cuisine, The Dan will be a “modern take on old-school speakeasies." Although there’s no menu listed on its website just yet, photos depict raw oysters, fresh seafood dishes, beignets and fancy cotton candy. The Dan’s website also promises live jazz music and entertainment.The Floridian Palace’s new restaurant is just a small facet of the hotel’s $25 million dollar renovations. 905 N Florida Ave., Tampa.


12th annual Cuban Sandwich Festival If you're looking for an activity to do Memorial Day weekend (besides day drinking at the beach), then you can head to Ybor City's 12th annual Cuban Sandwich Festival. This food and cultural festival returns to the heart of historic Ybor City on Sunday, May 28 from noon-6 p.m. Once again, Centennial Park hosts this annual, free-to-attend event. In addition to a spread of local vendors slinging their best Cuban sammies, next month's festival will also feature a variety of live music and performances, salsa dance lessons, and other family-friendly activities. The grand finale of 2023's festival will once again be its mission to create the largest Cuban sandwich in the world, where participants will attempt to beat last year's record of 280 feet. 1800 E 8th Ave., Ybor City. The Little Pig’s Alaskan tacos pop-up A Tampa food truck hosts an exclusive Cinco de Mayo pop-up next week, which it describes as an “Ybor nostalgia bomb.” This Little Pig’s "Peepaw's Alaskan Tacos" pop-up happens on Friday, May 5 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at newly-opened brewery Deviant Libations. For recent Tampa Bay transplants, Ybor City was once home to popular restaurant called Mema's Alaskan Tacos, which dished out a range of late-night, greasy eats like beef burritos and alligator tacos from 2004-2011. While Mema's was known for a spread of Mexican eats like tostadas, enchiladas and nachos, This Little Pig will keep it simple and offer a variety of tacos at next week's pop-up. ​​Lynsey Thompson—co-owner of The Little Pig—tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that its pop-up menu will consist of beef, pork, tofu, fish and alligator tacos. Tacos will be offered sets of 3 and there will most likely be a 12 taco limit per customer. 3800 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. This Little Pig on Facebook ICYMI

The Original Crabby Bills 40th Anniversary Weekend A Gulf Coast favorite celebrates four decades at Indian Rocks Beach this weekend. The Original Crabby Bill's hosts a range of activities and specials to honor its 40th year as one of Pinellas County's most prominent seafood restaurants. A few of this weekend’s festivities include a 1980s-themed bar crawl on Friday, April 28, alongside oyster specials, costume contests, drink specials, games and giveaways all weekend-long.Crabby Bill's also hosts a slew of live bands and musicians from Friday-Sunday. “On April 28, 1983, we first opened Crabby Bills—my parents Dolores and Bill have created a family business that’s lasted four decades,” Matt Loder Sr.—Crabby Bills’ second generation owner—recently wrote on Facebook. “Brothers and sisters and many others who became part of our Crabby Bills family have made something special. Today, our Crabby Bills family continues the tradition my parents began so long ago. 401 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach.


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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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