New halal spot comes to Temple Terrace, Bad Mother cafe debuts in St. Pete, and more in Tampa Bay foodie news

Plus, the Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest returns.

click to enlarge New halal spot comes to Temple Terrace, Bad Mother cafe debuts in St. Pete, and more in Tampa Bay foodie news
c/o Bad Mother

Bad Mother
Located inside of downtown St. Pete’s Station House, a multifaceted co-work building, Bad Mother celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 6. The coffee bar is now open out of the first floor location that speciality tea spot Tebella recently occupied, and offers a variety of seating amongst Station House’s different co-work spaces and private offices. Every six weeks, the multi-roaster cafe will showcase a different roaster behind its bar—as it currently features beans from Pinellas Park-based Eastlick Coffee Co. Guests can order a variety of espresso-based drinks like lattes, americanos and cortados alongside drip coffee, iced coffee and teas like Thai iced tea, matcha and oolong chai. Sweet treats and other small plates available at Bad Mother are provided by The Burg’s resident bagel slinger, Pete’s General. In addition to local brews, Bad Mother also offers a curated pour over menu that features five speciality coffees from around the world. Downtown St. Pete’s newest coffee shop is now open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. 260 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg. @badmother_stpete on Instagram

Abu Omar Halal Seems like the rest of Tampa Bay is finally catching on to Temple Terrace’s growing food scene. Known for its shawarma, kabobs, and falafel, Abu Omar Halal is setting its sights on the Sunshine State. The first food truck opened in 2011 in Houston and has grown to over 20 other locations across Texas and California. Although the restaurant is currently in its soft opening phase, a grand opening is planned for Saturday, Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. During that time, guests will receive 25% off the signature chicken sandwiches and arabi shawarmas and complimentary kunafeh— a traditional Middle Eastern dessert—while supplies last. The first 50 people in line receive one free meal and everyone who attends the grand opening will be entered into a drawing for several prizes. The extensive menu includes a variety of sandwiches and shawarmas, rice and salad bowls, desserts and more. Online ordering is also an option for those in a hurry. 12208 N 56th St., Temple Terrace. — Alexandria Jones


Dunn Bakery The vegan small-batch bakery might have closed its Clearwater storefront at 2340 FL-580 this past week, but luckily its customers don't have much to worry about, as Dunn Bakery has moved its operation to online. Known for its gluten-free brownies and made-to-order cakes, customers can now head to to place their orders. Folks can now get Dunn Baked's decadent vegan brownies, cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls and s'mores bars—in addition to its gluten-free items like lemon sugar cookies and orange creamsicle cupcakes—delivered directly to their door step.  Besides at its now-closed brick and mortar, Dunn Bakery’s sweet treats were often sold in other local vegan eateries, such as Dunedin Vegan Deli.  According to Dunn Baked's Facebook, it's suggested to place your order by Thursday night for a timely weekend delivery.

Tony’s Ybor Restaurant Friday, September 2 will mark Tony’s Ybor Restaurant's last day open, ending its three generation-long run in historic Ybor City. Paul Guzzo broke the news of the Ybor City eatery’s closure earlier this week, when its third-generation owner Larry Scaglione told the Tampa Bay Times that it's simply just the right time to close his restaurant. Although the brick and mortar will close next month, 60 year-old Scaglione will continue dishing out his hearty Italian meals through his catering business. The quaint black and beige Ybor restaurant has been dishing out stacked plates of pasta and Cuban sandwiches for the greater part of a century. The cafeteria-style restaurant boasts a unique fusion of Italian, Spanish and American cuisine, aiming to bring the “Italian traditions of the old country right to the people of Tampa Bay.” According to the restaurant’s website, the eatery has feen family owned and operated since 1929. Large portraits of its previous owners—Tony Scaglione and his father Nunzio Scaglione—still grace the walls of the historic restaurant. 2001 N 22nd St., Ybor City.

Punky’s Bar and Grill After seven years in downtown St. Petersburg’s booming Grand Central District, Punky’s Bar and Grill has suddenly closed. It's last day in operation was Wednesday, Aug. 3. In a farewell letter posted on Punky’s Facebook, owners Lynn Deibert and John Burt honored the legacy of their queer haven. “We have become a place of safety for the LGBTQ+ community, a melting pot for people from ALL walks of life…and their pets! We have celebrated victories, survived struggles, mourned losses and came together to help each other and the community,” the post reads. The statement also emphasizes that Punky’s has raised over $150,000 for various local charities throughout the years. Its owners are also helping their employees find new jobs in wake of the restaurant’s sudden closure, in addition to distributing the kitchen’s remaining food amongst the former staff. Only time will tell what new business will occupy the former Punky’s space. 3063 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.


Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest
Back for its 11th year, Morean Art Center embarks on an arduous journey to find the best cupcake in all of The Burg’, when its annual Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest returns on Saturday, Aug. 27. First and second place winners from each category—including novice, professional, speciality (which include vegan and gluten-free), youth/teen and “people’s choice”—receive awards. Cupcakes will be judged by their frosting, flavor, texture, presentation and creativity. And if you’re just interested in the eating part, both general and early admission tickets are available at and range from $10-$25. Early admission gets you into the event an hour earlier, but both ticketing tiers have the option to take a 12-pack or 24-pack of to-go cupcakes home. Folks looking to compete can fill out the contestant entry form, pay the $10 sign up fee, and mentally prepare themselves to bake at least 200 mini cupcakes for the event's attendees to taste. 420 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg.
Rhythm & Brews by the Bay
After a two-year hiatus and a slight name change, The Florida Aquarium finally brings back one of Tampa's best parties, as 90s alt-rockers Gin Blossoms headline next month’s installation. Rhythm & Brews by the Bay— a concert experience with unlimited beer tastings—returns to downtown Tampa on Friday, Sept. 16. There are both $125 general admission tickets and $175 VIP tickets for sale at Both ticket tiers come with unlimited local beer samples, a complimentary beer stein, access to the live music, scenic views of Hillsborough Bay and all of the aquarium's critters—but the VIP tickets grant guests early access, in addition to a complimentary bar and dedicated concert viewing area. Gin Blossoms is no stranger to the Tampa Bay area, as the five-piece band brought its notable songs like “Hey Jealousy” and “Til I Hear it From You” to St. Petersburg’s Palladium Theater just last fall. ​​701 Channelside Dr., Tampa.


Tampa Chick-fil-A owner fined for violating child labor laws A local Chick-fil-A is facing a steep penalty after authorities discovered middle school-aged employees were being overworked. On Aug. 2, a Tampa Chick-fil-A franchise, located at 2551 N Dale Mabry Hwy., was fined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for violating child labor laws. Investigators found that between Labor Day and June 1, the fast-food restaurant, which is owned by Brito Enterprises of Tampa Inc., allowed 17 workers, ages 14 and 15, to work past 7 p.m. or more than three hours during a school day. As a result of violating child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the owner of the franchise was fined $12,478 in civil money penalties. —Max Steele

Dave Sunday explains why he closed his popular Ybor City deli In its 11th year of operation, Sunday’s Delicatessen took to social media two weeks ago to announce the imminent closure of the popular Ybor City eatery. Sunday and his wife Gina, who could be typically found working the register, came back from vacation on June 19, and realized that their endless days at the deli were exhausting them.“ About a month ago we went on a cruise and took our first vacation in seven years. We just looked at each other and said “what the hell are we doing?,” 50-something year-old Sunday tells Creative Loafing. He says the first eight years of Sunday’s Delicatessen flew by, but the last two have felt like a decade. Despite not being able to reveal any details of the sale, we can soon expect a new concept to open out of the historic Ybor City space, located in between 7th + Grove and Chill Bros Scoop Shop. Its new owners also purchased all of the equipment inside of the deli, so it’s safe to assume that another food-forward business will soon open out of the former Sunday’s space. 1930 E 7th Ave., Tampa.

World of Beer could help feed the manatees Tampa Bay is now home to a partnership celebrating cornerstones of Florida living: drinking beer and saving the manatees. Tampa-born World of Beer has partnered with the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida in efforts to restore manatee habitats along the Indian River Lagoon with a new IPA. For every Secret Llama Oh the Humanatee! Imperial Hazy IPA purchased at select WOB locations, $1 will go directly toward planting seagrass at 10 key locations along the lagoon and manatee feeding ground. The partnership started amid the nonprofit Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s efforts in combating the state’s manatee crisis. Manatee habitat and food sources have been in decline for years, Michelle Ashton, director of communications for the foundation, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Algal blooms across Florida’s water sources and other contributing factors, including stormwater and nitrogen runoff pollution are the main causes. “The partnership with World of Beer is really about finding that long term solution and that really is habitat restoration,” Ashton told CL.— Chloe Greenberg


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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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