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Photo via ologybrewingco/Facebook
Ology Brewing Co.
The farm-fresh eatery will celebrate the grand opening of its Water Street location on Saturday, Feb. 26 by giving out free tote bags filled with locally-grown vegetables to the first 200 diners. Naked Farmer is located in Water Street’s Raybon Plaza—right next to the USF College of Medicine building and the recently-closed (and wildly popular) art exhibition Tampa Fresh Foods. Driven by its main goal of serving local and seasonal ingredients, Naked Farmer provides a ton of information about its mission, ethos, and methodology on its website where it says that “chefs know the farmers by their first name,” as the restaurant has created its own direct supply chain with farms in Florida and beyond. 1001 Water St., Tampa. eatnakedfarmer.com
Nestled between Kobé Japanese Steakhouse, Crafty Crab and dessert cafe Wonder Waffel, Tampa's new pretzel boss serves soft twist pretzels and universally-loved pretzel glizzies, plus unique creations like its cheesy jalapeno pretzel nugget platter and Pretzelhaus’ own rendition of a Cuban sandwich.Other mouthwatering options include the giant one-pound pretzel, as well as a variety of stuffed pretzels with savory flavors like roast beef, Buffalo chicken, cheesy pepperoni, and bacon cheeseburger alongside sweet options like chocolate, cinnamon sugar, and apple pie-stuffed handheld pretzels. 4351 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa. @thepretzelhausfl on Instagram
Ology Brewing Co.
Last year, Florida Beer News reported that Tallahassee's Ology Brewing will move into Angry Chair Brewing’s current location at the corner of E Fern Street and N Florida Avenue. The five-year-old brewery’s first location outside of Tallahassee is set to debut sometime this year, with no official timeline in place. Ology’s founder and head brewer Nick Walker tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that he and his team are excited to expand into Tampa and continue their strong relationships with breweries here. And since Angry Chair is still waiting on equipment to move into its new location—which is Brew Bus’ former space, Ology is playing the waiting game until Angry Chair leaves its current building. According to Walker, he and his team won't change the Angry Chair space much, besides adding a few more barrels. 4101 N Florida Ave., Tampa. ologybrewing.com
Kingsford Fire Grille
Despite the brand playing a key role in your afternoon barbecue, Kingsford's charcoal-themed restaurant in Tampa has apparently flamed out. Charcoal company Kingsford closed its Westshore Plaza eatery Kingsford Fire Grille, a one-of-a-kind licensing agreement made with hospitality proprietor Mike DeMaio, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The general manager of the plaza gave a statement to TBBJ announcing the closure, but an official date of when it occurred has not been confirmed. 204 Westshore Plaza, Tampa. kingsfordfiregrille.com
A Plant City couple had a Checkers & Rally's-themed wedding last weekend
From a meet-cute at a mutual friend's wedding to a chicken tender bouquet, a Plant City couple has a bond that's as strong as their love for Checkers & Rally's. According to a press release from the Tampa-based fast food chain, Victoria and Arley Smude tied the knot last weekend, alongside a 43-foot chicken tender and fry-trailer. The two got the idea to include Checkers & Rally's from their proposal, which included Victoria using five Checkers' Fry Burgers, and Arley biting a symbolic "yes" into them. With a chicken tender bouquet in hand, Victoria says she felt "like a Checkers princess" on her special day.
Florida residents will be among first in nation subjugated by hard Mountain Dew
On Feb. 22, parent company PepsiCo announced that its latest concoction Hard MTN Dew, is now available in Florida, Tennessee and Iowa. The state that arguably most deserves an alcoholic version of Mountain Dew more than anywhere else on the planet, will thankfully be one of the first to taste it. The company did not disclose exactly what locations in Florida will carry the beverage, but surely you'll have opportunities to do the Dew as hard as possible any day now. The new 100-calorie, spiked seltzer contains 5% alcohol by volume, and comes in four flavors, like the original MTN DEW, Baja Blast, black cherry and watermelon, available in either in 24-ounce single-serve cans or 12-packs of 12-ounce cans.
Florida Strawberry Festival releases new food lineup
Some folks go to the Florida Strawberry Festival for the live music and attractions, while others make the drive to Plant City for some of the best fair food in Tampa Bay. The organizers of 2022’s Strawberry Festival just released the food lineup for this year’s celebration, and it’s chock full of strawberry-forward bites, vegan and vegetarian options, and greasy, good-for-the soul dishes. March 3-13. 303 BerryFest Place, Plant City. flstrawberryfestival.com
James Beard Awards snub Tampa Bay
Semifinalists for the James Beard Award were announced on Wednesday—and for the first time since 2020, Tampa Bay is nowhere to be seen. The Bay has experienced a nomination drought since Edison Food+Drink Lab's Jeannie Pierola and The Library's Rachel Bennett were among semifinalists in 2019. The Bay area hasn't nabbed a Beard award proper since Bern’s Steak House won Outstanding Wine Program in 2016. One of the most prestigious culinary awards in the nation, the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards recognizes chefs and restaurants in other categories such as Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Chef and Best New Restaurant.
Reach St. Pete launches new mobile food pantry out of an old PSTA bus
There are dozens of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority ( PSTA ) buses transporting residents throughout Pinellas County, but Reach St. Pete’s roughly 30-foot bus is providing another crucial service to low income folks, starting this week. The nonprofit organization will launch its mobile food pantry out of a refurbished PTSA bus this Thursday, beginning its mission of delivering free food distribution throughout St. Petersburg and beyond. The bus—which was donated from PSTA last year—will distribute food at five locations every second and fourth Thursday of the month, from noon-6 p.m. reachstpete.org
The 4th annual Tampa Taco Fest returns to Al Lopez park this weekend
Less than a calendar year after 2021's festival, this annual celebration of all things taco returns. Alongside the expected al pastor, carne asada, quesabirria and chicken tacos will be select vegan and vegetarian options— like the featured grilled portobello mushroom taco. Besides tacos, Mexican fare like elote, aguas frescas, churros and horchata will also available for purchase. Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $5. Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave., Tampa. @tampatacofest on Facebook