Pasco's new Hooters, Korean fried chicken in Seminole Heights and more local foodie news

Nojaks is also closing its downtown Tampa location.

click to enlarge Kimchi fried rice at Gangchu which just opened in Tampa, Florida. - eatgangchu/Facebook
Kimchi fried rice at Gangchu which just opened in Tampa, Florida.

More than three decades—that’s how long Pasco County waited for its second Hooters location. Readers seemed to care about that a lot as the post was Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s most popular last week. That news is part of the latest batch of food updates, which you don’t ever have to wait for when you bookmark

Now open

Bright Ice Fans of St. Pete’s Bright Ice can now make a quick trip over to Pinellas Park for even more of the popular scoops now that its new location opened over the weekend. The ice cream shop comes stocked with 15 flavors to choose from like blueberry with cinnamon (a vegan version is available), lemon with crystallized ginger, and sprinkles and cream. Customers can also choose between several hot drinks and pastries. Expect to spend no more than $8 on a single item. It’s open daily from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Customers can order online for curbside pickup. 5591 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park.

Gangchu The latest concept from the owner of Ichicoro Ramen opened last week in Seminole Heights near 7venth Sun Brewery, which has brewed a K-Hop IPA to pair with Gangchu (“강추” basically means, “it rocks” or “it’s the shit” in Korean) dishes like both boneless and “Gangchu chicken” wings, beef bulgogi wrap and Gangchu cheesesteak sandwiches or kimchi pancakes and fried rice and tteokbokki (aka spice rice cake). A nine-item cocktail list features drunk names inspired by local thoroughfares like, Nebraska, Hanna, Knollwood, Shadowlawn, Minnehaha and more. 6618 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa.

Hooters Hooters opened its second Pasco County location last Tuesday. The new location, in Odessa at State Road 54 and Suncoast Crossings, boasts almost 5,000-sq.-ft. dining room with an additional 800 sq. ft outside, covered seating. It’s been a long time coming for Pasco; the county’s first Hooters opened on the waterfront of Port Richey’s way back in 1988. 16070 SR-54. Odessa.

The Job Site Burgers Grand Central’s new stuffed burger spot inside the old Evil Don Tattoo shop told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that prices on the menu range between $12-18. One of its items is The Crane, which comes stuffed with cheese, sweet plantain, and sautéed onions and topped with guacamole, a sunny side-up egg, bacon strips, homemade crispy onion, and our homemade bbq sauce on toasted ciabatta bread. 2063 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Orange Belt Cafe The family-owned cafe is an option for hungry customers waiting for their car repairs at Bob Lee’s Tire Company. On the menu is fresh coffee, an assortment of pastries, sandwiches, and salads. And since it’s Mardi Gras season, Orange Belt is celebrating with New Orleans staples King cake and muffuletta sandwiches. The menu starts at $1.50 for a croissant to $10 for sandwiches. 1631 4th St. N, St. Petersburg. @ orangebeltcafe on Instagram

Coming soon

Chicken Salad Chick Fast casual restaurant Chicken Salad Chick is opening a new location in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood at the former site of China City. The spot is the 27th Chicken Salad Chick location in Florida. During the opening day celebration set for Tuesday, March 2, the first 100 customers will get free chicken salad once a month for a year. 1221 4th St. N., St. Petersburg.

Fresh Kitchen In March, Tampa-based chain Fresh Kitchen opens its 10th location. Owned by Tampa’s Ciccio Group (CRG), the first Fresh Kitchen location opened in 2014 on S Howard Avenue in South Tampa. The fast-casual restaurant serves the keto-centric public (or vegan or gluten-free) build-your-own bowls with numerous protein, base and veggie options. 8648 Hunters Village Rd., Tampa.

HomeCourt by Tracy McGrady NBA All-Star and former Orlando Magic player Tracy McGrady is set to open his new restaurant concept in Lakeland later this month. The 130-seat, 5,000-square-foot restaurant features a bar topped with "reclaimed basketball court flooring," as well as a patio area and private dining room with a golf simulator. The walls of the spot will be decked out with McGrady and Magic mementos and jerseys, naturally. The menu features a selection of dishes handpicked by McGrady, including Loaded Amber Beer Chili, T-Mac’s PB&J Burger and Tracy’s Cajun Pasta. 3615 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland. @EatAtHomeCourt on Facebook

William Dean Chocolates Soon-to-be-hotspot Midtown Tampa announced artisan chocolate store William Dean Chocolates as the newest vendor at the entertainment destination, which is scheduled to open this year. William Dean Chocolates was founded in 2007 by William Brown. He follows the artisan practice of making small batches by hand. The small chocolates come in an assortment of flavors including Key lime, bananas foster, and Grand Marnier. Customers can grab a box of chocolates (you never know what you’re gonna get), confections, chocolate bars, and popcorn on WDC’s online store. In the meantime, stop by the original location at 2790 W Bay Dr. in Belleair Bluffs. The store is open Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.


Nojaks After only being open since last November, this vegan burger favorite is closing in downtown Tampa, with eyes on rebuilding. The walk-up window restaurant focused on vegan burgers and seasonal vegetables, but offered meat options as well. “We are in the process of resolving that issue and building a team to make it better than it was. Either we will rebuild the space we are in or will relocate,” co-owner Wesley Roderick told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay in an email. 305 E Polk St., Tampa.


Iberian Rooster A staple of the downtown St. Petersburg dining scene is permanently closing next weekend and needs help drinking all the booze. Saturday’s Drag Brunch with Adriana Sparkle is the final event at Iberian Rooster which is also closing its SubCentral basement venue and Avo’s Kitchen concept. 475 N. Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

About The Authors

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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