Pete’s opens in Ybor City, Davis Islands’ Bayou Bodega closes, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

And we have a full roundup of Tampa Bay Beer Week 2023 events.

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Pete’s opens in Ybor City, Davis Islands’ Bayou Bodega closes, and more Tampa Bay foodie news
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Tru Vegan Creamery
Located on the outskirts of Ybor City lies Tampa Bay’s newest plant-based business. Tru Vegan Creamery—located at 1499 N Nebraska Ave.—opened its doors for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 26. Currently, its ice cream menu includes flavors like vanilla, double chocolate, strawberry, key lime, chocolate iced cookies and vanilla birthday cake. Milkshake options mostly mirror its ice cream offerings, with the addition of comforting favorites like chocolate and avocado and peanut butter and chocolate. Guests can also indulge in its slushies loaded with refreshing flavors like watermelon, lime, mint, orange, pineapple and strawberry. A press release states that Tru Vegan Creamery’s grand opening “marks the beginning of a historical journey for Black women and the resurgence of the historic Park Plaza.” 1499 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa.

Sea Grapes Eatery and Wine Lounge One of St. Pete Beach’s most beloved wine lounges is getting a culinary facelift with the help of a celebrated local chef. Sea Grapes previously boasted a menu of “light fare" to complement its extensive wine list, but will soon transform into a full service restaurant under the guidance of Chef Alex Rodriguez. Sea Grapes Eatery and Wine Lounge is slated to debut on Thursday, March 9, with a full appetizer, entree, dessert and cocktail menu, according to its social media. It will remain closed ahead of its grand reopening next week. Chef Rodriguez is known for his creative Latin-influenced food, timelessly showcased at Lolita’s Wine Market and St. Pete cafe Sammy + Paco's, two local concepts he co-owns with his wife Kelly Rodriguez-Laureano. ILovetheBurg says that its upcoming menu will be full of hearty, wine-friendly eats like Cuban-style pork belly, crab cake croquettes, and beef short-rib with shishito peppers, mole and chimichurri. 6390 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.

Pete’s Pete’s Ybor planned for a spring opening, and it’s one of the few Bay area concepts that’s actually on track. Steven Peterman—Owner and Chief Bagel Officer at Pete's General and Pete's Bagels in St. Petersburg—told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that after this weekend, his shop will be ready to fully lean into its soft opening. Located at 1804 E 4th Ave. right next to the Friends of Ybor Dog Park, Pete’s Ybor plans to have its full menu ready by March 15. The offerings include five all-day bagel menu items that someone might find at Pete’s St. Pete locations, but more Tampa-only cafe-style choices like breakfast, yogurts and granola, all available in Pinellas, but in more of a grab-and-go format. “All the stuff in Ybor is going to be made to order,” Peterman said. For now, hours at Pete’s Ybor during soft opening will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. By March 15, the shop hopes to be running its full 8 a.m.-8 p.m. hours, seven days a week. 1804 E 4th Ave., Ybor City.—Ray Roa


Bayou Bodega In 2021, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay named Davis Island's Bayou Bodega as one of "Tampa Bay's 50 best restaurants," highlighting its unique fusion fare and delectable selection of natty wines. Last week, the Creole, Latin and French restaurant took to its social media to announce its imminent closure. "Our efforts to make Bayou Bodega a successful mainstay on Davis Island are coming to a close," its Facebook post reads. "We will be officially closing our doors very soon, and it appears as though this Saturday may be our last evening of service.” Although the South Tampa eatery and wine bar—located at 241 E Davis Blvd.—didn't name any issues that have directly influenced its closure, its owners allude to the restaurant just not being profitable enough to remain open. At the end of its social media post, Bayou Bodega's owners referenced the "unexpected lack of support we faced on Davis Island." 241 E Davis Blvd., Tampa.

Coming Soon

Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
Florida Avenue Brewing Co., which also owns Brew Bus Brewing, is finally making its return to Seminole Heights for the first time in almost two years. Although the new Florida Avenue taproom won’t be open quite in time for this year’s rendition of Tampa Bay Beer Week, patrons can still expect a soft opening in March. Although there’s no opening date locked in, the new taproom and brewery is near completion. When open, the 3,000 square-foot space will boast a five-barrel brewing system (with the intention to add more), 16 taps filled with core products and seasonal pours, a large shaded patio, and most of its original staff behind the bar. The new Seminole Heights brewery will share food and drink offerings with its 38,000-square-foot sibling location in Wesley Chapel. Its 20 foot-long, on-site food trailer plans to dish out the same beer-friendly eats like Bavarian pretzels, chicken wings  and cheesesteaks, but the two location’s tap lists might differ from time to time. 4315 N Florida Ave., Tampa.

House of Vegano 2.0 St. Pete’s Grand Central District is getting a new tenant, and it already has a cult-like following in Tampa Bay. House of Vegano's new 2,300 square-foot restaurant is slated to open by the end of 2023, according to owner and head chef Thalia Tatham. "Expanding to Central Avenue has always been the plan, but the universe said 'no' last year," Tatham says with a laugh. "Our first location has been a great spring board for us and has given us the opportunity to build a good reputation with our customers." While its menu will eventually expand with the larger location, top-selling sushi offerings like the Volcano Roll—complete with lion's mane and king oyster mushrooms, cucumbers, avocado and veganized spicy krab—will certainly be on the menu at House of Vegano 2.0. Her upcoming Central Avenue restaurant will boast a more upscale feel with muted earth tones instead of the existing location's brightly-colored decor. Tatham will also triple the size of her team, looking to hire 10-15 more employees compared to the 3 working at her current space. 1990 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Tyrone Square Mall’s Aldi St. Petersburg already has two Aldi grocery stores, but plans are now in the works for one more to open at Tyrone Square Mall. The popular Germany-based discount grocery chain will be located in the space between Dick’s Sporting Goods and PetSmart, according to a site plan from Seritage Growth Properties. As of now there has not been an opening date released. Aldi is recognized globally with more than 11,000 stores worldwide. The store offers high-quality goods at a lower price than their competitors. The rapid expansion has made Aldi the third-largest grocery chain in the nation according to a report by JIL. There are currently two other Aldi St. Petersburg locations, one at 1551 34th Street N., and another at 2900 34th Street S. 6901 22nd Ave N, St. Petersburg.—Tyana Rodgers


20 Tampa Bay Beer Week events, parties, and special releases
Tampa Bay Beer Week 2023 runs from March 3-12, and this year’s festivities will definitely tantalize the local beer lover. From large-scale events like the 14th Annual Brewer's Ball to exclusive releases like Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout drop—craft breweries from every corner of the Bay are celebrating their all-time favorite beers. From out-of-town tap takeovers, educational programs and unique beer launches, here are almost two dozen parties, events and exclusive releases to help celebrate the return of Tampa Bay Beer Week. Some of our recommended events include Arkane in the Membrane, Dark Embrace Invitational and the Hop King Invitational.

Busch Gardens’ Food & Wine festival While its Mardi Gras programming wraps up, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay gets ready to host the 2023 installation of its annual Food & Wine Festival, (although you'll have to make sure you don't throw up your dinner while riding its newly-opened Serengeti Flyer coaster.) From exclusive beer and wine pairings to Moroccan and Asian-inspired dishes, folks with all different palates will surely find something to enjoy at the Food & Wine Festival's park-wide spread of eats. You can snack on stuffed grape leaves and lamb lollipops at the Greek Isles, tuna poke at the newly-opened Springs Taproom or its Surf & Turf—complete with oven-roasted beef and butter-poached lobster—right next to Busch Gardens' live music stage. A variety of wine, beer, craft cocktails and liquor tastings will also be available for purchase throughout the festival grounds. 10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa.

Food From the Soul A brand new food festival is headed to downtown Tampa next month, and the mission and ethos behind it is as inspiring as the cuisine itself. Taking place at Tampa's Perry Harvey Sr. Park, the inaugural Food From the Soul festival happens on Saturday, March 25 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. According to its website, Food From the Soul is "a food festival and competition for Black and Indigenous people of color. The competition will be between African, African American, Asian, Caribbean, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American food." In addition to slinging their ethnicity's eats to festival goers, each food vendor will also enter an over-arching, yet friendly, competition to see which cuisine ranks supreme.  General admission tickets can be purchased from the festival's website and cost $25 each. VIP tickets run for $125 but gives guests access to private VIP areas in addition to two free drinks, festival swag, exclusive food samples and wine pairings. 1000 E Harrison St, Tampa. ICYMI

Bern’s Steak House launches a new reservation policy, no-show fees to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay Bern’s Steak House has always boasted a reputation for some of the hardest-to-get tables in Tampa Bay, but it's been even harder to snag a reservation over the past year or so. Today, Bern’s announced new policies to help manage and secure reservations. Now, all reservations will require a credit card in order to book. Folks that decide to no-show or cancel their reservations less than 24 hours before their dinner will be subjected to a $25 fee that will entirely benefit the local nonprofit Feeding Tampa Bay. “The fee is intended to create a sense of responsibility. A properly canceled reservation allows for an opening in our system for another guest to dine,” said Bern’s owner David Laxer in a press release. And like always, reservations are released on a rolling 60-day booking period and open at 12:00 a.m. sharp every single morning, or you can call 813-251-2421 during regular business hours. 1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa.

About The Author

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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