St. Pete’s Coney Island hopes to ‘reopen soon,’ King of the Coop in South Tampa, plus more local foodie news

Junmai Station is opening in downtown Tampa, too.

click to enlarge Downtown St. Petersburg’s Coney Island Sandwich Shop’s owner says the iconic restaurant hopes to reopen “sometime soon.” - cityofstpete/Flickr
cityofstpete/Flickr
Downtown St. Petersburg’s Coney Island Sandwich Shop’s owner says the iconic restaurant hopes to reopen “sometime soon.”


Despite a Google listing that says “permanently closed,” downtown St. Petersburg’s Coney Island Sandwich Shop’s owner says the iconic restaurant hopes to reopen “sometime soon.” At least that's what 85-year-old Hank Barlas—whose father opened what was then-called Coney Island Grill back in 1926—told the Tampa Bay Times. Barlas closed his restaurant in response to the pandemic and has yet to open back up. He did not have a timeline on the reopening for one of St. Petersburg’s oldest family-owned businesses, but the Times did say there is “a possibility that he might not be able to at all.” 250 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N

Hot chicken favorite King of the Coop will open South Tampa location, appear on Food Network’s ‘Food Paradise’ Tampa-based Nashville hot chicken chain restaurant King of the Coop is expanding with a new takeout-only location in South Tampa. Last week during a taping for Cooking Channel’s “Food Paradise,” Coop founder Joe Dodd told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the 1,000 square-foot location is eying a Sept. 1 opening at 500 S Howard Ave.

Dodd said the location will be open for lunch and dinner, much like other SoHo walk up restaurants, and stay open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Dodd said previously announced King of the Coop locations in Ybor City and Westchase are moving forward.

When the South Tampa location opens it’ll be the third King of the Coop restaurant in the Bay area, including the flagship Seminole Heights location as well as the Wesley Chapel location where Cooking Channel was filming on Wednesday. The cable TV program has been around since 2007 and travels the U.S. to find the country’s “must-see food spots.”

Junmai Station, a new onigiri-focused Japanese restaurant in downtown Tampa, opens this month The newest restaurant concept from the owners of Seminole Heights’ Best of the Bay winning Ebisu Sushi Shack—is set to open on July 16 at street level of downtown Tampa’s Hyatt House. Junmai Station is a “one-of-a-kind Japanese food kiosk” that focuses on Onigiri—aka stuffed rice balls—that are easy to eat on the go but are still satisfying and healthy. The menu, so far, is donburi (rice bowls), salads, and small plates such as spicy edamame and another Japanese street food staple takoyaki—fried balls usually filled with octopus, green onion and ginger.  Both Junmai and Ebisu are owned by Akemi Simmons and her husband Ron. In a prior phone call with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Ron said Akemi, who is from Kobe, Japan, wanted to open a more traditional Japanese concept less focused on sushi. Hours will be Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. 325 N Florida Ave., Tampa.—Stephanie Powers

St. Pete’s Green Bench Brewery is brewing three different beers for Oktoberfest Tampa 2021 No Tampa Bay brewery has ever produced three beers for the festival, co-founder Nicol Winkler told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, but this year, Green Bench Brewing Co. did. The St. Petersburg beer maker’s head brewer, Khris Johnson, has already brewed festbier for a few years, and he recently brewed with Ashleigh Carter and Bill Eye of Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver. Now—exclusively for Tampa Oktoberfest—Green Bench prepared a traditional hefeweizen and dunkel, which will be poured on site along with the festbier. Military members, active or retired, and first responders get in for free when Oktoberfest arrives at downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens in October. Oktoberfest 2021. Friday-Sunday. Oct. 8-10 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens, Tampa. General admission entry starts at $10. oktoberfesttampa.com—Katie Delk

Tyler “Pandapaws” Coy wins Ybor City’s infamous ‘Hot Dog Party’ eating contest Two-time champion Keith Odle was unseated on July 3 when Tyler “Pandapaws” Coy devoured 11 hot dogs in 8 minutes during “Hot Dog Party 15,” the comeback for Ybor City’s infamous eating competition and concert at Crowbar.

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About The Authors

Katie Delk

Katie Delk is a University of Florida junior studying journalism and anthropology. Over the summer, she is a Creative Loafing Tampa Bay intern. Check out her writing for local music and environment news.

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...

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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