St. Pete’s new laundromat speakeasy, Tampa has a Hoots and more local foodie news

The Nashville hot chicken wars are on, too.

click to enlarge St. Pete’s new laundromat speakeasy, Tampa has a Hoots and more local foodie news


Dirty Laundry Stephen Schrutt, owner of Hunger & Thirst Restaurant Group—the same folks behind downtown St. Pete heavy hitters The Avenue, No Vacancy, Park & Rec and Tropicana Field’s BallPark & Rec—has opened a new cafe and speakeasy bay with a kitschy pseudo-laundromat exterior. To get in, pay a visit to the inconspicuous pay phone under the neon “Talk Dirty to Me” sign inside of the laundromat, receive the numerical password, and then punch those numbers on the pay phone keypad. A quick push on a washing machine leads you into St. Pete’s newest speakeasy concept. 1742 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. @dirtylaundrystpete on Instagram

Gallery Chophouse Within the now-closed JC Noodle House, owners of this chophouse have non-steak items (a bacon-stuffed chicken breast, planked salmon, or pork tenderloin) to go along with all kinds of meat, plus the infamous $189 24-karat gold-crusted Tomahawk steak. 14803 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa. @gallerychophouse on Facebook

Hoots The new 1,650 square-foot wing joint from the folks behind Hooters is in the Mission Bell Plaza, and is only the fifth Hoots location to exist, and the second Hoots to open in Tampa Bay. Last year, Florida’s first Hoots opened in St. Petersburg. Hoots describes itself as “a little bit Hooters, a little bit its own thing,” which basically means there’s a similar menu as its older, pantyhose-based brother, but the staff, (including men) sport khakis and orange shirts.12817 North Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa.

Red Ribbon The Pinellas Park Red Ribbon location is the Filipino franchise’s 34th store in the U.S., featuring “shareable” cakes including the deep purple ube overload cake (pictured above, ube is a naturally-purple yam) and the mango supreme cake made with Filipino mango. For “snackable” treats, the bakery has a variety of options of sweet and savory pastries like chicken empanadas and a “cheesy mamon” butter sponge cake topped with cheese. 4053 Park Boulevard N, Pinellas Park.

Tostones Inc The food truck announced the new permanent digs this month, and it would appear there’s plenty of outdoor seating, TV screens, and, of course, classic tostones, empanadas, crazy fries, nachos and sliders. 4236 W Waters Ave., Tampa.

Coming soon

Boulon Brasserie Next Level Brands’ ​​French bistro-style restaurant will serve Water Street breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a three-in-one space: restaurant, bar, and cafe. ICYMI, last year, Jeff Gigante—formerly of Ciccio Restaurant Group and co-founder of Hyde Park Village’s Forbici Modern Italian restaurant—created Next Level Brands with real estate exec Andrew Wright and Gigante Hospitality co-CEO Joseph Guggino. The company’s first project announced this year, Union New American, is set to open any day now in the Westshore district.1001 Water St., Tampa.

Chill Bros. Scoop Shop Boasting artisan flavors and locally-sourced ingredients, Chill Bros.—opening its third location in Tampa at the Epicurean Hotel on Dec. 3—is known for signature ice creams like its cafe con leche chunk, guava pastelito and Tampa banana. Its current fall seasonal flavors include apple pie, oatmeal cookie and fluffer pumpkin (spiced pumpkin ice cream with crispy brown sugar streusel and cinnamon marshmallow fluff), so get them before they phase out.1207 S Howard Ave., Tampa.

The Crane This steak and seafood restaurant will opens out of the old Wig Villa space  by January 2022. Alongside fresh seafood and steak options, The Crane will also have a wide selection of craft cocktails to match its upscale, elegant decor. According to I Love the Burg, like its newly-opened sister concept Mangosteen—located at 656 Central Ave.—The Crane will push cuisine that’s Asian-influenced. 575 Central Ave, St. Petersburg. @thecrane_stpete on Instagram

Dave's Hot Chicken And there won’t be just one—but eight—eventual Dave’s Hot Chicken locations serving Tampa Bay. Owners of the California chain said they are eying Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties for their first locations, which could open starting as early as next year.

King of the Coop This new location—Pinellas’ first KOTC hot chicken hub—will open in late November or early December, out of the space that formerly housed Westshore Pizza in the Tyrone shopping plaza. 6928 22nd Ave N, St. Petersburg.

Portillo’s Chicagoland favorite Portillo’s is opening its third Tampa Bay location, complete with drive-thru, near Tyrone Square Mall. The Chicago-style weiner and steak sandwich slinging, fast casual concept already has locations in Tampa and Brandon, but this is the restaurant's first foray into the ‘Burg. 2300 Tyrone Blvd., St. Petersburg.

Sterling Cigar Lounge & Bar The infill concept will be sandwiched between 7-Eleven and Ink Spot tattoo parlor in Ybor City. Permit-obsessed development website Tampa Tomorrow. The 2,444 square-foot ground floor will be leased to an undetermined restaurant, according to TT, while the second and third floors—which have identical blueprints—will house the 8 short-term Airbnb suites. Although we don’t know much about the cigar lounge yet, the rooftop bar will definitely have 7th Ave.-facing seating to fulfill all of your Ybor people-watching needs.

Mochinut The hybrid dessert franchise already has over 20 nationwide locations, and it's bringing its sticky donuts to Temple Terrace in 2022. If you’re not familiar with this latest dessert trend, a mochinut combines the Japanese rice cake mochi, with a traditional American donut, creating an ultra-chewy, pull apart dessert unlike anything else. Mochinut will also have Korean rice-flour hot dogs (aka corn dogs) and boba on its menu.11401 N 56th St., Temple Terrace. @mochinut_tampa on Instagram


Florida is expected to pay at least $150,000 for Michelin restaurant stars Visit Florida spokeswoman Leslie Pearsall called it “a great opportunity to elevate Florida’s culinary scene and bring a positive economic impact to the state,” but the Miami Herald—which said the figure could be 10 times higher than the $150K first made public— is not being given access to the exact amount despite the money coming from taxpayers. 

You can once again dine at Safety Harbor icon Pizzeria Gregario As CL pointed out last October, for the last year Pizzeria Gregario owner Greg Seymour has been baking bread and offering takeout to customers to get by during the pandemic. But now Safety Harbor’s artisanal pizza restaurant will let you eat your takeout on the outdoor patio. And yes, you can still get Gregario’s famous “garlic schmoo.”400 2nd St N, Safety Harbor. @pizzeriagregario on Facebook

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About The Authors

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.

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...

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Euclid Media Group.
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