Torchy’s Tacos opens in St. Pete, Rooster & The Till needs a new executive chef, and more Tampa Bay food news

And the inaugural Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival takes place in April.

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Torchy’s Tacos opens in St. Pete, Rooster & The Till needs a new executive chef, and more Tampa Bay food news

Biggby Coffee In yet another sign that the entire Midwest is moving to Tampa Bay, one of the region's favorite coffee shops has opened its first local spot over in Clearwater. Earlier this week, Michigan-based Biggby Coffee opened its first Tampa Bay location at 4000 Ulmerton Road inside what used to be a Mexican restaurant, reports St. Pete Rising. According to the company's site, Biggby's has only one other Florida location in Daytona Beach, and another planned for Jacksonville. For the unfamiliar, the company offers a full array of hot and cold coffee drinks, as well teas, sandwiches, bagels, loose and pre-ground beans, a drive-thru and more. But arguably the flagship at Biggby's is the classic "Caramel Marvel," which is essentially a caramel latte dressed with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle. The new Clearwater location is open every Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 6 7 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4000 Ulmerton Rd., Clearwater.—Colin Wolf

Torchy’s Tacos Austin-based Tex-Mex chain Torchy’s Tacos made its long-awaited debut in St. Petersburg this week. The new taco spot is now open at 2314 Tyrone Blvd. N, adjacent to Pinellas County’s only Portillo's and the Tyrone Square Mall. Its menu is loaded with “damn good tacos,” and offers a variety of proteins to choose from, including grilled chicken, beyond beef, fried shrimp, pork carnitas and beef brisket. Breakfast tacos include straightforward offerings like bacon, egg and cheese or more loaded options like its “Wrangler” taco with eggs, potatoes, beef brisket, cheese and tomatillo sauce. Customers can enjoy their meals in its large dining room, a patio you can drink on or on a few non-wet zoned outdoor seats. According to the Texas-based chain, St. Pete’s Torchy’s is the first of many that will open throughout The Sunshine State soon. Torchy's Tacos is now open in St. Pete from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays. 2314 Tyrone Blvd., St. Petersburg.


The Wine Exchange A South Tampa institution faces an “uncertain future” at its flagship location. According to a press release, the owners of Hyde Park Village, Boston-based WS Development, have decided to not renew the lease of The Wine Exchange, which has been there for 32 years. “It’s hard to imagine not being in our Hyde Park Village home especially because we are the oldest business in the Village and business has never been better”, Dr. Mark Smith—who owns Wine Exchange with Rick Drummond—said in the release. He continues to thank the countless customers who’ve been loyal to his bar and restaurant over the years, stressing that he's “making every effort to keep our extraordinary staff together and find a new location in South Tampa to continue the legacy of The Wine Exchange.” Wine Exchange's last day at Hyde Park Village will be Friday, March 31. A Tampa Bay Times article from this week states that the owners of Hyde Park Village have plans to replace Wine Exchange with an undisclosed retail store. 1609 W Snow Ave., Tampa.

Coming Soon

Coasis Restaurant & Bar
Chef Melissa “Melly” Gardner’s first brick and mortar will soon open out of the former London Heights British Pub in Seminole Heights, but it’s been rendered unrecognizable by renovations and brightly-colored decor. The new bar, restaurant and late night hotspot will host an exclusive Valentine's night dinner on Feb. 14, and a grand opening party on Saturday, Feb. 25. And although Gardner has a sizable foodie following from Tampa Bay and beyond, Coasis is a joint venture with her girlfriend, business partner and beauty entrepreneur Brandi Gergle. Known for her international wig business B Blaze Hair Boutique, Gergle is the mind behind Coasis’ sleek decor, while Gardner helms its kitchen alongside Executive Chef Kendall Ivy. When Coasis celebrates its grand opening, customers can expect extravagant weekend brunch fare paired with a modern steakhouse menu. Appetizers include chargrilled oysters and ceviche with mango puree, while entrees range from filets and massive tomahawk steaks to surf and turf, whole snapper, and freshly made pastas. 7701 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. @coasistampa on Instagram


Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival The multi-day Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival runs from Wednesday-Saturday, April 12-15 and features a wide variety of sampling events and activities— from culinary competitions and demonstrations to wine tastings and exclusive dinners. The festival kicks off with an invite-only event called “An Evening at The Tampa Club” and continues the next day throughout Hyde Park, where folks can enjoy a variety of specialty pre-fixe dinners from restaurants like Meat Market, Forbici, Sur la Table and Timpano. Perhaps the most exciting facet of the inaugural festival is its "Chef Throwdown" competition on Friday, April 14 where over a dozen of Tampa Bay’s best chefs battle it out in front of a live audience. Attendees can sample their dishes, cast votes and live their best “Chopped” fantasy. The very first Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival ends on a high note with its Grand Tasting event on April 15. This grand finale features craft cocktails, wine and unlimited samples from dozens of Tampa Bay’s hottest restaurants.
Event Details

Tampa Bay Wine and Food Festival

Wed., April 12, 7 p.m., Thu., April 13, 7 p.m., Fri., April 14, 7-11 p.m. and Sat., April 15, 1-6 p.m.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park 600 N Ashley Dr., Tampa Tampa

Bad Mother's inagural throwdown It's somewhat of a right of passage in the coffee world to host your first latte art competition, and downtown St. Pete's newly-opened cafe Bad Mother is gearing up for its first large scale event. The coffee shop, located on the first floor of Station House, will host an educational coffee talk with a panel full of industry folks on Friday, Feb. 11 and a  latte art battle between 32 Tampa Bay baristas on Saturday, Feb. 12. Bumping music from a DJ, local food vendors and drink specials will keep this throwdown party going,  while one lucky barista will take home a cash prize, merch, brewing equipment, a Black Rabbit coffee grinder and more.  Next weekend  marks the Central Florida Coffee Circuit's first stop in its statewide tour, and will also host a similar event at Tampa's Provisions Coffee on March 11.

Executive Chef Brian Lampe stepping down from Seminole Heights' Rooster & The Till This week, Seminole Heights restaurant Rooster & The Till announced that it’s looking for a new executive chef. A post from its Instagram says that the Seminole Heights restaurant offers a four-day, in-house workweek, relocation assistance for out-of-town chefs, access to a wellness program, and profit share opportunities. After years of working in Rooster & The Till’s award-winning kitchen, Chef Brian Lampe “is retiring out of the kitchen,” according to the restaurant. In a phone call with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, 45 year-old Lampe says that the decision to hang up his apron was a long time coming. Factors like stress, money, health and most importantly, wanting to spend more time with his wife and daughter, led him to step away from the kitchen for the first time in 25 years. Lampe will helm the kitchen at Rooster & The Till until March 4, before making the transition into his corporate position as a Tampa Bay sales representative for Gourmet Foods International.

Tampa Bay’s 7venth Sun Brewery releases new 'Pink Tax' seltzers In an effort to bring attention to what’s known as the “Pink Tax,” Tampa’s 7venth Sun Brewery will release a new seltzer that will cost just a little bit more depending on which package you choose. According to the woman-owned brewery, the “Blue and Pink Tax” seltzers are identical in flavor but differ only in color. Inspired by the "Pain Killer" cocktail, the drinks are made with pineapple and orange puree, nutmeg, cream of coconut, and rum flavoring. The Pink Tax, refers to the discriminatory practice of charging higher prices for similar goods that are typically marketed to women. Deodorant, for example, can be up to 12% more expensive for women than for men, despite being the same product. To help the cause, 7venth Sun Brewery is pricing The Blue Tax seltzer higher than the Pink Tax seltzer, and 100% of the additional cost, as well as proceeds from both seltzers will be donated to the Pink Boots Society, which "aims to assist, inspire and encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry to advance their careers through education."— Tyana Rodgers

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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