DeSanto Latin American Bistro (reviewed harshly in these pages a couple months ago) has re-opened with a new menu, new kitchen staff and consulting chef Jeannie Pierola at the helm — at least for the next couple of months. She'll phase herself out of day-to-day operations, but will remain as a consultant for the next year. Early reports from CL staffers peg the menu as much more sophisticated and complex, with food that delivers on that promise. 128 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-895-6400 or desantorestaurant.com.
Normally, the opening of something called the Hyde Park Pita Pit might not make it into the paper. But this breakfast, lunch and dinner joint is open until 4 a.m., making their flatbreads one of South Tampa's only post-last-call alcohol sops. And they deliver. Looks like the burger guy outside MacDinton's will have some late-night competition. 500 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-254-7482.
My pick for CL Sarasota's Best Restaurant of 2006, the Table and Mesa Lounge, has expanded north to Central Ave. in St. Pete. Chef/owners Rafael Manzano and Pedro Flores will be peddling the same incredible Carribbean/Latin/Med fusion that I've grown to love down south, along with a mojito-heavy lounge area. And, since there are two of them, they can split their attention and still keep the quality up. 535 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, 727-823-3700.
Now, the locked doors: In downtown St. Pete, Tedesco's — which I liked last year when it opened — is shuttered, with paper already up on the windows. If anyone knows what happened to Daniel Womack, let me know. Down the street, Redwoods has closed after years of revolving chefs. Novo, on Fourth Street N. in St. Pete, thankfully, closed and beaches Italian joint Mangia locked up for good.