Katie and Shane Perkey, who own Perk's Donut Bar, started customizing hot doughnuts for South Tampanians using fresh dough, cake or gluten-free, two weeks ago.
The shop's "donut robot" shapes, fries and flips doughnut orders as diners watch.
Used to scoring freshly made doughnuts on family vacations in North Carolina, the Perkeys decided to share the tradition through their own fried-dough confectionery at 2109 S. Dale Mabry Highway.
Some of the flavors diners have been crafting, Katie said, include peanut butter and bacon, lemon frosted topped with coconut flakes and chocolate with raspberry drizzle.
"We think that people deserve better doughnuts and better coffee," Perkey said, "And we want to give that to them."
Opening at 6:30 a.m. daily, Perk's carries nine frostings, five toppings and three drizzles for its sweets. The bakery's signature doughnut, which is a salted caramel rendition right now, rotates weekly.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, the shop's official grand opening, Perk's will offer the first 100 customers free doughnuts.
The doughnut bar sources its eggs from Sutter's Egg Farm in Sarasota, and Myakka City's Dakin Dairy Farms provides the milk. Diners may also sip locally loved liquids like TeBella Tea blends and Buddy Brew java.
"That local part is very important to us," Perkey said.
She said she hopes operating until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday will appeal to the after-dinner crowd, and to those leaving evening sports games at the nearby Plant High School.
From backyard grilling to smokin' empire
At 10 a.m. Thursday, a sausage-cutting ceremony will aptly celebrate the launch of Tampa's Holy Hog eatery at 302 E. Kennedy Blvd., the fifth location to open under the moniker.
According to Holy Hog founder Danny Hernandez, after seeing the success of Pipo's Original Cuban Cafe, his family's restaurant that he helped expand, it was time to transform his passion for the 'cue into a business by opening Holy Hog's flagship along Armenia Avenue in 2010.
Inside and out, Hernandez's latest Holy Hog, resting at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Franklin Street, seats about 75 people.
The outdoor bar and dining area allows diners to experience barbecue and craft beer with a view of Lykes Gaslight Square Park, Hernandez said. With eight taps dedicated to local brews, he added that the suds compliment the grub.
"It was a natural fit," Hernandez said.
From 11 to 10 p.m. on opening day, the region's police and fire rescue personnel will receive 15 percent off in observance of the attacks on the World Trade Center. All the proceeds will benefit Friends of Tampa Firefighters and Rise Tampa.
Hernandez said the downtown restaurant's fare reflects what's served at his other sites (those burnt ends aren't goin' anywhere). However, new specialty sandwiches and items like smoked beef sausage also grace its menu. The restaurant partnered with Mike's Pies to offer more desserts, too.
Though another locale in Carrollwood is being finalized, Hernandez said the chain is more concerned with perfecting its offerings.
"We're really focused on being that hometown smokehouse," he said.
Tapping into the craze
"It's a lot of fun," said CD Roma Restaurant chef and owner Bernie Moran of his home-brewing hobby.
An at-home practitioner for less than a year, Moran's been offering his beers on a donation basis at his Italian eatery, housed at 1462 66th St. N., for the past three months. He said the restaurant's brewpub license is pending.
Moran regularly features two of his liquids alongside eight other draft beers, including three or four from area craft breweries. One is an imperial IPA that he said diners love, and the other is a rotating beer he called a "backup."
"Once I tell people [the beer's] mine," Moran said, "They end up trying it and having a few, which is a neat thing."
His 5-gallon batches will yield 35 pints per keg, he said.
An Avid Brew Company class kickstarted Moran and his wife Heidi's interest in homebrewing. While Bernie said integrating his beers into CD Roma allows him to showcase his love for the practice, he also said he has the freedom to experiment with beverages that pair well with his cuisine, whether heavy or light.
CD Roma plans to host a home-brew competition on Saturday, Oct. 25, judging contestants based on taste and creativity.