Tampa’s Wagamama sets opening date, Pop Goes the Waffle closing, and more Tampa Bay foodie news

And Water Street Tampa’s newest eatery, Boulon Brasserie, is now accepting reservations.

click to enlarge Pop Goes the Waffle / Facebook
Pop Goes the Waffle / Facebook
Openings

Boulon Brasserie Self-described as a "French-style brassiere with a modern twist," downtown Tampa's newest fine dining concept is finally ready to open its doors. Boulon Brasserie, a new restaurant, cafe and full-service bar, grand opens in downtown Tampa on Tuesday, Jan. 24. According to its Instagram, both dinner and lunch reservations for its debut week can now be made on  its website. Water Street Tampa says that the neighborhood's newest addition will offer a “menu highlighted by fresh-caught seafood and modern interpretations of classic French pastries.” Although its menu has not yet been released, guests can expect a full spread of steak and seafood entrees from Chef Habteab “Hab” Hamde Boulon Brasserie debuts next week. Hamde was the executive chef of Bern's Steakhouse for 26 years before leaving the iconic Tampa institution at the end of 2022. 1001 Water St., Tampa. boulontampa.com

The Rollin’ Mullet Bar & Grill Just when you thought Seminole Heights had enough watering holes comes the debut of an incredibly unique outdoor bar concept. The Rollin' Mullet Bar and Grill celebrates its grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m.—but we’re not exactly sure when the party ends (if there will even be one.) With an ample amount of outdoor seating, an Airstream bar stocked with a variety of local and national beers and almost a dozen 65-inch TVs, The Rollin’ Mullet is set to be a new Seminole Heights hotspot. According to its website,  the open-air bar's tap list will always consist of at least 50% local beers. It currently features Tampa Bay-based breweries like 3 Daughters, Coppertail, Green Bench and TBBC. Although its food menu hasn't been announced yet, Rollin' Mullet promises a rotating menu of gourmet hot dogs, in addition to more handcrafted bar food items. 6401 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. therollinmullet.com

Raising Cane’s Known for American delicacies like chicken tenders and crinkle cut fries, Raising Cane's is finally heading to Tampa Bay at the end of this month. Located in Clearwater, the Bay’s first Raising Cane's celebrates its grand opening on Tuesday, Jan. 31, as The Bradenton Herald reported last month. Although chicken tenders dipped in its tangy signature sauce are the name of the Raising Cane's game, popular sides on its menu also include coleslaw and Texas toast. Currently, the only other Raising Cane's storefronts in the entirety of the Sunshine State are located in Homestead and Miami. When Tampa Bay's inaugural Raising Cane's debuts in a few weeks, it will be the newest contender in Pinellas County's competitive chicken tendy market. 2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater. raisingcanes.com

Hong BBQ & Hot Pot A new, all-you-can-eat buffet experience is now open in North Tampa, adjacent to the University of South Florida and Busch Gardens. Hong BBQ and Hot Pot officially opened its doors on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Tampa, boasting a stacked menu of both Korean BBQ and Chinese hot pot favorites. The restaurant’s online menu breaks down all of the proteins, vegetables and sides available for grilling or boiling in a soup of your choice. Hong pretty much offers all the meat you could ever desire—from marinated mussels and octopus to beef, lamb, chicken, pork, sausages and more. Guests can pay $30.99 to do hot pot or KBBQ, or $35.99 to partake in both dinner methods. Children ages 4-10 cost $15.99 for one style of dinner, or $21.99 for both. 5840 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. honghotpot.com

Closings

Pop Goes the Waffle Gulfport’s prized breakfast spot and dessert cafe will serve its last waffles on Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. “This isn’t something I ever wanted to post here, but unfortunately, it’s time for the waffle cafe’s doors to close—our last day at what we so fondly referred to as “Tangerine” will be Jan. 22,” says a recent post from Pop Goes the Waffle’s Instagram. Owner Sara Fludd names overarching problems like the cost of goods, inflation driving declining sales, and “economic impacts beyond our control" as reasons why she is closing her first brick and mortar. For its final weekend open, Pop Goes the Waffle will sell its waffle biscuit sandwiches, waffle doughnuts, grab-n-go frozen treats, and beloved liege waffles—the treat that put the small business on the map several years ago. 5004 Tangerine Ave. S, Gulfport. popgoesthewaffle.com

Coming soon

Wagamama Downtown Tampa's "live-work-play district" is getting a new and highly-anticipated addition next month. Wagamama finally celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 1050 Water St. in downtown Tampa. According to a press release, Tampa's newest restaurant is a "high-energy dining concept inspired by fast-paced Japanese ramen bars that showcases a fresh take on Asian plates." Its large fusion menu spans different Asian cultures, largely pulling from Japanese cuisine with a sprinkle of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean influence as well. This “wok-to-table” eatery prides itself on its playful atmosphere, signature craft cocktails and a variety of ramen, noodle dishes, rice bowls and curries. A wide spread of fresh-squeezed juices, beer, wine, sake, and craft cocktails like its Thai chili margarita and Japanese highball accompany its large Asian-inspired food menu.1050 Water St., Tampa. wagamama.us

Events

Chinese New Year Although most people rang 2023 a few weeks ago, a local nonprofit gets ready for its annual Chinese New Year celebration with a full slate of cultural performances, a wide range of Asian food and tasty waterfront views. The Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans hosts this free event on Sunday, Jan. 22 from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at Tampa Heights' Water Works park. A variety of both traditional and modern dances, martial arts demonstrations and live music will take over the Water Works bandshell next weekend—including the iconic Lion dance and a Peking opera performance. Sunny Duann, one of the event's organizers, tells CL that there will be up to a dozen food vendors specializing in different East and Southeast Asian cuisines. Guests can expect stuffed buns, fresh rice noodles, grilled lamb kabobs, Japanese grilled fish, Thai desserts, a variety of milk teas and more. 1710 N Highland Ave., Tampa. @sacatampabay on Facebook
Pinellas TacoFest Pinellas Park is already chock full of low-key taquerias and food trucks, but next weekend's foodie festival will feature the best the city has to offer. 2023's Pinellas TacoFest runs from Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 28-29 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. The festival takes place at Pinellas Park's England Brothers Park and both admission and parking for Pinellas TacoFest is free. Although a full list of participating businesses has not yet been released, the festival says that there will dozens of food trucks, taquerias and spicy vendors slinging their best tacos, burritos, hot sauces and other popular Mexican fare. A few announced vendors include local spots like Divinos Tacos, Taco Cartel and Sea Dog Cantina's food truck. There will also be a "Best Taco in Tampa Bay" competition where attendees can vote on their favorite tacos in different protein categories like chicken, pork, beef and seafood. 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Pinellas TacoFest on Facebook
ICYMI

Eggs in Tampa Bay are among the most expensive in the nation With an ongoing housing crisis and an increasingly squeezed middle class, Tampa Bay residents are quickly approaching the point in history where the general proletariat often resorts to throwing cheap, and sometimes rotten food, at the Bourgeoisie. However, if you're going to whip any grocery item at a local rich fat cat, maybe don't reach for an egg. According to a study released today from online grocery delivery platform Instacart, shoppers in the Tampa Bay region are now paying an average of $6.27 for a dozen eggs, which is an 18% increase from last year. Tampa Bay's high price tag for eggs actually ranks as the third highest in the country, behind only Miami ($6.67) and San Francisco ($6.27), says the report. But Florida as a whole is a terrible place to buy eggs. The study ranks the Sunshine State as the second most expensive state for eggs, with an average of $6.36 per dozen.—Colin Wolf