On Thursday, the dynamic dudes behind Tampa’s Rooster & the Till, chef Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez, announced they’ve broken ground on Nebraska Mini-Mart with co-owner Chon Nguyen. Global street food drives the trio’s project, which chose to adopt the namesake of the late drive-thru beverage stand that previously occupied its future home at 4815 N. Nebraska Ave.
Like the 4-year-old R&tT, NMM is also part of the Seminole Heights neighborhood. But the new family- and pooch-friendly hangout takes a more laid-back approach to food and drink on its 1.3-acre lot — mixed with the innovation patrons have come to expect from Rodriguez and Alvarez, a 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: South.
The owners anticipate an opening sometime before fall. Peep the restaurant's renderings in the gallery above (below, too).
“I’m stoked to express some casual creativity at NMM. We’re going to focus on elevated global street food that is fun to eat and tasty as hell with no-frills,” said Alvarez in a statement.
With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, green space, bocce courts and shuffleboard, the restaurant aims to become a go-to gathering place for the community, including larger parties looking to share a meal. Initial drafts of the menu feature everything from the bulgogi steak sandwich — on a Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes nori bun with fermented pickles and house kewpie (Japanese mayo) — to “buckets” of fried chicken made with whole local chickens.
NMM guests will find popular items from R&tT’s happy hour as well.
“Confit chicken wings and the ‘Pig Mac’ with American cheese on a sesame bun are big sellers at R&tT, so we’re definitely bringing that kind of stuff along with vegetarian and healthier offerings,” Alvarez added. “NMM gives us the chance to cook for the masses and not just the food-focused customers we see at R&tT six days a week.”
All right. We think Tampa Bay can get down with that.
On the drinks side, Rodriguez and R&tT bar manager Maura Fallon are curating a lineup that is both accessible to an everyday consumer and a reflection of the market’s best offerings. According to Rodriguez, this is the most fun he's had creating a wine and beer program in a long time.
“You are more likely to see new, fun and creative looks at traditional varietals and vessels,” he said. “Everything is on the table, from keg wines and slushy cocktails to rosé in a can. We will stick with our support of local [brews] and the people that make them.”
What else? There’s also a custom ping-pong table from the Urban Conga in store, plus communal seating in the form of a 16-foot-by-32-foot, two-tier bleacher area that’s inspired by Wood Tavern in Miami’s Wynwood district and “kind of like an adult playground or chill spot.”
NMM plans to operate 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.