Pollo Tropical joins forces with World Central Kitchen for Bahamas hurricane relief

Pollo Tropical is joining forces with World Central Kitchen for Bahamas relief. Pollo Tropical is pledging “a dollar donation for every Pollo Tropical Original Family Meal purchased” at any of the 140 company-owned locations from September 15th through October 6th to the Bahamas recovery effort.

“Florida was spared from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, but our friends in the Bahamas were not. Our Pollo Tropical family is committed to helping those affected by providing Chef José Andres with funds needed to help feed the families affected by the storm.” said Richard Stockinger, Chief Executive Officer and President of Fiesta Restaurant Group, parent company of Pollo Tropical.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, the organization’s method of operations is to be a first responder and then to collaborate and galvanize solutions with local chefs to solve the problem of hunger, immediately following a disaster. Find out more at wck.org.

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NEWS: Buccaneers debut new food offerings at Raymond James Stadium for 2019 season

Buccaneers revealed new offerings at Raymond James Stadium today for the 2019 football season.

Buccaneers COO, Brian Ford, shared, “This season, we are excited to bring world-class partners like Legends and Fanatics, as well as homegrown companies PDQ and RumFish Grill, to Raymond James Stadium. Through these partnerships, we are providing the finest products and service to our fans. We are also proud to welcome superstar Tim McGraw this Sunday to provide our guests a great show before we officially kick off this special 100th season of NFL football against the 49ers.”

pdq1

PDQ will have a crispy chicken sandwich available for hungry visitors as well as serving as the official chicken tender of the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers have a new and exclusive hospitality rights partner, Legends, which will manage the team’s concessions and restaurant dining. Legends Senior Executive Chef Jason Choate will add new items around the concessions menus including Pizza Box Nachos, Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) Grilled Cheese and Veggie Cuban sandwiches.

RumFish Grill will offer Mahi Tacos, Bucs Burger, Firecracker Shrimp, and Big Wave Fries.

Ropa Vieja Grilled Cheese by Rob-Harris-7893

Ropa Vieja Grilled Cheese made with locally sourced Cuban bread, sharp cheddar cheese, house-braised ropa vieja, peppers, and onions. Available at Ybor Press locations.

landsea

Land & Sea Burger features a custom, all-beef burger blend with chuck, short-rib, and brisket, grilled and topped with slaw, crispy shrimp, and cannonball sauce. Available at Land & Sea locations as well as Bar 76.

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Fans of meatless burgers can enjoy the Beyond Burger at the Bay Burger stand located at Section 118.

Local Chef Showcase will return to the stadium this Sunday with Chef Gino Tiozzo of Donatello Italian Restaurant this Sunday, September 8th.

Single-game tickets for the 2019 season start at $45 and are on sale at Buccaneers.com and Ticketmaster.com

Photos used with permission from Buccaneers.

NEWS: 4 Rivers Smokehouses to open Sunday for Hurricane Dorian Relief in the Bahamas

Hurricane

Ready to eat some barbeque for a good cause?

4 Rivers Smokehouse will break their “closed on Sunday” policy on Sunday, September 8th to help raise funds for Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas. Contributions from Sunday will go to benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that is devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.

World Central Kitchen is headed up by Chef José Andrés who led efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria with over 2 million meals served in the first month.

4 Rivers will be open from 11AM to 3PM and will offer regular dine-in, to-go, and takeout menus. The COOP in Orlando will also be open from 10AM-3PM.

“As Floridians, we know all too well the destruction hurricanes can cause and it saddens us to see the devastation caused in the Bahamas by Dorian,” said John Rivers, 4 Rivers Founder and CEO. “Community is the core of our brand, so the entire 4R family is proud to contribute to relief efforts in the Bahamas by raising funds on Sept. 8 at our 4 Rivers Smokehouses and The COOP.”

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Participating locations include:

  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Carrollwood located at 14330 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Coral Springs located at 2660 N University Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33065
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Gainesville located at 3262 SW 35th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32608
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Jacksonville located at 9220 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32256
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Kissimmee located at 874 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34741
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Longwood located at 1869 W State Rd 434, Longwood, FL 32750
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Orange Park located at 220 Park Ave, Orange Park, FL 32073
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse South Tampa located at 623 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33609
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Tallahassee located at 1817 Thomasville Rd #100, Tallahassee, FL 32303
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse UCF/East Orlando located at 11764 University Blvd, Orlando, FL 32817
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Winter Garden located at 1047 S Dillard St, Winter Garden, FL 34787
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse Winter Park located at 1600 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
  • The COOP located at 610 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789

NEWS: Armature Works launches Hurricane Dorian Relief Drive

Are you looking to help the survivors of Hurricane Dorian? Armature Works located at 1910 North Ola Avenue in Tampa is working to help the victims of the storm.

AW Mercantile, located inside of Armature Works, will act as a collection center for baby supply items daily through next Monday, September 10th from 9AM to 7PM. You can also bring hurricane relief supplies over to Boca Kitchen Bar and Market at either the SoHo Tampa or Brandon location, Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club, or Sea Critters Café in Pass-a-Grille.

Hurricane Relief Drive

All donors will receive a voucher good for 10% off at all Armature Works concepts and any of the aforementioned Armature Works affiliate family of restaurants. All donations will be delivered to SOL Relief, which focuses on “providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief with the use of aviation”. For more information about SOL Relief, visit solrelief.org.

Armature Works proprietors, Chas and Taryn Bruck, through The Bruck Family Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, will match any donated items received during this drive.

At least 60% of homes in the Bahamas were destroyed when Hurricane Dorian passed through and at least 7 people were killed.

Anise Global Gastrobar in Downtown Tampa permanently closing September 14th

Anise Global Gastrobar announced via Facebook today that the Downtown Tampa cocktail bar will permanently close its doors on Saturday, September 14th, 2019.

The bar was one of the first craft cocktail bars to enter the Downtown Tampa corridor and a success story showing that a food truck can expand into a brick and mortar business.

Many of the minds behind the business have gone to other projects across the bay such as Station House, Renzo’s, and other spots. Anise has been a great spot to enjoy craft cocktails with a focus on supporting the local bartenders in town over the years.

It’s certainly a loss for the Downtown Tampa area, especially when Downtown Tampa is about to explode with growth.

You can continue to enjoy the food from Anise at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa Heights. Thank you to Anise for all the great evenings in Downtown Tampa.

Anise Global Gastrobar closing down Facebook post

Orlando Beer Festival coming November 16th with over 200 craft beers

Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at 2PM – Orlando Beer Festival is happening that day at Orlando Festival Park located at 2911 East Robinson Street.

Over 200 craft beers will be poured at the event from over 50 breweries. Tickets are now sale for the beer festival and are discounted if you purchase them in advance, prices will rise on the day of the event, if available.

The event will feature over 10 local food trucks, live music, interactive games, college football streaming, local vendors, a wine tasting experience, and more. The event is for ages 21+ and will strictly enforce this policy. Orlando Beer Festival is a rain or shine event.

Limited VIP tickets are currently available and includes an hour and a half of early admission, parking, Orlando Beer Festival t-shirt, a commemorative beer glass, VIP zone with shaded seating and craft cocktail experience, complimentary lite bites of food, VIP lanyard, and more. Designated Driver tickets are available. Please do not drink and drive.

Proceeds will benefit the Central Florida Brewer’s Guild.

Event sponsors include Publix Apron’s Cooking School, Orlando Federal Credit Union, Drive Shack, Hard Rock Live Orlando, Universal Roofing & Contracting, and Renewal by Anderson of FL.

Find out more information at orlandobeerfestival.com.

Event name: Orlando Beer Festival

Venue: Orlando Festival Park

Address: 2911 East Robinson Street Orlando, FL

Date & Time: Saturday, November 16th, 2PM-5PM

Ages: 21+ only

Cost: $40+

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/30NLdg0

Dining Guide: Great local restaurants to eat at in Brandon

Full disclosure: I have performed sponsored work for Kiwami Ramen Sushi. These opinions on this list are strictly my own and do not represent any sponsors or paid work.

Brandon has been transforming over the years from a quiet suburban town to a busy place with tons of apartment complexes and subdivisions rising around the area. There is now a Top Golf, Dave and Buster’s, and the Westfield Brandon Towncenter has exploded with traffic. People are moving south to Riverview and East to Valrico. The new Riverview GDX and Xscape Riverview theaters further prove the population growth of this area.

Many people complain that there are not local options in Brandon, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll find a wide-variety of food from a variety of cuisines around the area, if you know where to look. Most places will run you around $10-20 per person for a meal. The options continue to grow, here is a list of some of my recommendations.

Allegria Italiana: Your old school Italian eatery with white table covers and a romantic vibe, Allegria Italiana has a great variety of gourmet Italian food that is better than many places around the bay. The servers have been friendly on my visits and prices are about what you would expect for this kind of concept. Everything from the appetizers and pasta to dessert is great. $$ 518 Oakfield Dr., Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 651-1166 allegriaitaliana.com

La Cubanita: Great Cuban sandwiches and steak sandwiches. You can’t really go wrong with their cafe con leche and a sandwich. They also have great deals on platters of food and have specials daily. There are many places around Brandon with sandwiches and coffee, but this is one of the best. They serve La Segunda bread which is of course the best. $ 723 W. Lumsden Rd., Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 661-2253. 

Kiwami Ramen and Sushi: Newcomer serving quality, gourmet ramen and sushi. The perfect marriage no matter what your mood is. Prices are fair and far less than the options in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Lunch specials on weekdays and happy hour deals make Kiwami and even better choice. The rolls are different from you’ll find in most places in Tampa. 10262 Causeway Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619. (813) 393-0683. kiwamiramensushi.com

Ploy Thai: Ploy Thai has been serving Thai food for over a decade on State Road 60. The restaurant has changed and evolved over the year from more of a sushi concept and then back into a more Thai-focused restaurant. The menu is large and they have transitioned more into a finer dining concept. $$ 1941 W. Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 684-5007.

Sushi Kampai: If you like some simple rolls or great deals, Sushi Kampai is for you. The rolls are affordable and they also have lunch combos and bento boxes. You’ll find some Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food options on the menu as well. Service can be slow when they get busy so plan ahead. They also offer delivery and take-out if you’re feeling lazy. $ 10312 Bloomingdale Ave. #111, Riverview, FL 33578. (813) 620-3717.

Taste of Berlin: This German eatery is owned by some German expats and has a great schnitzel. Most items on the menu are made from scratch down to the sauces. The German beer selection isn’t quite as expansive as Mr. Dunderbak’s in Tampa, but there are some decent options on the menu for those looking to wash down their food. The owners regularly host events here especially for Oktoberfest. $$ 526 Oakfield Dr, Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 685-9392.

LC’s Cafe and Supper Club: LC’s Cafe is a nice little spot for a lite breakfast or brunch. They have some Cuban food options and also some breakfast options. It isn’t anything fancy, but the decor feels like home and it is a great place to go and catch up with someone. It is a family-owned small business. $$ 1602 Oakfield Dr #103, Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 526-9395.

Shrimp Boat: If you love seafood, you will love Shrimp Boat. This busy local restaurant on Bloomingdale serves quality seafood dishes and even their regular American dishes scream quality. It gets very busy, but there is usually some space in the bar area. They have happy hour deals and specials regularly and you also cannot go wrong with their soups. $$ 1020 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596. (813) 571-5858. shrimpboatgrille.com

Green Island Frozen Yogurt & Tea Bar: Green Island has been around for over a decade if I’m not mistaken. They were one of the first boba shops and frozen yogurt shops to open in Tampa Bay. It’s a nice option if you’re on State Road 60 and heading to the nearby M.D. Oriental Market. Their bubble tea isn’t my favorite, but their Thai tea is pretty good and so is the coconut smoothie or watermelon smoothie (when available). $ 10047 E. Adamo Dr, Tampa, FL 33619. (813) 374-9006. 

Smokin Pig BBQ: Smokin Pig serves some great barbeque options and has plenty of space inside for those who want to dine-in. They have family deals as well as specials and combos. My favorite thing here is their Mac and Cheese, it is incredibly cheesy and delicious. Their brisket tastes great and I like their corn bread. $$ 3834 US-301, Riverview, FL 33578. (813) 512-2500 smokinpig.com

Chicago’s Best Burgers: If you want some truly amazing burgers do not miss Chicago’s Best. They maintain a low profile online, but they serve one of the best burgers I have enjoyed in Tampa Bay. You’ll spend a little more than some other shops, but the taste is well worth it. I highly recommend it. $$ 1925 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511. (813) 654-3232.

 

Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A battle over the internet for the chicken sandwich title

If you’ve been paying attention lately to the internet, you’ve probably seen a fair amount of interest by both the public and media about the new chicken sandwich that Popeye’s recently launched.

Many people say its a contender or even better than the Chick-fil-A version, and it comes without the controversy that Chick-fil-A has recently found itself in.

To be quite honest this is the first time I’ve ever seen people talk so much about Popeye’s so the sandwich is definitely a win from a PR perspective. Other fast food giants are also racing to join the conversation. Wendy’s is getting sassy on Twitter, which should surprise no one at this point.

 

I haven’t had a chance to try the Popeye’s chicken sandwich yet, but it’s definitely on my radar. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich…I prefer the morning chicken biscuit better so we’ll see how I like this sandwich when I finally do make it over to a Popeye’s.

Some more chicken reads:

Bay Cannon Beer Company now open in West Tampa

Bay Cannon Beer Company recently opened its doors to the public at 2106 West Main Street in Tampa. Main Street was an important street to the city of Tampa that lost relevance over the years as Tampa residents moved North and East, but businesses like Bay Cannon are aiming to change that by introducing local hubs like this brewery.

Some beer options on the menu right now are the Hefeweizen, Dry Hopped Blonde Ale, Hazy Mozaic IPA, Belgian Dubbel, Hibiscus Rose Sour Ale, and more.

It’s located right near the Howard and Armenia exits on I-275.

Bay Cannon is also offering food from Chef Josh with options such as Chicken Wings Scarpariello, Beer Cheese Fondue, Golden Beet Tartare, Cannon Burger, Cuban Grilled Cheese, Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Harvest Salad, and Dough Nation Sundae.

View this post on Instagram

Beer and tacos? AND fries? Why yes, yes I will.

A post shared by Colleen Parker (@cparkernyc) on

I’m looking forward to heading by soon.

Find out more at www.baycannon.com.

NEWS: Florida Eats now permanently closed in Seminole Heights

Florida Eats is now permanently closed in Seminole Heights after being open just a few months. The Chipotle-style eatery posted on Facebook about their end of business due to “circumstances out of our control”.

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 was the last day of service. Florida Eats had a controversial upstart when a lawsuit (since cancelled) was filed by Brew Bus Brewing against the restaurant and owner, Greg Spaddy, for infringement of the name Florida Avenue Brewing.

Next door neighbor King of the Coop seems to have lots of momentum and be performing well in the next door space, it doesn’t seem like the location was an issue.

The Refinery also recently closed in Seminole Heights and is converting into a event/wedding hall. The Refinery was part of an early investment into the Seminole Heights neighborhood and brought several businesses into the fold after the tumult of the financial crisis began to wane with a focus on attempting to provide local ingredients at an affordable price.