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NEWS: Armature Works to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works” with Rooftop Cinema Club

Armature Works, Tampa’s largest food hall and event space, is joining forces with Rooftop Cinema Club to launch “The Drive-In at Armature Works”, a contact-free drive-in event in Tampa Heights District.

Audiences can enjoy a mix of modern and classic films every day of the week, two showings per night, including a full week of Halloween and Horror favorites. 

Family-friendly screenings will take place at 7:30PM followed by a second screening for the night-owls at 10PM.

Tickets will start at $22 per vehicle, regardless of occupancy. Parking will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis depending on ticket type, and audio can be picked up through local FM stereo.

Guests can order concessions or food and drinks online from their vehicles and will be notified for pick up.

Tickets and programming will be released this coming week. Locals are encouraged to sign up to Rooftop Cinema Club’s email database via rooftopcinemaclub.com/armature to be the first to know when tickets and programming are released, and to receive 10% off their first purchase. One lucky subscriber will also win unlimited drive-in movie tickets for the first two weeks of screenings. 

For more information visit Rooftop Cinema Club at rooftopcinemaclub.com.

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Articles Beer News

NEWS: Coppertail Brewing in Ybor City celebrates 6 years

Coppertail Brewing Co. located in Ybor City is celebrating their 6 year anniversary with a crowd-sourced mixed 4-pack of Hop Skull IPAs. A little over a month ago, fans were asked to vote for their favorites of the Hop Skull Series and the top three would end up being re-brewed and released as part of an assorted 4-pack.

The fourth beer in the 4-pack is Coppertail’s Sixth Anniversary Hop Skull Triple IPA. This hazy IPA comes in at 10.5% and features Chinook, Citra, Loral, and Bravo Hops with their house haze strain. The
beer features notes of citrus, apricot, and pineapple with a sizable malt backbone to make it the “juiciest” IPA they have ever made.

The three winners of the voting contest were Hop Skulls #3, #5, and #11 which are all hazy IPAs.

“It feels great when you hit those milestones and the whole team wants to get together and celebrate. This is the best way we could think of to celebrate that milestone and still keep everyone involved.” says Kent Bailey, President at Coppertail Brewing.

The pack was released on Friday, August 28th, at Coppertail’s Ybor City location tasting room ONLY in a mixed 4-pack and on draft. It is also available as a standalone 4-pack. Commemorative shirts and glassware are available for purchase as well as a gift pack containing a shirt, 2 glasses, a mixed 4-pack and 2 free beer tokens.  

Coppertail Brewing Co. is an independently owned production brewery in Tampa, Fla, founded in 2014 by homebrewer and reformed attorney, Kent Bailey and professional brewer, Casey Hughes. The two wanted to bring more hop-forward and Belgian-influenced beer to the thirsty masses.

Find more information at Coppertailbrewing.com/HopSkull

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NEWS: PSL is back at Starbucks along with other fall favorites

PSL season continues with Pumpkin Spice Lattes now at Starbucks locations nationwide and as well as in Canada. This is the 17th year that the drink will be featured at Starbucks locations.

The pumpkin spice industry is worth over $500 million according to the Forbes. This is the earliest that the coffee industry has moved to begin the fall season.

Pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes feature real pumpkin sauce, signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Available hot, iced or blended.

Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew returns to the menu, crafted with Starbucks® Cold Brew sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks

Fall bakery items are also on menus nationwide with the pumpkin trio: Pumpkin Cream Cheese MuffinPumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread. 

There is also a number of pumpkin spice-flavored ground, packaged, and ready-to-drink products now available and NEW Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored K-Cup® Packs + Ground Coffee and Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.

Hopefully this brings this cheer to people. Happy PSL!

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi opening first Tampa location September 2020

BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi is opening their first Tampa location near USF in September 2020.

The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenueacross from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus. Fans of the Florida-based chain have long been asking for a location to open in Tampa.

“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.

The Tampa location will offer plenty of outdoor seating, and will feature BENTO’s signature red sushi bar, warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.

“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time. Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of. The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.

BENTO Tampa will mark the concept’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.

The concept has no plans of slowing down with six more locations expected to open within the next year. Stores are planned in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and Sarasota – all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.

The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. Users also have the option to save their favorite orders, and take advantage of online-exclusive deals. There is also a mobile app version coming soon.

Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contact-less experience.

Find more information at eatatbento.com.

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PSL Season is Upon Us: Dunkin’ Brings Back Pumpkin Spice Lattes August 19th

Get your taste buds and outfits ready, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season is upon us and will return by Wednesday, August 19th, to Dunkin’ Donuts. It is the earliest that the season has ever started as brands rush to bring back the autumn season.

On the menu…

  • NEW Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte: Spicing up the brand’s fall lineup is an exceptional seasonal sip worthy of even the most fanatical “fallower,” Dunkin’s new Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. Elevating PSL to another level of enjoyment, the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte – available hot or iced – combines rich, smooth espresso with pumpkin and vanilla flavors, topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and cinnamon sugar topping.
  • NEW Chai Latte: Dunkin’s fall celebration includes a new option for tea lovers, offering a sweetened chai tea blend with spices including cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg combined with milk.
  • Pumpkin Flavored Coffees: The classic cup for fueling up in fall, Dunkin’s pumpkin flavor swirl is available in its hot or iced coffee, Chai Latte, Cold Brew, espresso drinks, frozen coffee, and frozen chocolate.
  • Apple Cider Donut and MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats: Dunkin’s Apple Cider Donut features an apple cider cake ring tossed in cinnamon sugar. For a bite-sized serving of seasonal sweetness, guests can also enjoy Apple Cider MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats.
  • Pumpkin Donut, MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats, and Muffin: Fall isn’t complete without the classic treat of Dunkin’s Pumpkin Donut, a glazed pumpkin cake donut that can also be enjoyed as MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats, along with Dunkin’s Pumpkin Muffin, topped with white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.
  • Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: To help feed fall cravings, Dunkin’ is bringing back its Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, featuring five half-slices of maple sugar seasoned bacon, egg, and white cheddar cheese served on a warm, flaky croissant.
Dunkin’.

Satisfying Snackin’ Selection:

  • NEW Stuffed Bagel Minis: Bagel lovers can go small this fall, as Dunkin’ introduces Stuffed Bagel Minis, mini bagel rounds filled with plain cream cheese and served warm. Stuffed Bagel Minis are available in two varieties, Plain and Everything Topping.
  • NEW Steak & Cheese Rollups: Dunkin’ is adding steak to its lineup of rollups, which also include Ham & Cheese and Bacon & Cheese varieties. Steak & Cheese Rollups, which come two per order, include delicious steak and American cheese rolled up in flour tortillas.
  • NEW Maple Sugar Seasoned Snackin’ Bacon: Dunkin’ is also putting a seasonal spin on its beloved Snackin’ Bacon. Guests can enjoy eight snack-sized slices of bacon specially flavored with maple sugar seasoning. Each order comes in a sleeve, making it easy to enjoy on the go.  

PSL at Home: Guests can also take the taste of pumpkin home with Dunkin’s Pumpkin K-Cup® pods, available at participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide for a limited time. Additionally, Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pods and packaged coffee will be available in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide for a limited time this season.

All items will be available by August 19th nationwide. Happy PSL!

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Articles News Restaurant News

Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed and Honey Maid Brands join forces to give $50,000 to local restaurants

Three popular food brands are joining forces this summer to give $10,000 to five local restaurants in celebration of National S’mores Day: Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed, and Honey Maid.

The trio is calling on small, hometown restaurants and their staff to showcase their favorite S’mores dessert on their menu (new or existing) for a chance to win one of five $10,000 prizes. Restaurants have until Monday, August 24th to enter.

“We are overwhelmed by the love people have had for S’mores this summer. During the current pandemic, many families have turned to the connectivity and comfort of making S’mores as a way to get through this challenging time,” said Bill Maclean, senior marketing director, Hershey’s brand.

Photo Credit: Hershey’s

“We wanted to say thank you and bring attention to all of those local restaurants who have been affected. We want to provide some relief while celebrating these restaurants, their recipes and their love of S’mores.”

The rules to enter for businesses are:

  1. Post a picture or short video to Instagram or Twitter showcasing your most creative S’mores recipe. The treat MUST at least be made with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers or Graham Cracker Crumbs – the classic S’mores ingredients!
  2. Make sure to tag @hersheys @kraftjetpuffed @honeymaidsnacks and use the hashtag #SmoresGivesBackContest. For the caption of the posted photo or video, tell why your restaurant deserves to win a prize, and how the prize would be used to impact the restaurant and its employees.
  3. No Purchase is Necessary to enter. For full details of eligibility and entry, including judging criteria, see the Official Rules. Contest ends 11:59:59 PM EDT on August 24, 2020. Void where prohibited. Must be age of majority or older to enter. Entries submitted on behalf of restaurants.

Find more information at smoresgivesback.com.

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Sweetgreen rolls out late summer menu with new fruits and veggies

Fast-casual chain sweetgreen has announced a late summer menu with new fruits and vegetables to highlight the season such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer corn, and peaches.

For the late summer menu, sweetgreen is working with more than 160 suppliers across the country to source local, sustainable produce for each market. 

New on the menu for the season:

  • Pesto Ratatouille Plate: a whole chicken thigh, roasted eggplant and peppers, heirloom tomatoes, basil, shaved parmesan, warm wild rice, with a pesto vinaigrette
  • Peaches + Yogurt: a classic combo of of peaches and cream featuring a tangy cashew yogurt sauce

Returning by popular demand:

  • Summer Corn Bowl: roasted corn and peppers, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, cilantro, goat cheese, tortilla chips, spicy sunflower seeds, warm quinoa, arugula, and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman and now has over 100 locations in the United States. Find more information at sweetgreen.com.

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NEWS: Dark Door Spirits releases ‘Pandemic at the Disco’ essential vodka, aims to help hospitality workers

Tampa Bay-based craft distillery Dark Door Spirits is releasing an essential vodka called “Pandemic at the Disco” in support of the hospitality industry that has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

“Just like the essential workers that have bravely kept us going for many months, this is the essential vodka that has the power to make the best of any situation – even the hot mess that is 2020”, said Dark Door Founder and CEO Matt Allen.

Thousands of bartenders and support staff have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the virus that has hit the United States and Florida particularly hard. Some estimates suggest over 51% of Floridians could be at risk for eviction.

Over 1 million people are currently waiting to be placed on financial assistance in the state as the unemployment rate passes 10% in Florida.

The Washington Post recently profiled a bartender who has just $10 left in his bank account and is facing eviction in the nation’s capital. These are very difficult times for workers in the hospitality industry and for all Americans.

Pandemic at the Disco essential vodka from Dark Door Spirits. Proceeds benefit charitable organizations.
Pandemic at the Disco essential vodka. Image Credit: Dark Door Spirits.

Fifty percent of Dark Door Spirits profits from sales of Pandemic at the Disco will be donated to charitable organizations supporting the local hospitality industry, including the U.S. Bartender Guild COVID-19 relief fund.

Pandemic at the Disco is available through local distribution from Pepin Distributing Co. and Great Bay Distributors as well as many local liquor stores and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

Luekens and Drizly will be retail partners for those who want to enjoy responsibly at home.

“We’re doing this now because we see a need in the community – a need for something to benefit the hospitality industry and a need for a laugh while not sugar-coating the mess we’re in,” Allen said.

“We want to support the people who have supported us all these years. Creating a great product with a fun label seemed like one thing we could do.”

“By ordering Pandemic at the Disco by name at their favorite bar or restaurant, Tampa Bay residents are helping their friends and neighbors in the hospitality industry at a time when they are struggling to make ends meet”, Allen said.

Dark Door Spirits was founded in 2016 in Tampa Bay by Co-Founders Matthew Allen and Brandon Marshall focusing on “crafting unique and unexpectedly delicious spirits”.

For more information visit them online at darkdoorspirits.com.

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NEWS: Publix finally mandates masks for shoppers

The pandemic has been a doozy but one constant in Florida has been the very vocal arguments between anti-mask shoppers and regular people trying to survive in grocery stores and society in general. Ironically, most polls show that the anti-mask people make up a very small but loud minority. The issue has been widely politicized much to dismay of healthcare experts nationwide.

Masks are one of the only defenses that society has against the Coronavirus.

Recent studies show that wearing a mask not only protects others from you, but also protects you from other people who are shedding the virus. It really helps explain why cases are so much lower in other countries who never shutdown but distributed masks widely, although many of them have also instituted other aggressive methods as well such as contact tracing and strict criminal penalties for violating pandemic laws.

Publix initially resisted employees who wanted to wear masks and then eventually came around to providing plexiglass and social distancing guidance as well as masks, but still refused to enforce masks in their stores for customers. There have been several cases of COVID-19 documented from employees at more than 20 Publix stores who were likely exposed to the virus by shoppers who didn’t care about the people bagging their groceries.

Once re-opening began in May, many Publix shoppers stopped wearing masks at all and it was business as usual as the virus started to spread faster and faster. On one visit on June 8th, I witnessed an entire produce aisle filled with dozens of people not social distancing or wearing masks. To be frank, I was horrified. I did not go back to Publix for weeks.

Once Hillsborough County and City of Tampa passed emergency mask ordinances in late June, I had to run to the store and decided to give Publix another shot nearly one month later. To my surprise, 100% of the shoppers were wearing masks and so were the employees. A huge difference. The mask orders have made a difference.

Unfortunately, these actions have come late and Florida’s COVID-19 growth is out of control. Florida added 100,000 cases in 10 days. The daily death toll and hospitalizations are climbing.

We are heading towards another shutdown that will have devastating economic impacts on the state. 6 Tampa Bay Publix locations had virus cases in July so far despite mask orders. Imagine if companies and politicians would have acted early to stop the spread instead of removing responsibility from each other.

Finally – now Publix is saying that they will mandate masks for all shoppers except children and those with medical conditions starting Tuesday, July 21st.

It’s late – but always better than nothing. They are not alone as other big names like Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, and other retail companies begin to mandate masks nationwide. America is in a crisis.

I hope these mandates will at least help the “essential” workers who have been forced into this mess without any leadership until now.

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Goya Foods CEO says USA “blessed” with President Donald Trump and #BoycottGoya trends

2020 is filled with twists and turns. #GoyaBoycott and Goya are trending right now after the CEO of Goya Foods praised Trump at the White House and said we’re “blessed to have a leader” like Trump.

There’s a large sense of irony to Goya Foods which primarily sells to Latinx audiences joining forces with President Trump just as the President is caught in numerous scandals including rising Coronavirus cases, preparing a new lawsuit to kill DACA, separating children from their parents at the border, allegations of supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin despite bounties on American soldiers, an investigation by SDNY for tax fraud and evasion, among other things.

Let’s not forget that time that Donald Trump threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans as thousands of them died from Hurricane Irma and Maria and then left the island in the dark.

Twitter immediately responded and began to trend nationwide.

There’s never a dull day on Twitter.