NEWS: Hidden Star Tiki Bar opening June 28th in Downtown Tampa

Hidden Star Tiki Bar is opening June 28th in Downtown Tampa inside Anise Global Gastrobar. Anise has been serving high-quality cocktails as well as gastronomical food fare with an Asian twist in Tampa for years and is the creation of Xuan Pham Hurt.

This is her fourth creation in Tampa following her North Star Eatery at Hall on Franklin and her Stinky Bunz food truck that started it all.

64556208_2333582360042038_2553561707641307136_n

When asked what inspired this tiki bar to be created, Hurt told me, “It never fails that whenever I travel to different cities, I always seek out their best tiki bars. We felt that the residents and visitors of Downtown Tampa would appreciate their very own tiny oasis in the middle of the city. Tasty tropical beverages with whimsical garnishes can make any day feel like a vacation. We are fortunate to have the space to provide an intimate setting for the creation of innovative and playful cocktails made with our highest standards”.

Hurt will work with Sean O’Connor, who she describes as a local tiki trademan, Christina Gilson, Anise Beverage Director, Justin Gray, United States Bartenders Guild Veteran, and the rest of the Anise bar team to develop the cocktail menu. They want to provide modern rifts on classic favorites that Hurt feels will exceed everyone’s expectations.

Hidden Star will only be open Friday and Saturday nights from 7PM to 2AM. Guests will check-in at the Anise host stand and will be escorted to the hidden entrance once seats become available.

Due to the limited space, reservations will not be taken nor will estimated wait times given. Random chances for expedited entry will be announced via email newsletters and social media pages.

Hidden Star guests can expect an original menu of 7 to 8 elevated tiki cocktails and a few bar snack that they can enjoy in an intimate setting while surrounded by other enthusiasts. Beer, wine, mixed drinks, and a full dining menu will continue to only be offered in the main dining room at Anise.

Service is expected to start on the weekend of June 28th.

Find more information and sign-up for updates at aniseglobal.com.

Advertisements

NEWS: Inside the Box closing at Armature Works on June 23rd

Inside the Box cafe’s outpost at Armature Works Heights Public Market is permanently closing down this week. You have until Sunday, June 23rd to enjoy their food at Armature Works.

Metropolitan Ministries will shift the focus of the social enterprise concept to catering. Inside the Box was given a year and a half lease at no cost from Armature Works to raise money for programs at Metropolitan Ministries and has used the lease to raise money at one of Tampa’s busiest spots in town.

Inside the Box served fresh sandwiches and fresh deli meat to visitors at the food hall. Metropolitan Ministries says this lease was helpful to “gain many valuable lessons while providing a rich learning experience for our clients and culinary students”.

Fans of the concept can still enjoy their food in the future at the Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport as well as at the Times building. Catering will be available for businesses or events.

Inside the Box has a Culinary Arts Program that helps train culinary students and pull them out of poverty. Their culinary program is growing and expanding and will soon open a second training location in a partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Over 250 students have graduated in the first 6 years. All graduates are now employed.

Inside the Box as a social enterprise made $1 million revenue in 2017 and grew that to $2 million in 2018 with Armature Works and Dough Nation added to the enterprise. Metropolitan Ministries has plans to continue growing and helping others through their social enterprise in the future.

Find out more about Inside the Box at itbcafe.org.

NEWS: King State grand opening in Tampa Heights set for June 21st

The highly anticipated King State will finally open their doors next week and have their Grand Opening on Friday, June 21st in Tampa Heights according a report from local newspaper Creative Loafing.

Their cafe will be located at 520 E. Floribraska Avenue, minutes from Lee’s Grocery and Shuffle. The location has been in the works since at least 2016.

The cafe will feature craft beer, wine, and bites as well as their popular coffee roasts. The owners were early proponents of the third wave coffee scene in Tampa which has exploded over the last few years and landed Tampa on many lists for best coffee towns.

The owners were quoted by the Tampa Bay Times in 2015 saying, “If you have two roasters, then four roasters open up next year, and then those four roasters talk to friends, and eight roasters open the next year. All of a sudden, five or 10 years from now, there’s going to be a third-wave coffee shop in every neighborhood.”

The new King State cafe is a major development for the Tampa Heights neighborhood which was bolstered in recent years by food halls such as The Hall on Franklin and Armature Works.

Early investments by Ulele and Foundation Coffee have brought many business interests into the area. The loyal social media following of King State is sure to bring many people into the neighborhood.

With Bay Cannon Brewing coming soon to North Hyde Park, it seems like Tampa is heading into a major next phase of development.

Maroon 5 and Adam Levine to headline Hard Rock Hollywood opening October 25

South Florida has plenty to look forward to this fall with Maroon 5 and Adam Levine coming down to headline the opening of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on October 25th. Tickets are now available.

The 35-story building has been a huge development with over $1.5 billion spent for the “world’s first-ever guitar hotel”. New additions to the casino include a new spa, 13.5 acres of recreational waterscape, top-of-the-line meeting and convention space, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, retail shops, and more.

Find out more information at www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com/the-new-hard-rock.htm

NEWS: HART bus driver fatally stabbed this past weekend in Tampa

HART bus driver, Thomas Dunn, was fatally stabbed by a passenger this past weekend in Tampa on Nebraska Avenue. The passenger involved in the incident has been charged with one count of murder.

According to Fox 13 News this incident “comes roughly 5 months after Dunn spoke at a December 3rd  meeting where he raised concern about the safety of bus drivers after he says a woman who was a passenger assaulted him by spitting in his face and trying to break his arm”.

The CEO of HART, Ben Limmer, released a statement:

“We are devastated by the tragic events that took place today involving our HART bus operator. We are working with the Tampa Police Department as they conduct their investigation into this horrific matter,”

“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the bus operator, as well as to all of our HART colleagues.”

Local transit advocate and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe responded as well to the incident:

NEWS: ACLU issues travel alert against State of Florida

The ACLU has issued a travel alert against the State of Florida due to a new immigration bill currently going through the Florida Legislature called SB 168 and HB 527. People of color and immigrants are warned that Florida could begin racial profiling, false detainment of U.S. citizens, and even false deportation if the law passes.

“Last month, a report revealed that in just two years after agreeing to work with ICE, Miami-Dade County records showed that 420 people listed as U.S. citizens had false detainer requests issued against them.”

“As recent cases illustrate, U.S. citizens have been kept in jail away from their jobs and families, and they have faced the terror of being told they would soon be deported from their only home. Many have spent time in immigration jail, and some have even been deported. Local police and sheriffs, in turn, have faced immense litigation costs and damages liability to the U.S. citizens they have held for ICE.”

Lawsuits have filed against cities and counties, with Florida taxpayers ultimately footing the bill for false detainers.

Thomas Kennedy, Florida Immigrant Coalition Director, shares, “Taking precious local resources away from law enforcement to further target Floridian families for deportation comes at an extremely high financial and moral cost. The insidious attacks against immigrants on the national level are being amplified by Florida lawmakers pushing for anti-immigrant policies”.

He continues, “Florida lawmakers need to realize that there will be consequences for attacking our families. The world is watching Florida right now, and what we do next as a state will determine whether people will still want to visit us and if industry leaders still feel comfortable doing business with us.”

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the sunshine state and any kind of travel impact could be detrimental to the state. 118.8 million visitors (not residents) visited Florida in 2017 according to Visit Florida with 14.4 million of those visitors being international visitors. Visitor spending directly and indirectly supports 1.4 million jobs in Florida.

Tourism growth is currently booming in the state and any slowdown would be a tragic turn of events.

Immigrant and civil rights groups releasing the alert are ACLU of Florida, Alianza Americas, Engage Miami, Faith in Florida, Family Action Network Movement, FL Student Power, Farmworkers Association of Florida, FLIC Votes, Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees, Mi Familia Vota, Miami Workers Center, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, QLATINX, United We Dream, and WeCount!. National partners include: ACLU, Advancement Project, America’s Voice, Community Justice Project, National Latina Institute, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and UndocuBlack Network.

More information:

BJ’s Charitable Foundation donates $50,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay to celebrate new Clearwater store

BJ’s Charitable Foundation, part of BJ’s Wholesale Club, recently donated $50,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay, part of Feeding America®’s member bank network, to celebrate their new store opening in Clearwater.

The donation will help to provide fresh and nutritious food for people who are food insecure and lack access to healthy food. BJ’s donated 193,000 pounds of food in 2018 to Feeding Tampa Bay, helping to provide nearly 160,000 meals in West Central Florida.

According to Thomas Mantz, Feeding Tampa Bay Executive Director, “Florida is 4th in the nation for family hunger and 1 in 6 people in our region live with daily hunger”. Nearly 60% of all people in West Florida are eligible for food stamps from all ethnicities with seniors and children primarily suffering from food insecurity according to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The new BJ’s Wholesale Club location in Clearwater will expand this program and donate unsold produce, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and bakery products daily to help reduce food waste and provide fresh meals to people who need it most.

The Grand Opening for BJ’s Wholesale Club is set for Saturday, April 13th, 2019. The new club will be located at 26996 U.S. 19 North Clearwater.

BJ’s beats average supermarket prices by up to 25% and will offer BJ’s Gas. The new location will feature a full-service deli with premium meats and cheese as well as butchers who can cut and repackage meat at no additional cost.

Some services offered for guests include same-day grocery delivery, in-store pickup for online orders, and digital add-to-card coupons.

BJ’s Wholesale Club currently operates 216 clubs and 138 BJ’s Gas stations in 16 states. BJ’s is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts.

Feeding Tampa Bay has served the Tampa Bay area since 1982 and serves a food-insecure population of more than 700,000 people in a 10-county area. Over 100 million pounds of food have been served in the last 5 years by Feeding Tampa Bay. Find out more about Feeding Tampa Bay at feedingtampabay.org.