Michelle’s Faedo is opening her second location of Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 in Downtown Tampa at 601 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL, 33602 inside the Hillsborough County Building.
The restaurants are an off-shot of Michelle Faedo’s On The Go food truck which has been in operation for years. The first location is located at the ENCORE! building not too far away from Downtown close to Ybor City.
Popular items on the menu include the Famous Traditional Cuban and deviled crabs that pay homage to Tampa’s rich food history. Like the Cuban Sandwich, deviled crabs were created by the immigrant communities in Tampa that existed during the cigar boom.
Faedo is an award-winner from the annual Cuban Sandwich Festival and is well-recognized for her Cuban sandwiches around the Tampa Bay area.
The opening hours for the location will be Monday through Friday from 7AM to 4PM.
City of Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor, is expected to be there at around 1PM to celebrate the occasion.
Roux, the New Orleans concept by Datz Restaurant Group, has ceased operations according to a report by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The restaurant was known for serving favorites of Cajun and Creole cuisine such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, and also some of the best cornbread I have ever enjoyed in Tampa. The chefs were brought from New Orleans back in 2014 for a true experience for fans of the cuisine to enjoy.
Datz Restaurant Group is currently busy opening new restaurants across the bridge including most recently their Datz St. Petersburg branch and a cafe inside The James Museum. A new Datz location is also opening soon in Brandon.
Tampa Chef Rosana Rivera made history as the first Latina woman to beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network on December 26th, 2019. She first beat her husband and business partner, Chef Ricardo Castro, in an elimination round before Bobby Flay using the papaya secret ingredient on a special episode called “It Must’ve Been Love”.
Bobby Flay has a fairly high win-ration that is over 60% of his competitions so this is no small victory for Chef Rosana Rivera.
Chef Rosana Rivera beat Bobby Flay with her beef empanada recipe. Flay had equipment malfunctions during the battle and a track record of empanada fails.
“This experience has been one of the highlights of my year. I feel super proud as a Female Chef, Entrepreneur, Puerto Rican, and Tampanian to have had the honor to not only participate in Beat Bobby Flay but to have competed against Ricardo, my other half in business and life. Ricardo is a Chef that has my utmost admiration. Most importantly, competing against Iron Chef Bobby Flay is an experience I will never forget. I have a deep respect for his talent, charisma, and the amazing team that works with him. It is an honor that I was able to cook side by side with him, compete against him, and can proudly say I Beat Bobby Flay,” said Chef Rosana on her win.
The couple previously owned the French-inspired bakery Piquant and are currently proprietors of Xilo at The Hall on Franklin in Tampa. The Chefs also own R2 Provisions, a national catering company, and a gourmet food truck. Additionally, they also own Kofe, The Hall on Franklin’s in-house coffee bar.
Yum Yum Hot Pot AYCE has opened in Temple Terrace just minutes from USF and Tampa’s Uptown just in time for Christmas. It joins the nearby Hot Pot BBQ on Fowler Avenue as one of many new Asian businesses to the area.
It is located at 11301 North 56th Street Temple Terrace, FL 33617. Yum Yum is open from 4PM-11PM from Sunday to Thursday and from 4PM to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Customers choose their hot pot soup base, custom dipping sauces, and food from the conveyor belt to cook in their soup. There is a 2 hour time limit for all-you-can-eat. Adult AYCE costs $25.99 and kids (age 4-10) are $15.99.
The annual parade has become one of Tampa’s signature holiday events featuring hundreds of festive aquatic vessels as the make their way down the Hillsborough River.
Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The event is also pet-friendly.
Note: outside food, drinks, and coolers are not permitted at Armature Works.
Parking: Parking at Armature Works is free Monday through Thursday and Friday before 4PM, Saturday and Sunday mornings before 11AM. Parking at all other times is $5. In addition, there are over 400 street-side parking spots available. Valet is also available most event nights and weekends. For more information please visit armatureworks.com/parking.
There’s a new installment in an experiential dining series called “The Rooted Door” is coming to Tampa called “LOVE Reimagined”. It aims to be “a fully immersive pop-up that will inspire guests to celebrate the Art of LOVE”.
The pop-up will occur from Tuesday, February 11th to Saturday, Feburary 15th, 2020 (5 nights), just in time for Valentine’s Day week 2020.
The pop-up will occur at Red Door No. 5, in Tampa Heights at 1910 North Florida Avenue. Red Door is one of Tampa’s new destinations for culture and the arts. Originally constructed in 1925 and then was decommissioned as an active fire station in 1986. The building has since been restored.
Popular local chefs, Chef Ferrell Alvarez of Rooster & the Till and Chef Noel Cruz of Ichicoro Ramen, will headline the pop-up. Alvarez and Cruz have opened numerous projects recently around the city and are active participants in local initiatives in Tampa Bay. Chef Ferrell Alvarez is a James-Beard Award nominee.
Guests at the pop-up will walk through different spaces which unveil imaginative cuisine, cocktails, visual and performing arts and take them on a journey of the senses as the space transforms with each course. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
The pop-up will last approximately 2 hours and reservation times include 6:30PM, 7:30PM, 8:30PM, and 9:30PM. Tickets start at $160 and are now on-sale.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarship Award through Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) to continue nurturing Tampa’s flourishing creative scene and support future creators in the community.
TBBCA has annually awarded six or more scholarships to some of the most talented and deserving Tampa Bay area high school students, providing valuable financial assistance since 2008.
“Love Reimagined” is being organized by PASK Productions, “an experiential event marketing and branding agency delivers premium services to high-end clientele across the country.”
Their collaborations with brands include Hennessy Cognac, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, Cirque du Soleil, CORZO Tequila , L’OREAL Paris, DUSSE Cognac, OXLEY Gin, ULTRA Music Festival, National Young Arts Foundation, Art Basel, and Beats by Dre among others.
Foundation Coffee has left Sparkman Wharf after the end of their lease the space is now occupied by Blind Tiger Cafe. Blind Tiger has been rapidly growing in the last two years with new locations in South Tampa, Westchase, WestShore, Downtown Tampa, and now a parcel at Sparkman Wharf.
Foundation Coffee responded to a request for comment: “We could get into a very detailed explanation but suffice to say it was wrong timing for Foundation Coffee. Please join us at our flagship location at 1617 N. Franklin Street in Tampa or our totally outdoor venue at 10020 Carr Rd. In Riverview. Thanks.”
Some of the locations are unconventional and previously were occupied with other coffee companies, for example their recent acquisition at WestShore Plaza replaced Starbucks Coffee. Third wave coffee has been rapidly growing in the past year with Spaddy’s Coffee expanding, Buddy Brew and Kahwa moving into the grocery business, King State opening their first cafe, and a number of new upstarts opening on both sides of Tampa Bay.
The food hall boom has helped to fuel these expansions across the bay area.
One has to wonder when the market for third wave coffee is going to saturate, but so far it doesn’t seem to be too unstable. There have been a handful of closings including most recently the LCPX Cafe on Armenia Avenue and Mountaineer Coffee in Oldsmar.
Most of popular third wave coffee shops are concentrated in the South Tampa, Downtown Tampa, and Seminole Heights area. It would be interesting to see successful third wave coffee shops in the more scattered parts of town such as in Brandon and Carrollwood which for now just seem to be saturated with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations.
Blind Tiger opens at Sparkman Wharf in Downtown Tampa on Friday, December 13th, 2019.
Tampa chefs, Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro will take their talent to the masses in America on Thursday, December 26th when they compete on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay”. The chefs currently own Xilo Mexican at The Hall on Franklin and focus on serving fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine. I stopped by last weekend to sit down with Chef Castro and discuss how they got here and where they are going.
Chef Rivera and Castro are best known for their past project called Piquant, a popular French bakery concept that was located first in Hyde Park Village and then West Tampa. The project was supplying the Tampa Bay area with fresh breads and pastries and certainly a local pioneer in that space where French bakeries are far and few between.
Their Kouign-Amann was a personal favorite and when I went west to San Francisco, I was amazed and how the ideas that Rivera and Castro brought to Tampa Bay area are so huge out there and still mostly unknown out here. Piquant went through various cycles, but was ultimately closed much to my dismay.
When Chef Rivera and Chef Castro opened Xilo at Hall on Franklin, I wasn’t sure what inspired the move to Mexican cuisine. Castro explained to me that the idea to make Mexican food came from their unique past. Castro was trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York City and he volunteered at a church where he was trained on Mexican sauces and cuisine.
Rivera previously worked for a corporation that regularly flew her around Mexico and exposed her to many of the regional cuisines of the area. When deciding on a concept, Mexican came to them as something both different for the area and something that they could both uniquely bring to the table.
Slowly the chefs have added items to the menu that are representative of their love for Mexican cuisine including brunch options such as chilaquiles. They are one of the only vendors that are open during breakfast at the food hall.
When the chefs entered Hall on Franklin they also took control of the Kofe Tampa shop and have slowly moved into coffee as a business, with prior experience selling their own proprietary roasted blend at their bakery. Soon they will move toward plans to provide their coffee on a bigger scale with a more wholesale focus.
Their coffee can best be described as a truly Latin roast with bold espresso flavors.
The future may hold more restaurant locations in the Tampa Bay area, although the chefs are still considering potential locations across the state of Florida. They are well-traveled and have received much of their inspiration from past culinary projects and mentors. Hopefully their love for baking will also be a part of these next moves.
One thing that is clear is that both these chefs are passionate about food and are passionate about baking. Their debut on the Food Network is a great win for Tampa and also for themselves. Latinx representation is still lacking on Food Network and in the food industry in general.
Let’s hope they can beat Bobby Flay. Catch Chef Rosana Rivera and Chef Ricardo Castro on Food Network at 10:30PM EST on Thursday, December 26th. Free tickets are available to their watch party on Eventbrite that will run from 8:30PM to 11:30PM at Hall on Franklin.
Xilo Mexican.The Hall on Franklin. 1701 N Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602.
Full disclosure: I was invited to Council Oak Steaks & Seafood for a media dinner where food was served complimentary. These opinions are my own and do not reflect Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Tampa is a happy hour town. You can wander to most bars and find a decent happy hour menu with cheeses, small bites, and discounted cocktails on any given day of the week. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa is doing things are little differently at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood.
Instead of offering heavily discounted appetizers with tiny bites, Council Oak has opted instead to provide diners with shareable entries that offer complexity in flavors that you might not find anywhere else in Tampa. The price points will run anywhere from $10 to $40 depending on the item.
The most noticeable item on the menu, which occurs daily from 3PM-6PM for a limited time, is the Japanese Wagyu Carpaccio ($15). I am a fan of beef carpaccio in general, but the bold flavors of the wagyu on top of a crostini is not to be missed. The heavy flavors of the meats on the menu almost ensures you are going to want beer or a cocktail to wash down your food and luckily they have provided some great choices.
During my visit I had the Vina Cobos Felino Malbec ($12) which was a great red to pair with the meat dishes, especially the Council Oak Prime Burger ($22), rich with flavor and an egg with yolk that will run all over your tongue. The portion is generous, but the price certainly makes this something you want to share. The added truffle fries are just another layer in a meal that will most certainly be a pleasant trip for diners.
The Council Oak Bacon ($14), aged in-house, is for true believers only. Four thick slabs of bacon will arrive on your table with a tiny side salad. The balsamic reduction will perfectly complement the fatty pork in your mouth. It reminds me of a millionaire’s bacon, but more refined.
For those looking for something on the lighter side, there is the Council Oak House Salad ($11). This salad features salami, prosciutto, bacon, tomatoes, egg, mozzarella, and house dressing. It is an excellent salad and perfect with some wine. The tomatoes and dried egg yolk on top is my favorite part. The salami is also excellent and noticeably not too salty.
There are several other options on the social hour menu such as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Tuna Tartare, Caesar Salad, a N.Y. Strip Steak Sandwich, and a Beef Tenderloin, but personally I wanted to experience things I can’t find anywhere else. I would still be interested in trying them in the future though after seeing how masterfully everything was served at Council Oak for social hour.
Social Hour at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood offers excellent options that can be shared by diners before a night on the town. The elegant environment of the bar complements the menu that seems to have been carefully planned. I recommend stopping by soon to try it.