Smashburger plans 35 new restaurants in Florida West Coast

Smashburger opened its first Tampa location last week in South Tampa at 4035 South Dale Mabry Highway and plans to open at least 35 new restaurants along the Florida West Coast in the next 5 to 6 years.

The investment will cost $37 million dollars. Each location will employ 30 people, adding about 1,400 new jobs in total to the region.

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The Denver-based, fast-casual, burger concept is also located in Clearwater and Sarasota. Smashburger was founded in 2007 and serves “made-to-order, never frozen” burgers.

Their localized burger for the Tampa Bay area is the “Media Noche” burger, which contains smoked ham, aged Swiss cheese, pickles, red onion, and mustard on an egg bun. Local craft beer from the area will be a highlight of these locations.

Some would say the Tampa market is over-saturated with burger concepts. I don’t think that is necessarily the case.

There are just a number of low-quality, badly-managed, and overpriced restaurants that have expanded too much and you can see that playing out in the market with bankruptcies and retreats from locations.

The burger business is a $73 billion dollar business and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Smashburger is participating in the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Burger Week and serving their “Sin City Burger” from Vegas for the promotion for $6.69 plus tax. The burger features “signature Smash sauce (a mayo, mustard, relishy blend), topped with a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, and haystack onions”.

I stopped by last week for a taste and my favorite burger was the Truffle Mushroom Swiss. I thought about that burger days after visiting. I don’t care what food snobs say about truffle being overrated, I’ll take some on everything, thank you very much.

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Tampa Theatre Halloween Film Series: A Nightmare on Franklin Street

Celebrate Halloween with the Tampa Theatre for their 5th Annual A Nightmare on Franklin Street. The film series includes back-to-back horror films, ghost tours, special screenings and more.

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The event is sponsored Anheuser-Busch. Additional support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners as well as UNATION.com.

Here is the schedule:

  • Monday, October 23rd: Get Out, The Strangers
  • Tuesday, October 24th:  A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Interview With A Vampire
  • Wednesday, October 25th: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Evil Dead
  • Thursday, October 26th: As Night Falls, Dawn of the Dead
  • Friday, October 27th: The Babadook, The Shining
  • Saturday, October 28th: Frankenweenie, Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, Frankenhooker
  • Sunday, October 29th: Hocus Pocus, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Spirits of the Bay
  • Monday, October 30th: Cat People, From Dusk Till Dawn
  • Tuesday, October 31st: Wallace and Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Halloween, Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill!

Buy tickets: http://tampatheatre.org/fest/a-nightmare-on-franklin-street/

Top 7 Local Pizza Spots in Tampa

Pizza is one of those things that depends on preference. Do you like a cheesy pizza or a saucy pizza? Lots of toppings or just plain cheese? Does pineapple belong on pizza? (the answer is YES) –  I keep things simple normally, but it varies depending on my mood.

Tampa is overrun with corporate pizza chains and plenty of below mediocre strip mall pizza spots, but there are some quality local spots out there as well and they need some love.

Here are my Top 7 Local Pizza Spots in Tampa. Your top choices may vary and that’s okay.

Chicago Style Deep Dish. 👅

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7. Full Circle Pizza Grill: This pizza spot in Wesley Chapel/New Tampa area is not easily accessible to most of Tampa, but trust me the Chicago pie is worth a look if you are in the area. The portion is simply huge so make sure you bring some friends and call ahead to see if they are serving Chicago pizza, because some days it is unavailable. It’s a more affordable option to a Cappy’s Pizza in my opinion. 19651 Bruce B Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647. (813) 994-3700. http://www.fullcirclepizza-grill.com/

6. New York, New York Pizza: Many drunk nights in Ybor City end at New York, New York Pizza. They’ve expanded their reach over the years, but kept the quality pizza there. I would consider their pizza to be up to my standards for a good pizza, tasty cheese and toppings. Most of my visits are reserved for times out in Ybor at night though and nowadays in SoHo as well where they opened another location. 533 S Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 253-3929. http://places.singleplatform.com/new-york-new-york-pizza-11/menu?ref=google

There is a pizza god.

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5. Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar: This is that gourmet pizza place that you take someone to on a date or that you go to with a really good friend or a group gathering and it does get busy. Wood Fired Pizza is a full-service restaurant and has a nice beer selection as well as a tasty butter beer I have enjoyed in the past. The owner is very passionate about pizza and it shows. The prices are on the higher end and will run you around $15-$20 for a pie, but you get your value for sure.  2822 E. Bearss Ave., Tampa, FL 33613. (813) 341-2900.  http://woodfiredpizzatampa.com/

Chicago Style Deep Dish Cappy on #nationaldeepdishpizzaday #tampa #cappyspizza

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4. Cappy’s Pizza: A bit of a Tampa institution. Cappy’s has branches all over the Tampa Bay area. My personal favorite location is their New Tampa location. I feel like the service there has always been stellar and it is never overcrowded. Plus they take card and I’m pretty sure the Seminole Heights location is cash-only. I don’t carry cash in 2017. Cappy’s has a solid NY-pizza, but it is more popular for it’s deep-dish Chicago pizzas. Come hungry. 16019 Tampa Palms Blvd. W, Tampa, FL 33647. (813) 512-8947. http://www.cappyspizzaonline.com/

3. Fabrica Pizza: This Channelside pizza restaurant is like no other in town. The owners roots are in Italy and they are doing their best to provide a quality and authentic Neapolitan pizza. Everything is delicious. The wine is great and so are the meatballs. It is probably one of the best pizza spots in town if we are talking ambiance and located blocks away from the Tampa Riverwalk. Oh and the nutella pizza? To. Die. For. 142 S. Meridian Ave., Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 605-0764. http://www.fabricapizza.com/

I spy pizza pies with my eyes 👀 @sallyspizza @tbbloggers #TampaBayTuesday

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2. Sally O’Neals Pizza Hotline: Many of the restaurants who have survived the many changes on SoHo serve some of the best food in town. Sally O’Neals have been around for over 30 years and this quality pizza is a must for anyone wanting to try the best in town. I first tried their pizza at Taste the Best of Tampa Bay at the Straz Center where a mob of people kept chowing down on their excellent pie. From the first bite, Sally O’Neals changed my opinion about pizza in Tampa.  The quality is there. 1319 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 251-0220. http://sallyonealspizza.com

1. Eddie & Sam’s NY Pizza: There is no denying the magic of Eddie & Sam’s NY Pizza in Downtown Tampa, which has served the area since 1998. The options are numerous and I have never felt disappointed with an experience there. I like pizza by the slice and Eddie & Sam’s serves excellent slices that will brighten even the worst of days. It is the best pizza available in Tampa in value, quality, and it may not be fancy, but who needs fancy when the pizza is going to blow your taste buds away. I’ll be at a quality, local, dive any day over a fancy restaurant. Go to Eddie & Sam’s if you haven’t. We need more like it.  203 E. Twiggs St., Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 229-8500. http://www.eddieandsamspizza.com/

CL Slider Showdown this Wednesday, October 18th

Creative Loafing will kick off their annual Tampa Bay Burger Week this Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 with their inaugural Slider Showdown at The Vault in Downtown Tampa from 6PM to 9PM. They will release their annual burger issue at the competition.

General admission tickets cost $25 in advance until the 17th and then go up to $30 at the door. VIP is $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Buy tickets: http://cltampa.xorbia.com/sliders

VIP includes a slider from each competing restaurant, a private VIP-only area sponsored by The Vault, one complimentary beer or cocktail, side options to accompany the competing sliders, & more.

Participating restaurants include:

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/154627968464861/

Twitter enraged by McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce disaster

McDonald’s enraged Twitter users in yet another PR failure yesterday when they failed to provide enough Szechuan Sauce after touting a special day for Rick and Morty fans to try the rare sauce.

Fans screamed at McDonald’s and threatened legal action. The police were even called to control the riots and lines.

In case you didn’t already think society is heading down a bottomless hole, here is some further evidence:

Celebrate World Food Day October 13th – Help Fundraise for Puerto Rico

Celebrate World Food Day 2017 on Friday, October 13th. Fundraisers will be held worldwide for Puerto Rico relief with World Central Kitchen. World Central Kitchen is a “group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty”. It is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Restaurants and Chefs are coming together for a cause with a number of them pledging to donate 10% of their proceeds on this day to World Central Kitchen.

Chef Jose Andres and his team are doing great work in Puerto Rico helping feed the hungry who have lost access to food due to Hurricane Maria. His efforts continue and this day of fundraising is meant to unite chefs for this cause.

Ciccio Restaurant Group in Tampa Bay has pledged to participate. Their restaurant group operated Ciccio / Water, Daily Eats, Ciccio Cali, Green Lemon, Better Byrd, The Lodge, and Fresh Kitchen. I’ll keep you updated on any restaurants I find in the area participating and also update on social media as well.

It’s not too late to be a part of this effort. Restaurant signups are still being accepted and can be done at: http://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/restaurant-sign-up-wfd/

Find a full list of participating restaurants at: http://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/world-food-day/

Let’s come together for Puerto Rico!

ViVa Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival – Puerto Rico Donation Drive

Looking for somewhere to donate supplies for Puerto Rico and Caribbean relief and those impacted by Hurricane Maria this weekend in Tampa?

This Sunday, October 1st, 2017, ViVa Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival will take place from 11AM-6PM at Centennial Park in Ybor City. The event is a FREE and family-friendly art and culture festival that will celebrate latin culture and food along with live music performances from local bands. The event is presented by Rumba 106.5.

The event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month which is an annual celebration from September 15th to October 15th in the U.S.A.

It celebrates “the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America”. It began “in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988”.

There will be a “Veterans Thunder Alley Booths” to show case a number of Veteran non-profit organizations. These organizations will interact with our community and share their personnel stories and how they are helping our Veterans and first-responders in Tampa.

The event will serve as a drive for Course of Action PR which is organizing for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. They have processed 2.5 million lbs. of supplies and over 600,000 lbs. of water for Puerto Rico, but there is still more to do.

List of supplies needed:
Rice
Beans
Canned food/non-perishable food
Nutrition bars
Tuna packets (not canned)
Drink boxes/packets (juice boxes)
Baby supplies (bottles, diapers, baby wipes, formula, cereal, shampoo, baby lotion, baby powder, etc.)
Small and large generators
Adult diapers and supplies for the elderly
Regular wipes
Water purifiers
Water purification kits
Manual can openers
Clean/new gas cans
Dog/cat food
Personal hygiene/bath care items
Medical supplies (bandaids, peroxide, bandages, etc.)
Paper towels
New Towels
Cots
Air mattresses
New Pillows
Blankets
Toilet paper
Hand sanitizers
Flashlights
Batteries (AA, C, D, 9V)
LED work lights
Walkie talkies/two way radios
Rope
Bailing wire
Tarps
Long extension cords
12V to 120 volt power inverters
MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)
Solar panels for charging batteries
Cell phone chargers
Basic tool kits
Shovels
Hand saws
Power saws
Chainsaws
Drills
Mosquito repellent
Duct and electrical tape

The organization says they have enough clothes and water at this time.

You can donate to Course of Action PR at their main base at 4916 S. Lois Avenue, Tampa, FL from Monday to Saturday from 11:00AM-7:00PM.

Event Name: ViVa Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival

Venue: Centennial Park

Address: 1800 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605

Date & Time: Sunday, October 1st, 2017, 11AM-6PM

Cost: FREE to attend

Website: http://www.vivatampabayfestival.com/

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/276418779433950/

National Coffee Day 2017 Tampa Bay: Deals & Freebies

National Coffee Day is this Friday, September 29th, 2017! Plenty of great coffee shops around Tampa Bay will be celebrating with deals and discounts. Forget Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts – grab yourself some REAL coffee during this celebration.

Here is a list of the deals I’ve been able to find:

  • The Lab (North Hyde Park): Public cupping beginning at 11AM on National Coffee Day.
  • Kraftologee (Brandon/Riverview): Coffee flights for $2 – sample several hot and cold coffee drinks
  • Caffeine (Downtown Tampa & South Tampa): 40% OFF single origin coffee beans. Slow Bar Deals: $1 Aeropress, $1.50 V60, $2 Chemex. $1 Cold Brew Drive-Thru Only Special.
  • Felicitous (USF): BOGO hot brewed coffee from 9AM-11AM
  • Buttermilk Provisions (Wesley Chapel): $1 OFF any large cold brew or hot brew
  • Jet City Espresso (Seminole Heights/Hyde Park): FREE extra shot in any size
  • Kahwa Coffee: BOGO coffee all day long
  • Ginger Beard Coffee (Downtown Tampa/Channelside): $1 drip coffee and $1 OFF cold brews
  • Buddy Brew Coffee: BOGO Cold Brew when you bring a friend.

Here are some coffee quotes to live by as well:

“What do you want?” “Just coffee. Black – like my soul.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” -Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

“Coffee first. Schemes later.” ― Leanna Renee Hieber, Darker Still

“Life’s too short to drink crappy coffee and cry over boys who don’t care.”  -Unknown

“I decide to turn to my old faithful solution to all that is wrong in life. Coffee.”  ― Lisa Renee Jones, If I Were You


Any other local shops doing deals or freebies? Shoot me an email at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com.

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Organic Carrot Turmeric Juice Blend

Recently I’ve been frequenting Trader Joe’s more often. I wish there were more locations in Tampa especially over in Brandon, but for now South Tampa is the place to go to grab some goods. The Organic Carrot Turmeric Juice Blend inspired me to write a review because it was the first carrot juice I have enjoyed in a long time.

I have been searching for healthier juices to have at home and it is harder than you think to find a good juice at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, many local grocery stores in Tampa overcharge for organic and healthy drink choices. I saw a carrot juice for about $9 last week – which is a ton of money where I live and higher than the minimum wage here.

This juice blend at Trader Joe’s is both affordable and delicious at $3.99 for 32 oz. The spices, including an added organic black pepper, give the blend a nice aftertaste and the organic lemon juice balances the blend.

We also added this blend to an organic orange juice we had in the fridge to add some sweetness, but the juice was great even without it.

Here is the nutritional information for this product:

Carrot Juice is also great for Vitamin A, antioxidants, maintaining cholesterol and blood sugar, among other things. Turmeric is known to have plenty of benefits.

I recommend this product!

3rd Annual Putts & Pints fundraiser this Saturday

Brew Bus Brewing will host their 3rd Annual Putts & Pints fundraiser this Saturday, September 30th, from 11AM-4PM.

The brewery will be transformed for a day into a 9-hole mini golf course to raise money for charity. Proceeds will benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer.

Music will be played in-house by a DJ for the brewery and a live musician will be at 10th hole.

The 1st place winner at the fundraiser will win a trophy. Awards will also be given to the best dressed team.

Brew Bus has also partnered with Cigar City Brewing to brew a Gooseberry & Grapefruit IPA for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The craft beer will be sold at Brew Bus on draft or in six-packs as well as at Cigar City and select locations around town.

Tickets range from $10-$15 per person and can be purchased online.

Buy tickets: http://puttsandpints2017.eventbrite.com/

A full lunch menu will also be available including Mojo Roasted Pork Butt, BBQ Spiced Smoked Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Bacon Jalapeno Corn Bread, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, and a vegetarian option by request.

The event is sponsored by USAmeriBankPeople InclivingHRCheney BrosFreedman’s Office FurnitureAdver-T Screen Printing & EmbroideryCommercial Products, McMery Roofing, McMullen Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Keg Craft, Air GasVologyRP&G PrintingThe RIPITT FoundationShea Barclay GroupCreative LoafingJ.J. Taylor Distributing and Gray Robinson Attorneys at Law.

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Event name: 3rd Annual Putts & Pints

Neighborhood: Seminole Heights

Date & Time: Saturday, September 30th, 2017, 11AM-4PM

Cost: $10-$15

Address: 4101 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33603

Buy tickets: http://puttsandpints2017.eventbrite.com/

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/190145294844781/