South Tampa Front Desk: March/April 2020

TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (above) has expanded its all-access program, which allows the public — those without a plane ticket — to visit the shops and restaurants in its airsides. Previously held just on Saturdays, the airport now runs the program each day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A total of 25 people can visit each airside each day, and visitors must choose one airside per visit.

Tampa was ranked as one of the BEST COLLEGE CITIES in the United States. In a list done by financial website WalletHub, Tampa ranked fourth out of more than 400 cities. WalletHub cited the city’s number of attractions, cost of living, quality of higher education and low crime rate in its ranking.

BUDDY BREW COFFEE is opening its sixth Tampa location. Situated on Palma Ceia’s Bay to Bay Boulevard, the coffee shop will share a space with the ice cream shop Chill Brothers. Founded out of Dave and   Susan Ward’s Hyde Park garage, Buddy Brew opened its first storefront on Kennedy Boulevard in 2010.

Westshore’s first PUBLIX is slated to open February 27. The store took over the building formerly occupied by Sports Authority across from Westshore Plaza. This location is about 35,000 square feet, making it smaller than the company’s average 45,000-square-foot stores.

Tampa Bay’s first SHAKE SHACK will open at Midtown Tampa, developer Bromley Companies announced. Shake Shack first opened in New York City’s Madison Square Park and has become famous for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, crinkle-cut fries and frozen custard. The restaurant will be located at Midtown’s entrance off Cypress Street and is expected to open with the completion of the project’s first phase in early 2021.

The Food Network named the COLUMBIA RESTAURANT’S Cuban sandwich to its list of 100 Best Sandwiches in America list. “Neither the sandwich itself nor its culturally diverse fillings originated in Cuba,” the Food Network said of the Cuban. “It’s like an ode to the cultural fabric that made up its home city when it was created in 1915.” The list was unranked, but other noted sandwiches include the pastrami on rye from New York’s Katz’s Deli and the oyster po’boy from Bevi Seafood in New Orleans.

CIGAR CITY BREWING opened a new taproom at the bottom of the Pam Iorio Parking garage adjacent to Amalie Arena’s west plaza. Beers on tap include Cigar City’s signature Jai Alai, Guayabera and Florida Cracker brews, as well as specialty and seasonal options. The taproom is open on event and select non-event days, and Amalie Arena guests can carry their purchases from the taproom into the arena to enjoy.

The boat-up restaurant PALOMA is the latest addition to the Westshore Marina District’s retail lineup. Paloma will be locally owned and operated by David and Ginger Willis and Scott and Karina Tashkin, the latter of whom are partners in The Getaway. The restaurant will have a second-level indoor and outdoor dining area overlooking the district’s yacht basin on Tampa Bay. An opening date has not yet been announced.

Pastry chef Brenda Villacorta is opening the bakery SUCRÉ TABLE in the former Take Three Café space on West Kennedy Boulevard this spring. Villacorta has competed on a number of Food Network shows, including Halloween Baking Championship and Cake Wars, and trained at Michelin-star restaurants like Le Bernardin and Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. She has teased high-end pastries, as well as custom wedding cakes, on the Sucré Table social media channels.

BLIND TIGER CAFÉ proprietor Roberto Torres is the new owner of Tampa’s Cass Street Deli. General manager Sean O’Brien is staying on to run the shop, which is now open daily and serving breakfast on weekdays in addition to weekends. The deli has slowly been adding new items like pastrami and Swiss meat pies to its regular menu, with an official new menu slated to launch soon.

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