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Tampa's Blackbrick Chinese opens next month, Burger Week is back, plus more local food news | Openings & Closings | Tampa

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31 tall St. Pete’s Grand Central District is getting a new late-night destination, and it’s opening out of an iconic Central Avenue space. 31 Grand—a new sports bar and cigar lounge—plans to soft open within the next few weeks, although an exact debut date has yet to be set in stone. The new downtown hotspot is located at 3063 Central Ave., home to the recently-closed Punky’s. Bella Rouse, 31 Grand’s Assistant General Manager, tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that a decent amount of renovations have been done over the course of the last few months—but Punky’s former customers might still recognize the floor plan. Although Rouse can’t disclose 31 Grand’s food offerings just yet, she describes its menu as “Southern-inspired casual that’s not your average bar food.” In addition to a variety of craft cocktails, beer and wine, St. Pete’s newest bar will also sell a wide selection of cigars. Its large patio is the ideal spot to puff on cigars and watch your favorite team, but it will also host live music throughout the week as well, similar to its predecessor. 3063 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Coming soon

Cane & Barrel Sunset views are highly coveted throughout The Burg’, and the city’s newest rooftop destination is headed right to the heart of downtown St. Pete. Cane & Barrel, a Cuban-inspired rooftop bar and cocktail lounge, is slated to open early next year. St. Pete Rising says The Burg’s newest rooftop bar will be located on the 8th floor of the 36-story hotel and apartment tower being built at 110 2nd St. N. Ascent St. Pete—the massive $117 million dollar mixed-use building that also houses an AC Marriott hotel—is currently being constructed by the South Carolina-based Greystar Real Estate Partners. Renderings from Ellis Adams Group, a California-based design firm, depict Cane & Barrel as a brightly-colored, high-end space with a Caribbean flare. As SPR details, its decor is inspired by The Sunshine State’s flora and fauna, and will boast earthy tones alongside its vibrant patterns. 110 2nd St. N, St. Petersburg.


Savor St. Pete Downtown St. Pete is already a hub for fine wine, great eats and beautiful waterfront views—but next weekend’s foodie festival brings all three of those things together. The 10th installment of Savor St. Pete, a local food and wine fest, transforms North Straub Park into a 25,000 square-foot culinary destination on Saturday-Sunday Nov. 5-6. Pinellas-based restaurants dishing eats at next weekend’s festival include 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse, Bavaro’s, Bolay, Sculley’s, Tijuana Flats, Tryst and the recently-opened Beach Drive eatery Alello—among many more. General admission tickets run for a hefty $95, but give guests access to unlimited food, beer and wine samples from some of the most popular restaurants, chefs, breweries and wineries in Tampa Bay—in addition to swag from the festival’s sponsors. VIP tickets cost $125, but come with earlier access and a private tent to enjoy your food and wine in. In addition to unlimited food and drink samples, attendees will also have the chance to learn from different mixology sessions and cooking demonstrations taking place throughout the festival. 400 Bayshore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg,

Tampa Bay Burger Week This exciting week of beef returns for its 2022 installation, and it once again features a wide variety of dine-in and take-out specials from restaurants on both sides of Tampa Bay. You can partake in these exclusive burger deals from Thursday, Nov. 3 to Sunday, Nov. 13. Restaurants that are offering burger specials for $10 & under include 211 Restaurant and Lounge, American Social, Big Storm Brewing Co., Birch & Vine, Burger Monger, Haven, Butter’s Burgers, Chicago’s Best Burgers, Coppertail Brewing Co., Daily Eats and many, many more. The full list of participating restaurants can be found at—where you can also check out some mouthwatering photos and videos of last year’s deals. New to Tampa Bay Burger Week this year is a social media contest to win specialty cheeses from Cabo, a Northeastern creamery that’s been in the business for over 100 years, as well as gift certificates from select restaurants.


Tampa food hall concept, The Hall at Midtown, isn’t happening Tampa’s first food hall, The Hall on Franklin, closed back in 2020 and now it appears its sister concept at Midtown Tampa won’t open at all. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Atlanta-based decor company Ballard Design plans to move into Midtown Tampa’s The Loft building at 1191 Gramercy Ln.—the space initially leased to what would’ve been called Hall at Midtown. The furniture and decor store will move from its current location at International Plaza to Midtown Tampa by early next year. As of right now, there is no other upcoming location for the Hall at Midtown. Owner Jamal Wilson, a professional basketball player-turned-entrepreneur, is known for taking a modern approach to food halls. His multi-restaurant concepts offer a more cohesive and full service experience than guests are used to. According to @thehallmidtown’s Instagram, the massive Tampa food hall was slated to open in April 2021, with no updates since last year. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reached out to Wilson for comment, but has yet to hear back. @thehallmidtown on Instagram

Chef Richard Hales postpones the grand opening of his restaurant Blackbrick The Raymond James Stadium-adjacent restaurant Blackbrick was originally slated to open on Tuesday, Oct. 25—but Hurricane Ian clearly had other plans. Chef Richard Hales recently updated Creative Loafing with its new grand opening date of Tuesday, Nov. 15. The location itself—an incredibly prime spot near the ever-growing Midtown Tampa development—will seat 150 total bosses ( 98 inside and 52 outside) in addition to an outdoor patio that will boast its own to-go menu. To preview the extensive offerings of this modern Chinese eatery—known for its hand-folded dumplings, noodles and dim sum—head to 4812 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa.

The Tampa Edition and Chef John Fraser marks major shift in flavor and palette of local culture Inside his Lilac restaurant last Friday afternoon, Chef John Fraser explained that he’s been learning more about Tampeño flavor. “I’ve gotten to know what I think the palette of Tampa is, and I think it’s shifting,” Fraser told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, adding that one of his local favorite bites is the cobia collar at Seminole Heights’ Rooster & the Till . “There is depth of flavor and sort of a heft that’s expected in what would be considered a great meal here,” he said. Fraser, who earned Michelin stars at his Dovetail and Nix concepts, said he cooks from a position that sees him lean on flavors and textures that are very light, bright and clear. The menu at Lilac—nestled cozily into the western end of the lobby inside Tampa’s posh, new Tampa Edition hotel (stylized “EDITION”)—reflects that with its modern Mediterranean menu anchored in Fraser’s vegetable-forward philosophy. While Tampa received three Bib Gourmands in its Michelin debut, our restaurant scene was shut out when it came to stars. Much of the chatter around Lilac is about Fraser—who also helms Tampa Edition’s Azure, Market, Lobby Bar and Pool Bar concepts—changing that. —Ray Roa