Tampa Bay restaurant news and deals: Bella Brava, Taps, Cafe Dufrain

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The Restaurant and Food News

  • West Tampa’s NoHo Bistro changes ownership. Founder Jessica Raia-Long sells her restaurant to her partner after nine years. Read the interview.
  • Natalie Merchant openly disses The Columbia Restaurant on stage. Throughout her concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in late August, she complained of stomach pains from her meal at The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Richard Gonzmart retorts by saying: “I’m a frustrated rocker, but I know I should just play in my office.”
  • New bistro and wine bar, Grapevine, opens next to Vegas strip club on Gandy Boulevard. The Grapevine supplies the food and drink and the flesh next door provides the, um, dessert? But the big news is that critically acclaimed Chef Domenica Macchia will be manning the kitchen.
  • Chef Fabrizio Schenardi from Pelagia Trattoria moves to midwest pastures. The new chef has big shoes to fill. Read more.
  • Restaurant BT in Hyde Park Village is moving to a more intimate space at 2507 South MacDill Avenue. Not surprising, after the way her former landlord treated her. (Read more about BT’s bankruptcy filing)
  • Taps Beer and Wine in downtown Tampa now serving liquor. Guess the sucky economy means wine and beer aren’t enough, so Taps goes cocktail.
  • The Independent in Tampa’s Seminole Heights district sports some good grub. A few months ago, The “SHIndy” added a food menu to complement their extensive beer collection. Try the panini and the pizzas.
  • Love’s Artifact’s Bar and Grill is South Tampa’s deliciously charming oasis in a chain-heavy restaurant scene. Read the review.
  • Timpano and Aquaknox restaurants file for bankruptcy protection. The sister restaurants are owned by E-Brands, who will restructure their loans. They remain open during the restructuring.
  • Update: Chateau France has not closed (yet), as reported in a post back in July. Chef/Owner Antoine Lauro is still open for business.
  • Mellow Mushroom Pizza to open location in Hyde Park Village. And Tampa pizza lovers rejoice to have some of the best pies around (OK, I’m biased… from Atlanta), even if they are a chain. Will be opening soon in the old Cactus Club space that has long sat empty.
  • Cru Cellars wine bar opens in South Tampa in the former Gianpiero’s location. New owner Jennifer Bingham says her focus will be offering small production, boutique wines at the bar and for retail. Grand re-opening in October but she’s open for retail now.
  • The famously delicious Taco Bus opens a St. Pete location. Grand Central will soon get its fill of the some of the best carnitas tacos around.
  • Shirley’s Soul Food in St. Pete closes. Iconic popular diner in South St. Pete shuts its doors. Interviews with people who loved the place
  • Bar opening: World of Beers opens new franchise location on South Howard Avenue. Craft beer bar opens new location in the former Mateo’s spot in the SoHo party district. Will MacDinton’s fear the loss of business? More about World of Beers
  • Restaurant news: Bella Brava opens new location on Beach Drive. A much-heralded move for this see-and-be seen spot in downtown St. Pete.
  • Preachers BBQ in St. Petersburg opens. Their Facebook page rants about the ribs, chicken and collard greens. And what’s up with the BBQ feeding frenzy?

The Tampa Bay Restaurant and Bar Deals

  • Tampa Bay Brewing Company grills up $9.99 Steak Nights. Every Monday, feast on a steak (with fixings) for 10 bucks at Tampa Bay Brewing Company.
  • Paddy Burke’s presents Bring Your Own Mug nights. Every Monday, Paddy Burke’s in downtown St. Pete will fill any mug you bring in with free Michelob. Sure, it’s not fancy beer, but it’s free, right?
  • In addition to half-off sushi rolls on Monday Cheap in Tampa’s South Howard district offers $7 one-topping pizzas every Thursday.
  • Takara Sushi at Clearwater’s The Venue offers all you can eat sushi on Tuesdays. A $20 bill will get your fill of fresh sushi, prepared in front of you.
  • Cafe Dufrain $5 lunch specials. Downtown Tampa folks: a hop, skip and a fiver gets you lunch close by
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