Tampa Bay restaurant news, food and deals: Burger 21, Carmel Cafe and Taco Bus

A new entry in my round-up of Tampa Bay fun restaurant openings, sad closings, deals, discounts and other news in the local food and drink scene. Want to stay on top of this stuff? I update TampaPlanet.com almost daily about restaurant news in Tampa Bay.

The News

A cool foodie trip to Italy! I’m leading a foodie extraordinaire vacation on September 4 – 10, 2011 to Tuscany, Italy. Pack your bags folks… you’re in for a delicious ride. Want to come with? Read the details.

Yummy House to open new location. Times staff writer Amy Scherzer reported that the owner of the uber popular Yummy House Chinese restaurant on Waters Avenue in Tampa plans to open a second location at 2620 E Hillsborough Ave that will seat 200 diners.

A new speakeasy, Ruby’s Elixir, opened in St. Pete. They are “going to focus on live music, mixology and conversation…”

Taco Bus opened January 19th at their new location in St. Pete Was just informed that the bus has arrived, but Taco Bus is not open yet. They have to set up the site, get the proper permits and jump through all the government/legal hoops first. Should be sometime in February, according to their PR folks. See photos on Facebook.

Emilio’s Bistro, Bakery and Bar in St. Pete has closed. More information.

Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Channelside has also closed and Pepin Restaurant on 4th Street in St. Pete will close by the end of January.

Texas de Brazil (warning: sound) is set to open by the end of February. Will be joining its other chain restaurant friends in the MetLife complex on Boy Scout Boulevard in Tampa.

Cigar City Brewing and Hooker Tea Company teamed up to create a very limited beer to mark the opening of the new Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg. Surreal Beer — an American amber wheat ale combined with a special blend of rooibo tea leaves from South Africa — was poured during a special members-only reception at the museum. Only available for sale at Cigar City Brewing, if there’s still any left.

Square 1 Burgers expands to Sarasota. You knew it would happen. The Square 1 Burger Bar concept is so… so.. chain-like. But still delicious. Website of new location.

Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar opens. Operated by a bunch of Outback folks — including the former general manager of Fleming’s Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Keith Sedita — Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar in Clearwater offers Mediterranean small plates and a selection of wines from the old and new worlds. Contributing local chefs include Rand Packer, Fernando Rodriguez, and Jeannie Pierola. More to come. Their website.

Read the glowing restaurant review that sent SideBern’s into LaLa Land happiness.

Review: Restaurant BT’s new location. Back in April of this year, after struggling for months with her landlord in Hyde Park Village, Chef BT Nguyen decided to declare bankruptcy and walk away from her restaurant’s home for the past five years. And, after being absent the food scene only a short while, she set up shop in a former kitchen supply store on South MacDill in Tampa. Read it and drool.

Tampa food scene podcast. Back in December, I recorded a podcast with Tampa Tribune food writer, Jeff Houck, covering all things food and wine in our fair city. New restaurants, best restaurants and great wines.

The founder of iconic Tampa Cuban restaurant, La Teresita, Maximino Capdevilla recently passed away at 82. Read more in the St. Pete Times.

Bern’s Steakhouse Finds $30k Bottle. It happens all the time… the Bern’s Steakhouse sommeliers “find” a full case of 1983 this or a 1977 case of that. Just laying around in one of their many plain, white warehouse cellars which line South Howard Avenue in Tampa. But this most recent wine find is a doozy. Read the details.

Burger 21 is a new spot in Westchase where Chris Ponte did the menu. It’s a chain-in-the-making, backed by the Melting Pot folks.  Jim Webster’s review.

National News

FTC nixes Dannon yogurt’s health claims. Dannon, which has been aggressively marketing its Activia line of yogurts, must stop making unsubstantiated health claims effective immediately and $21M in damages. Read the details.

Celebrating Tampa’s cheapness. The top ten most frugal cities has been revealed, through a report released by Coupons.com. Tampa came in second after Atlanta as one of the Top 20 Most Frugal Cities of 2010. Not sure this is an honor to herald but Tampa cashed in with coupons amounting to $863.00 in savings. See the other cities.

The Deals

Locally-based Crowdsavings.com has regular restaurant gift certificate deals, at places all over the Bay. In addition, they have some other unique deals like spas, hypnotists and getaways.  Sign up to receive their daily notices.

Half-priced wine night at Bin 27.  Bin 27 in Tampa slashes its wine bottle prices in half every Wednesday night. While you’re there, try out the Hawaiian Tuna Tartar and Fried Goat Cheese. Their website.

Burger Monger in Carrollwood has $5 burgers every Monday.

Datz Deli is celebrating their 2 year anniversary with $5 Reubens on 1/28 starting at 11am.

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2 comments to Tampa Bay restaurant news, food and deals: Burger 21, Carmel Cafe and Taco Bus

  • Thank you for the great piece on Carmel Cafe Taylor
    I would love to have you come to the restaurant. Please email me so we can set this up. Best Judi Gallagher

  • rishi ramkissoon

    I tried Burger 21 last Friday, I am a huge fan of Cafe Ponte so I was aching to try his hamburgers. The Gyro burger was amazingly good: you can`t beat ground lamb on a brioche bun. Next time I will try the hot dogs and milkshake. What is really cool is you can grab a good ole tasty hamburger with sweet potato fries to go (since the place usually gets packed) and stroll over to World of Beers, sit on the bar and enjoy your German inspired icon of American cuisine along with a well crafted beer of your choice. You know I think I will do that tonight!=)..I should start a meetup!..call it B21 and a Pint

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