Red Mesa teams tops Il Ritorno in revival of St. Pete's 'Midnight Chef Fight' series [PHOTOS]

Last Monday, almost 50 hungry diners gathered at downtown St. Petersburg’s Il Ritorno (stylized “IL Ritorno”) for a weekday service that was…

By Kyla Fields

Chef Chris Fernandez of Red Mesa (L) and Il Ritorno's Executive Chef David Benstock in St. Petersburg, Florida on July 8, 2024.
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Central Park, St. Pete’s new, five-story food hall, plans fall opening

It's been about three years since St. Pete's new food hall broke ground, and its highly-anticipated grand opening is finally on the…

By Kyla Fields

Central Park, St. Pete’s new, five-story food hall, plans fall opening
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35 legit Tampa Bay dive bars you should get a drink at right now

National Dive Bar Day falls on July 7, and this year it happens to be on a Sunday, which is arguably one…

By Jourdan Ducat

Fox and Hounds British Pub 
229 E Brandon Blvd., Brandon, 813-438-8913
This Brandon staple is a cozy spot that claims to be the oldest pub in town. Locals come here to watch the game with a pint or have bites of a burger in between darts or pool. The dark wood furnishings and traditional decor will make you feel like you're actually across the pond, as will their traditional English breakfast (served on Sundays only).
   Photo via Fox and Hounds British Pub/Facebook
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Quiz: Only the most seasoned drinkers can identify these 11 Tampa Bay dive bars

National Dive Bar Day is on Sunday, July 7. The Bay area has no shortage of watering holes you have to try…

By Ray Roa

Quiz: Only the most seasoned drinkers can identify these 11 Tampa Bay dive bars
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Tampa Bay restaurants and bars that have closed so far in 2024

While 2024 has been pretty good to Tampa Bay's dining scene, with plenty of new spots popping up and five restaurants scoring…

By CL Staff

Stone Soup Company
1919 E 7th Ave., Ybor City
 One of the more seasoned businesses along Ybor City's bustling 7th Avenue took to social media to announce its abrupt closure in late April. “Effective immediately, The Stone Soup Company will cease operations. We would like to thank all the current and past employees, the Ybor and Tampa community, and our guests who have supported us over the last 13 years,” ownership wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook today. “We appreciated the opportunity to serve you all! Thank you!” The casual restaurant was known for its menu of Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, burgers, salads and of course, soup—which ranged from lobster bisque and chicken noodle to tomato basil and Spanish black bean. Beer, wine, and cocktails were offered, too. The Stone Soup Company’s original owner Ilya Benjamin Goldberg opened his Ybor City restaurant in 2009 and its reputation for tasty Cuban sammies and quick service grew over the years, as well as its sizable "Best of the Bay" award collection.
Photo via StoneSoupCompany/Facebook
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Eve, a new St. Pete Mediterranean restaurant and lounge, opens this winter

St. Petersburg is on the “Eve” of welcoming another culinary option  this winter thanks to a new concept from restaurateur Shan Bakrac.…

By Chuck Merlis

Renderings of Eve, coming to St. Petersburg, Florida in winter 2024.
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Here are some of Tampa Bay's best food pop-ups, from bánh mì to barbecue

Somewhere between the world of full-service restaurants, personal chef gigs and the casual nature of food trucks lies the persevering pop-up—a low…

By Kyla Fields

Taco Wizard
Where to find it: Green Bench Brewing Co., Cellarmasters
This St. Pete-based, “nomadic radical taqueria pop-up” nixtamalizes their own masa and makes their own tortillas, topping with gut-punching flavors like “pho birria” with short rib, oxtail, chihuahua cheese, chilis, herbs and consomme for dipping. While its menu is constantly changing, owner Mike Roberts says that the pho birria, as well as his crab tostada topped with fermented hot sauce, mango pico and guacamole, are Taco Wizard mainstays. These globally-inspired tacos aren’t slung often, so keep an eye out for its next pop-up, which will probably happen towards the end of summer.
Photo by Madison Rae Photo
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Tampa Bay Restaurant Week has arrived—here are all the special menus and prices

Tampa Bay Restaurant Week is here, and nearly 60 restaurants across the Bay area have teamed up with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay…

By Ray Roa

The Dan

($40/person, dine-in). 905 N Florida Ave., Tampa

Photo via TheDan/Facebook
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Photos: All the Tampa Bay food lovers we saw at Meet The Chefs

The Tampa Bay area is home to a plethora of talented chefs, and a nice lineup of them turned downtown Tampa into…

By Ray Roa

Photos: All the Tampa Bay food lovers we saw at Meet The Chefs
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Remembering Tampa Bay's classic gay bars that no longer exist

St. Petersburg poet and author Tyler Gillespie once noted how he struggled with his outlawed sexuality in the day, then spent the…

By Ray Roa

Bedrox Located on the beach at 8000 W Gulf Blvd. in Treasure Island, the service was great at Bedrox where no shirt and no shoes were no problem. The spot, a former Penguin Club that looked like an igloo, was hard to miss, too, since some people thought it looked like a set for “The Flintstones.” Owners filed for bankruptcy in 1996, and Bed Rox closed in 1997. The Sunset Beach Pavilion stands there now.
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Photos: Everyone we saw partying during Margarita Wars 2024 in St. Pete

Tampa Bay had a boozy night at the museum last Friday when Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s 2024 edition of Margarita Wars took…

By Ray Roa

Margarita Wars at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida on May 17, 2024.
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Here's what to expect at the 2024 Margarita Wars in St. Pete

Do you have your tickets to this Friday's Margarita Wars at the James Museum of Western Art in St. Pete?  Don't miss…

By Jaime Monzon

JOTORO Kitchen + Tequila Bar
615 Channelside Dr Suite 114, Tampa
The Tipsy Mono - Banana Infused El Tesoro Reposado, Chocolate infused Cointreau, Fresh Lime Juice, Fresh OJ, Banana, and Chocolate
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The 25 best restaurants and bars with a view in Tampa Bay

Whether it's beachside views or skyline views, Tampa Bay is truly a looker, and quite a few of our local restaurants and bars…

By CL Staff

Pool Bar at Tampa Edition
500 Channelside Dr., Tampa
Offering 360 degree views of downtown Tampa, the Pool Bar at Tampa Edition is arguably one of the best place to perch up with a cocktail. Besides booze, the space also offers a full menu of light bites, and heavier entrees like burgers, swordfish kababs, and more, with the hotel's Azure just a step away.
Photo via Tampa Edition
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The 25 most popular Tampa Bay restaurants right now, according to Yelp

Everybody's got an opinion about Tampa Bay restaurants. As of late, our local eateries have been getting some serious shine.  In April,…

By CL Staff

 13. Hellas Restaurant & Bakery
785 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs
"One of my ultimate fav spots in Tarpon Springs Florida! The cocktails are so tasty and perfect, I always get the white sangria! The authentic taste of Greece with their chicken souvlaki and Greek salad. The chicken souvlaki is perfectly seasoned and grilled to perfection, while the Greek salad bursts with freshness and flavor from crisp vegetables and tangy feta cheese. Overall, a delightful culinary experience that transports you to the Mediterranean with every bite." - Christina B. 
Photo via Hellas Restaurant & Bakery/Website
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20 under-the-radar Tampa Bay taco spots everyone needs to try

Tampa Bay's taco scene recently got some major praise, when Michelin gave local newbie Streetlight Taco a coveted Bib Gourmand distinction. And…

By CL Staff

Ranchero Tacos
4901 N Florida Ave., Tampa
This joint was CL's Best of the Bay's 2021 "Best Seminole Heights Restaurant," and for good reason – tortillas are fresh and pressed to order and carnitas are juicy and crispy. Also, don’t sleep on the weekend-only tamales.
Photo via Ranchero Tacos/website
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The 20 hottest new Tampa Bay restaurants and bars to open so far in 2024

When it comes to new local eats, there's a lot to be excited about in 2024, and so far this year is…

By CL Staff

Dunedin Mix
990 Broadway, Dunedin
Mixed-use food hall and retail space Dunedin Mix opened its doors in February, with a number of concepts calling it home including Polynesian eatery Huli Bowl and Rotisserie, Italian spot Al Dente and a globally-inspired tapas restaurant called Spoons. The centerpiece of the food hall's shared dining room is certainly its rotating bar called Circle 1852. The 360-degree circular bar is decorated like a traditional carousel and slowly rotates around while patrons sip on craft cocktails, beer and wine.
Photo via DunedinMix/Facebook
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Tampa Bay Taco Week 2024: Here are some of the exclusive specials happening at the best Bay area restaurants

Tampa Bay Taco Week is here. For 10 delicious days—April 18-28—close to two dozen Bay area restaurants are offering exclusive specials. Have…

By Leigh Wilson

Red Mesa Restaurant
4912 4th St. N, St. Petersburg

Street Tacos: Chicken, Brisket or Sirloin. Chile guajillo, encurtido, pickled red onion, cilantro, corn tortillas. $16
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Tampa Bay is flush with strip malls, but which ones have the best lineup of stores?

There's a little strip mall on Fowler Avenue where you can buy medical marijuana, eat a spicy chicken sandwich and then browse…

By Colin Wolf

Britton Plaza
Plaza Roster Highlights: Play it Again Sports, Tapper Pub, Burlington, Publix, Tampa Buffett 
Though it's a shell of its former self, Britton Plaza is still one of Tampa's most iconic shopping centers. Sure, the Plaza 8 movie theater was converted into a mega church, and Big Lots, Stein Mart, and Tuesday Morning have all packed up and left. But the 30-acre plaza still has some worthy tenants like Tapper Pub, a decent BCF and the area's best Taco Bell. 
3802-3950 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa
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Tarpon Springs Castle Winery is now for sale

A fully-operational winery is now on the market in downtown Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs Castle Winery, located at 320 E Tarpon Ave.,…

By Colin Wolf

Tarpon Springs Castle Winery is now for sale
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Here's how Barstool boss Dave Portnoy ranked Tampa Bay pizza spots

Last month, infamous Barstool Sports empire builder Dave Portnoy had eyes across Tampa Bay on him, as he brought his “One Bite…

By Ray Roa

Forbici (7.9)
1633 W Snow Ave., Tampa
In Hyde Park Village, this laid back restaurant was in Portnoy’s favorite Tampa neighborhood. He thought the rectangle pie resembled a Detroit style, and said the pizza tasted lighter than he expected. “If people want to argue that this is their favorite pizza in Tampa Bay, I wouldn’t say they’re crazy,” he added.
Photo via One Bite Pizza Reviews/YouTube
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Seminole Heights restaurant Gangchu is on the market for $1.9 million

Roughly three years after its Seminole Heights debut, Korean fried chicken concept Gangchu Chicken and Beer is now for sale. Located at…

By Colin Wolf, Ray Roa

Seminole Heights restaurant Gangchu is on the market for $1.9 million
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PhilFest, Tampa’s massive celebration of Filipino culture, returns this weekend

For many Filipinos in the greater Tampa Bay area, attending Philfest with their family, or even participating in its many festivities, can…

By Kyla Fields

After record 2023 attendance, PhilFest, Tampa’s massive celebration of Filipino culture, returns this weekend
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Photos from Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's Brunched 2024

Tampa Bay's premier all-you-can-eat and drink brunch party went down last Saturday, March 9,  at the Tampa River Center. Creative Loafing's annual…

By CL Staff

Photos from Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's Brunched 2024
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25 new restaurants coming to Tampa Bay this spring and summer

We're only a few months into 2024, and Tampa Bay's restaurant scene is starting to heat up. So far this year, six…

By CL Staff

Casa Cami 
2545 N Rocky Point Dr., Tampa
Building permits show that Casa Cami is located on the 10th floor of Tampa’s Current Hotel at 2545 N Rocky Point Dr., right around the corner from the Rusty Pelican and The Rocky Pointe Cafe. Casa Cami will take the place of Rox, which opened in the same space back in 2019. Casa Cami’s social media says that it’s slated to debut in mid-March, although an exact opening date is not yet determined. Construction plans depict Casa Cami's indoor bar, a full-service kitchen and a variety of outdoor seating on its sprawling rooftop terrace. According to, Oxford Commons' newest hospitality concept will offer a spread of tacos and salsas, salads, small plates of ceviche, snapper crudo, flautas and blistered shishitos alongside entrees like bistec with mojo butter, shrimp fajitas and green chili chicken over a sweet plantain hash.
Photo via Casa Cami
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Craft, Tampa's first dining river cruise, will open March 8

Craft, a new, highly-anticipated river cruise experience in downtown Tampa, is ready to finally set sail. This morning, parent company Yacht Starship…

By Colin Wolf

Craft, Tampa's first dining river cruise, will open March 8
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The best Tampa Bay bars and restaurants for watching sports

It’s here, the Taylor Swift bowl, but sports aren’t important on just one Sunday a year, so here are some of the…

By Jourdan Ducat, CL Staff

Yuengling Draft Haus & Kitchen
We all know it as “America’s oldest brewery” and the favorite beer of middle aged and boomer dads across the nation: Yuengling. The 
popular brewery opened a massive, state-of-the-art restaurant and beer garden in 2023 and it’s probably your dad’s favorite place to watch his team. It boasts five total bars and 88 different taps of lagers, ales and more. 
11109 N. 30th St., Tampa
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27 Black-owned restaurants in Tampa Bay everyone should visit

There's plenty of praise to pass around when it comes to Tampa Bay's restaurants. But any examination of our local dining scene…

By Tyana Rodgers, Colin Wolf, Kyla Fields

Gabby Bakes 
Various locations
Thirty-one year-old Tampa resident Gabby Duncan is the one-woman-show and creative mastermind behind Gabby Bakes. The self-taught baker launched her small business right before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and it’s swiftly evolved into one of the most popular food pop-ups in all of Tampa Bay and recently opened a brick-and-mortar in Seminole Heights.
Photo by Ivana Cajina
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Photos: Everyone we saw checking out The New Rulers at St. Pete’s Bacon & BBQ Festival

One heck of a meat up went down at St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park last weekend where, on Saturday, The New Rulers roacksteadied…

By Ray Roa

The New Rulers play Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida on Jan. 13, 2024.
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Barbie Funnel Cakes, Pop Rocks Pickles: All the over-the-top food coming to the 2024 Florida State Fair

Besides farm animals, carnival rides, and mildly famous musicians, the other vital pillar of any respectable state fair is big, dumb, (preferably…

By CL Staff

Kosher pickle wrapped in a Fruit Roll-up dipped in chocolate rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles, or Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Location: Shockley's Food Service
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New bar at Hyde Park boutique hotel Palihouse now open to public

A new watering hole inside Hyde Park Village's shiniest new boutique hotel is now open in South Tampa. The 36-room Palihouse Hyde…

By Colin Wolf

New bar at Hyde Park boutique hotel Palihouse now open to public
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