Bulla Gastrobar is coming to the 5,500-square-foot space within the Morrison mixed-use development at 936 S Howard Ave., joining the previously announced Zoe's Kitchen. The Morrison is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017. A Spanish-inspired tapas concept that began in Miami, Bulla's menu will include shared small-plate items such as black foot iberico pork sausage from Salamanca; ahi tuna tartare with mango, avocado, soy sesame vinaigrette and Sriracha aioli; Cubano iberico (bellota ham, piparras, presa billota, tetilla cheese, mustard aioli, pan de cristal); and hazelnut waffles. The restaurant will also offer a variety of larger plates, such as a 45-day dry-aged Bulla burger with piquillo peppers, cipollini onions and a honey thyme glaze, served with truffle fries. Bulla will feature an expansive wine list and a range of Spanish-inspired craft cocktails.
DATZ AND BIG RAY'S
The Tampa Convention Center has just announced big news. Datz and Big Ray's Fish Camp will be added to the culinary lineup in the fall. Currently located in Tampa Bay's Ballast Point, Big Ray's Fish Camp will take up new residence at the Sail, Tampa's 360-degree waterfront bar. Serving up pretty much the freshest seafood in town, Big Ray's will feature U-peel shrimp, shrimp po' boys and killer grouper sandwiches. The menu will also include showstoppers like fried key lime pie and sack doughnuts (here's hoping the lobster corn dogs make the move). Replacing the center's former bistro, Datz is known for its comfort food with flair, with favorites such as Roger's Rockin' Reuben, Carolina on My Mind pulled pork sandwich and the Cheesy Todd burger, as featured on Good Morning America. In addition to the two new eateries, the Tampa Convention Center will get new concessions and portable food carts as more enticing options for convention attendees.
Opened Feb. 25 next to the Powerhouse Gym Athletic Club in Tampa, the Nutrition Factory offers nutrient-dense bowls, wraps, cold-pressed juices and organic "super food" smoothies assembled to order. Paleo? Gluten free? Vegan? They've got your back. Owners Joseph Galloway, who played in the NFL for 16 years, and Michael Youssef, a doctor of medicine, are lifelong best friends with a common focus on the importance of nutrition. 3251 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 280-9659.
UNCLE MADDIO'S PIZZA
In St. Petersburg, Bob and Linda Zamboni have opened the first of five fast casual pizza restaurant to be located in the St. Pete/Clearwater area. After 13 years as McDonald's franchisees, they chose to open their first Uncle Maddio's Pizza location in February at 5226 Fourth St. N, with customizable New York-style pizzas that go from oven to table in less than eight minutes. Guests choose from one of three crusts, including a gluten-free option, more than 40 toppings, six sauces, 27 vegetables and 15 meats. There are also create-your-own salad options and "foldwich" sandwiches, as well as a selection of craft beers and wine.
BEACH BAR AND RESTAURANT
Tampa's Bay Harbor Hotel recently announced the hiring of executive chef Joe Garcia, previously of Grille One Sixteen, to lead the charge at the Beach Bar and Restaurant on Old Tampa Bay. The waterfront restaurant, formerly Hogan's Beach, has shifted gears, transforming into a resort-style restaurant serving beach comfort food as well as Latin and Caribbean-infused flavors, from hog snapper to a beignet-style doughnut burger. Garcia's approach? Focus on the hero of the plate, add layers and texture that intrigue the palate, and "it's all about the sauce" (he's got six signature ones).
BIRCH AND VINE
The Birchwood on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg has announced Luke Decker as the new executive chef at restaurant Birch and Vine. Decker has been with the Birchwood since it opened in 2013, and worked at BellaBrava in St. Petersburg before that under his brother, Anthony Decker (now the chef de cuisine at Felidia in New York City). He takes over for chef Jason Cline. thebirchwood.com.