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The 20 highly anticipated new dining establishments set to make waves in Tampa Bay in 2024



The 20 highly anticipated new dining establishments set to make waves in Tampa Bay in 2024

2024 is shaping up to be a delectable year for food enthusiasts. Although the previous year introduced some fantastic new dining establishments to Tampa Bay, the culinary scene is set to offer even more delights.

In the upcoming 12 months, patrons can anticipate the arrival of new dumpling spots, fish and chicken shacks, a duo of upscale steak houses, a convenient drive-thru Wawa, and much more.

Get ready to indulge in some of the most exciting new culinary experiences headed to the Bay.

Big Chicken

Locations To Be Announced (TBA)

Big Chicken, the fast-casual concept owned by Shaquille O’Neal, is set to make a significant entrance into Florida. The company has recently inked a franchising deal for 45 units with DMD Ventures, a commercial hospitality development firm based in Florida. This development indicates that Big Chicken will soon have a presence in various Florida cities, including Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and the Tampa Bay area. While there is no specific timeline for the debut of Tampa Bay’s first Big Chicken franchise, according to a representative for the company, fans can anticipate a menu featuring a blend of Shaq’s childhood favorites and the latest trending flavors, offering a variety of chicken sandwiches, tenders, and more.

Fat Boy’s Pizza

Exact Address Not Yet Announced Fat Boy’s, a pizza chain originating from New Orleans, is bringing its unique claim of offering the “World’s Biggest Pizza Slices” to the Tampa Bay area. With existing locations in Louisiana and Mississippi, the chain is set to expand its footprint by opening 10 restaurants across the region in the coming years. Fat Boy’s menu features options such as a half-slice, 10-inch and 16-inch pies, as well as an impressive “whopping 30-inch pie.” In addition to its pizza selection, the chain offers wings, waffle fries, salads, meatballs, daiquiris, and a full liquor bar. The exact addresses for these new locations are yet to be announced.

Dutch Bros

3616 W Ballast Point Blvd., Tampa A well-loved West Coast coffee chain, known for its dedicated fan base, is gearing up to make its mark in the Sunshine State. The chain recently filed permits for its debut South Tampa location, specifically in the Sun Bay South neighborhood. The proposed 950-square-foot establishment will feature a drive-thru and is set to replace the current Ballast Point Car Wash on that property, pending approval. Dutch Bros, recognized for its range of offerings such as iced lattes, smoothies, teas, sodas, milkshakes, frozen blended coffees, and energy drinks, is set to bring its signature drinks like the “Golden Eagle” and the aptly-named “9-1-1” (loaded with six shots of espresso, half and half, and Irish creme syrup) to the convenience of its drive-thru.

Noble Tavern

1650 Central Ave., St. Petersburg Noble Tavern, a joint venture between Noble Crust and Fat Beet Farm Kitchen & Bakery, is anticipating its grand opening in the near future. Situated within the recently constructed Tru by Hilton St. Petersburg, the establishment aims to deliver farm-fresh flavors sourced locally from Fat Beet Farm. The menu is set to showcase a variety of classic and craft cocktails, along with offerings of local beer and barrel-fresh wines.

Perry’s Porch

600 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg Set against the backdrop of the iconic St. Pete Pier and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Perry’s Porch is an upcoming restaurant venture by the team behind some of St. Pete’s finest bars. Occupying the space previously held by the craft beer spot Hops and Props, Perry’s Porch is designed to offer a combination of open-air and indoor seating, providing guests with one of the most picturesque waterfront views in St. Petersburg. The restaurant pays homage to the 20th-century developer Perry Snell, renowned for his innovative approach to architecture, nature, and walkability in revitalizing St. Pete neighborhoods. While an exact opening date is yet to be announced, this new concept is eagerly anticipated.

Late Start Brewing

1018 E Cass St., Tampa Late Start Brewing, a Tampa-based company, initiated the construction of its new location in 2022 and aims to unveil it in the near future. The nearly 2,500 square-foot building, formerly a convenience store, is undergoing transformation into a space that will include a dining room and bar area accommodating up to 50 people. Additionally, outdoor seating with picnic tables will be available for around 50 more patrons. Late Start Brewing, already established in Tampa and currently housed within Pour House in the Channelside District, is known for its collaborative ales, lagers, and stouts. Keep an eye out for updates on the official opening date.


153 2nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg Forbici’s, the Italian restaurant, is gearing up to unveil its second location within downtown St. Pete’s Sundial mall in 2024. This expansion is a significant step for the local brand, signaling potential nationwide growth. Co-owner Jeff Gigante, operating Forbici with partner Joseph Guggino under the Next Level Brands umbrella, envisions the possibility of opening 30-40 Forbici locations across the country. The upcoming Forbici in St. Pete will occupy 7,000 square feet and feature an indoor-outdoor bar, along with a 3,000 square-foot shaded patio. The restaurant will be situated in the former Locale Market’s space, which closed in early 2020 following now-defunct plans for Sundial’s food hall. Stay tuned for further updates on the grand opening.


468 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach Bavaro’s, the renowned Italian restaurant known for its traditional Neapolitan Pizzas, is gearing up to open its newest location at 468 Mandalay Ave. in Clearwater Beach. The 1,800 square-foot space, once a real estate office, has undergone approximately $1 million worth of renovations in preparation for its grand debut, expected anytime now. Owner Dan Bavaro has shared plans for building an infrastructure supporting statewide expansion, potentially including additional locations at airports across Florida. Bavaro’s first introduced its authentic Neapolitan Pizzas to the Tampa Bay area in 2009, establishing itself as the “first traditional Neapolitan Pizzeria in the state of Florida.” Beyond the delectable wood-fired pizzas, the menu features roasted Gulf oysters, charcuterie boards, salads, soups, classic pastas, and delightful desserts like cannolis, tiramisu, and Nutella pizzas. Keep an eye out for the official opening announcement.


225 1st Ave. N, St. Petersburg Celebrated local chef and James Beard semifinalist Chris Ponte is expanding his culinary footprint with the upcoming opening of Olivia in downtown St. Petersburg. Known for his success with Ponte Modern American in Tampa, Ponte is set to bring the popular Italian restaurant, Olivia (stylized as “OLIVIA”), to St. Pete. While Ponte had to close Clearwater’s Cafe Ponte in spring 2020 due to challenges in renewing the lease, the new Olivia location marks his first restaurant concept in Pinellas County. With the reputation of delivering exceptional dining experiences, Chef Chris Ponte is poised to add a touch of Italian excellence to St. Petersburg’s vibrant culinary scene. Stay tuned for updates on the official opening date.


1050 Water St., Tampa Strategic Property Partners has unveiled its latest culinary venture, Ash, set to grace the ground floor of Water Street Tampa’s Asher building—the district’s newest residential development. From the creative minds at Proper House Group (PHG), the team behind Rooster & The Till, Nebraska Mini-Mart, and other successful ventures, Ash promises to bring Italian-inspired cuisine to downtown Tampa. The restaurant, spanning 2,400 square feet with an additional 1,000 square-foot patio, is designed to offer an immersive dining experience, accentuated by an extensive outdoor space. Initially slated for a spring 2023 debut, anticipation is building, and rumors suggest that Ash is on the brink of making its grand entrance any day now. Stay tuned for updates on the official opening date.


Tampa (Exact Address Pending) Renowned Tampa chef Suzanne Lara, formerly known as Suzanne Crouch, has revealed plans for her forthcoming culinary venture—a multifaceted establishment named “Lara.” Anticipated to debut in 2024, the concept, inspired by Suzanne’s newly acquired last name, will encompass a bar, from-scratch kitchen, and an artisan marketplace. While the specific location is yet to be confirmed, Tampa Heights is favored for its central position. Lara aims to offer three distinctive experiences—a refined bar, a bazaar featuring locally-sourced produce and artisanal goods, and a well-equipped kitchen serving as Lara’s “supporting member.” Suzanne emphasizes that Lara’s bar will deviate from the typical late-night scene, drawing inspiration from the Greek term “pharmakeia” to create a diverse array of elixirs and remedies. Stay tuned for updates on the location and the official opening date.


226 S Blvd., Tampa Prepare your taste buds for a unique fusion experience as Noble Rice and Koya introduce their sibling, Kinjo, bringing a blend of Wafu-Italian or “Itameshi-style” cuisine to South Tampa. Although this Italian-Japanese fusion might be a novel concept for Tampa Bay, Wafu-Italian dining, blending Japanese and Italian influences, has been a culinary trend in Europe and Asia. Kinjo’s inviting ambiance will feature a full-service bar stocked with an extensive selection of wine, sake, and spirits. The intimate menu will showcase fresh pastas, crudo, sashimi, and an array of house-cured meats and cheeses. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey at Kinjo!

Streetlight Taco

4004 Henderson Blvd., Tampa Prepare your taste buds for an exciting culinary experience at Streetlight Taco, the debut restaurant from chef-partner Michael Brannock. Nestled in South Tampa’s Palma Ceia neighborhood at 4004 Henderson Blvd., this 2,500 square-foot gem promises a “hyper-traditional” approach, offering a seating capacity for about 100 guests. Brannock’s culinary expertise, coupled with the partnership of Jack Murray and Nick Reader, managing partners of the Michelin-starred Rocca, ensures a unique and delightful dining venture. Keep an eye out for the opening of Streetlight Taco, where tradition meets innovation!

Ling’s Dumplings and Han Hand Rolls

1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa Exciting changes are on the horizon at Armature Works’ Heights Public Market, with a local restaurant company introducing a trio of innovative concepts. Amid the ongoing construction in the spaces formerly occupied by Cru Cellar and Zukku Sushi, the stage is set for the debut of Zukku Sushi 2.0 alongside its new siblings, Ling’s Dumplings and Han Hand Rolls. This expansion adds to Zukku Sushi’s portfolio, which already includes Zukku-San in Wesley Chapel, as well as Āto, specializing in burritos and bowls, located in Lakeland and Wesley Chapel. With a Zukku Sushi spot in Charlotte, North Carolina, this restaurant company is truly making waves in the culinary scene. Stay tuned for the unveiling of these dynamic dining destinations!

Pete’s Bagels Drive-thru

Discover the revitalization of a historic landmark at the corner of 4th St S and 25th Ave, as a local business transforms one of St. Pete’s oldest gas stations into a vibrant restaurant. This innovative venture combines the charm of a bygone era with a modern twist. Offering a diverse menu featuring breakfast sandwiches and freshly-baked bagels in flavors ranging from the classic to the unique, such as sun-dried tomato and feta and jalapeño. Enhancing the experience, Pete’s location will also feature a robust coffee program curated by Look Alive Coffee, a local roaster based in the Burg’. With a 326 square-foot building, a walk-up window, and outdoor seating, this establishment provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere for patrons to enjoy.

The H

Prepare for a touch of sophistication in Hyde Park with the upcoming arrival of The H, a renowned steakhouse hailing from Orlando. The establishment is set to grace the location formerly occupied by CopperFish, once a seafood haven that closed its doors in 2014. The H is celebrated for its diverse selection of meats, featuring dry-aged ribeye, NY strips, racks of lamb, kebabs, Japanese wagyu, and filet mignon. In addition to this meaty extravaganza, the menu boasts an array of seafood-based dishes, pastas, and a luxurious caviar service. Indulge in appetizers like baked bone marrow, octopus carpaccio, burrata with confit tomatoes, grilled calamari, and a variety of refreshing salads. The Tampa edition of The H promises a dining experience that exudes elegance and culinary excellence.

Dunedin Mix

An exciting addition to Dunedin’s vibrant culinary scene is on the horizon as the Dunedin Mix, a new mixed-use food hall, prepares to open its doors in Pinellas County. Nestled around the corner from popular establishments like 7venth Sun Brewing, Lucky Lobster Co., and Bon Appétit, this two-story, approximately 10,000 square-foot space draws inspiration from New Orleans. Anticipate an indoor courtyard and a carousel bar with a touch of “French industrialist/mixologist” flair, reminiscent of the renowned Carousel Bar & Lounge in the French Quarter. Beyond a diverse food hall featuring local culinary concepts, the Dunedin Mix promises live entertainment, cooking classes, and a versatile space for events, banquets, and boutique pop-ups. Get ready for a unique and dynamic culinary experience in Dunedin.


Prepare for a delightful addition to St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District as Cheeky’s, a new raw bar and seafood grill, is set to grace 2823 Central Avenue. Spearheaded by local restaurateur Nate Siegel, co-founder of the acclaimed new American restaurant Willa’s in North Hyde Park, Cheeky’s is anticipated to open its doors in mid-2024. The establishment promises a delectable menu featuring fresh seafood, East Coast oysters, shrimp, fish, and daily specials sourced from local waters and the Gulf. Patrons can also relish piping hot bowls of chowder, mouthwatering fried chicken, refreshing salads, and more. Get ready for a seafood experience that will tantalize your taste buds at Cheeky’s.

Alter Ego

Get ready for the spring of 2024, when the vibrant cocktail lounge Alter Ego is set to open its doors at 1050 Water St. in Tampa, on the ground floor of the Asher building in Water Street. Promising “energetic vibes and soulful hospitality,” Alter Ego is designed to be a music-focused space with curated beats seamlessly blending with sleek monochromatic design. The establishment features intimate nooks and social spaces that aim to redefine the nightlife scene. With a DJ booth and shared wall space with Proper House Group’s sibling Italian restaurant Ash, Alter Ego is gearing up to offer a unique and dynamic experience in the heart of Tampa.

Florida’s first drive-thru Wawa

Largo is about to welcome Florida’s inaugural Wawa drive-thru experience at 2530 East Bay Dr. This innovative concept won’t offer gas or the standard pre-packaged items commonly found at traditional Wawa locations. Instead, it will focus on a limited menu, showcasing the chain’s renowned deli sandwiches, wraps, and breakfast Sizzlies. This drive-thru venture represents Wawa’s strategic plan to expand its presence, aiming to open 100 new locations nationwide by 2030.

Perry’s Porch

A new dining experience is on the horizon in St. Petersburg at 600 2nd Ave. NE. Perry’s Porch, a brainchild of the team behind some of St. Pete’s premier bars, is set to open in a prime location near the St. Pete Pier and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Taking over the space previously occupied by Hops and Props, this innovative concept will offer a mix of open-air and indoor seating. Paying homage to the 20th-century developer Perry Snell, known for transforming St. Pete neighborhoods, Perry’s Porch promises to provide not only delectable cuisine but also a breathtaking waterfront view. Stay tuned for the official opening date!


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