black brick After sitting empty for more than two years, Dale Mabry’s former Pop N Sons restaurant will finally make its debut as a sleek new concept. Richard Hales’ modern Chinese restaurant, Blackbrick, will soft-open on Tuesday, October 25, and dinner reservations for its first week are now available on resy.com. With a menu packed with savory dumplings and a newly renovated interior, Tampa’s Blackbrick’s will be Chef Hales’ first restaurant in his hometown. There are several categories on Blackbrick’s menu, which range from noodle dishes to soup dumplings, cold and hot starters, wok fried rice, dim sum dumplings, large cuts and herbal, which include vegan dishes like Yu Xiang eggplant and Sichuan cauliflower. And for those who prefer a fork and knife to chopsticks, there’s even a section with Americanized classics like General Tso’s Alligator, Crispy Honey Chicken, and Sweet and Sour Pork. “Tampa’s food scene looks like what Miami’s food scene looked like 20 years ago. There’s this energy where people are doing new things. I feel like the customers here are very dedicated to the restaurants and honestly, Tampa feels like home,” Chef Richard Hales tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. 4812 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. halesblackbrick.com/tampa
Black Cattle Burger Co. Nestled between the Mary Margaret Irish Tavern and the Top Slice pizzeria is downtown’s newest late-night restaurant, and it has all the right greasy fare. Black Cattle Burger Co.—the brains of local restaurateur Shan Bakrac and Benson Hospitality Group—opened this week in the 200 block of The Burg’. Juicy smashburgers are the star of the Black Cattle menu, but chicken sandwiches, hand-breaded chicken tenders, fries and salads are also on offer. While her burgers are customizable, there are a few specials like her “Black Pearl,” which comes with two patties, cheese, grilled mushrooms, pickles, and truffle aioli. And there is also soft serve ice cream for dessert. Black Cattle Burger Co. is now open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Follow his new Instagram page on @blackcattleburgers for the latest on the new downtown burger spot. 17 3rd St N, St. Petersburg. blackcattleburger.com
Tiger Bay Club Cuban Sandwich Discussion The famous debate over the origins of the Cuban sandwich may be resolved in next week’s Tampa Tiger Bay Club discussion, but don’t count on it. The nonpartisan political forum takes a culinary twist for its next event, which will take place on Friday, September 16 when authors of the new book “The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers” Andrew T. Huse, Dr. Bárbara Cruz and Jeff Houck discuss of their extensive research into Tampa’s beloved sandwich. The book dives deep into the origins, history, and cultural impact of the Cuban sandwich. It will be available for purchase at the next Tiger Bay Club event, with the option to also be signed by its authors. Tony’s Ybor Catering, which closed its longtime restaurant last week, will be providing Cuban sandwiches for lunch because all that food talk might make you a little hungry. Next week’s program begins at noon in the ballroom of the Cuban Club in historic Ybor City. This Tiger Bay Club event is open to the public and requires a $35 ticket for non-members, but a first ticket for non-members will only cost you $25. 2010 N Avenida Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. tigerbayclub.com
Fall Flavors Launch and Halelife Bakery Tasting Weekend Tampa Bay’s leading gluten-free and vegan bakery just launched its new seasonal and famous flavors with free samples all weekend, September 9-11. Stop by one of four Halelife locations – in downtown St. Pete, Carrollwood, Clearwater and South Tampa – to sample its new baked cookies, donuts and cupcakes. A few of its seasonal offerings that people can sample this weekend include Caramel Macchiato Donuts, Pumpkin Caramel Cookies, S’mores Brownie Cookies, Pumpkin Cookie Dough Cupcakes and pumpkin bourbon donuts – and yes, they’re all vegan and allergy-free. Its loyal customers are also anticipating the upcoming opening of Halelife Bistro in St. Pete, the company’s first dive into the world of tasty cuisine and full-service dining. To continue celebrating the launch of its seasonal baked goods, all Halelife Bakery locations in Tampa Bay are offering 10% off any purchase throughout the weekend. Each bakery has slightly different opening hours, so be sure to check the specific location’s information before visiting. All Halelife locations in Clearwater, South Tampa, St. Petersburg and Carrollwood, halelifebakery.com
Black Radish’s Cuban Kitchen Pop-Up Tampa’s resident vegan grocery store is known for working with other local businesses — like House of Vegano, Lucky Tiger, and Oh My Cod Vegan Seafood Co. — and its latest collaboration takes place on Wednesday 14 and 21 September. Black Radish’s two Cuban food pop-ups will take place at Courtney’s Cafe, located in the former Grounds Food Cafe in Seminole Heights, and will feature an exclusive menu of Cactus Hat “asado” oyster mushrooms, black beans and rice, guava and queso puffs, plant-based picadillo and vaca frita, and vegan mocktails, among many other traditional Cuban dishes. Both Wednesday night pop-ups run from 6-9 p.m. and require RSVP reservations via text at (813) 467-6496 (please include name, party size, date and time.) Black Radish sources much of its vegan products locally, so expect a few ingredients featured in its upcoming pop-ups to come from other Tampa Bay-based small businesses. Courtney Weil of Courtney’s Cafe and Catering took over the former Ground Foods space just a few months ago and now offers food and beverage services in Seminole Heights. Its large American menu is dotted with Latin, Asian and Italian influences, as popular offerings include stacked deli spreads, chicken and waffles with confit bacon, Spanish-style stuffed steak, roasted pork loin with rosemary and stuffed mushrooms. 2923 N 12th St., Tampa. blackradisgrocer.com.
Renee’s Mexican Kitchen launches new breakfast tacos Seminole Heights has a new breakfast fix, and all you need is two bucks. Located at 4414 N Nebraska Ave. in Seminole Heights, Rene’s Mexican Kitchen recently launched its breakfast menu featuring loaded tacos ($2 each), burritos and chilaquiles (tortilla chips tossed in a dry chili salsa and topped with protein, cream, of queso fresco, red onions, and avocado.) Taco and burrito options include steak, chorizo, simmered brisket or bacon with eggs, plus scrambled tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella plant-based and baby spinach as the only vegan and vegetarian option. All tacos are served with Charred Tomatillo Green Salsa and Fiery Brick-Orange Chili Salsa. Rene’s Mexican Kitchen now serves breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday each week. After those hours, the popular taco trailer switches to its normal lunch and dinner menu of chili rellenos, tacos loaded with chorizo and shrimp and pork belly burritos, and many other Mexican specialties. . The food trailer is also gearing up for its exclusive Mexican Independence Day dinner, which takes place next Saturday, September 17. Ribeye steak tacos, Huitlacoche – a delicious corn mushroom – chicharron prensado, smoked beef ribs and jumbo shrimp tacos are on his a-night-only menu. 4414 N Nebraska Avenue, Tampa. René’s Mexican cuisine on Facebook