Don the Beachcomber debuts, Detroit Coney Island returns, and more Tampa Bay food news

Plus, a new brewery heads to St. Pete and Tampa Bay Wendy's will giveaway free food, and more.

click to enlarge Don the Beachcomber debuts, Detroit Coney Island returns, and more Tampa Bay food news

Madeira Beach’s Don the Beachcomber tiki bar and restaurant avoids feeling campy and offers a welcome moment of escapism A little bit of vintage Tinseltown has landed in Madeira Beach. A new tiki bar and restaurant based on a nostalgic concept that started in Hollywood, California in the ‘30s recently debuted at 15015 Madeira Wy. Suite 100. Don the Beachcomber is on the bottom floor of the Cambria Hotel and promises to bring paradise to all who walk through the doors. Every inch of the place pays homage to the tiki concept, from the Polynesian music and decor to the Hawaiian staff shirts down to the bamboo bar and tableware. Although the theme runs deep, it does so in a thoughtful and immersive way that avoids feeling campy and instead offers patrons a welcome moment of escapism. The origin of Don the Beachcomber is an intriguing story of adventure and an interest in all things exotic. The man who inspired the concept, born Ernest Gantt, developed a passion for travel early in life and was especially drawn to the tropical climates of the Caribbean and South Pacific His nomadic lifestyle gained him the nickname of “Donn Beach,” and he opened his first namesake tiki bar in 1934, undoubtedly pioneering the tiki cocktail movement in the U.S. These founding principles of traditional tiki drink culture have been meticulously preserved at Don the Beachcomber. The extensive drink menu, which has a hand-drawn look that's becoming popular in new concepts, features traditional rum tiki drinks like mai tais and painkillers in addition to new twists with gin and tequila.
15015 Madeira Wy Suite 100, Madeira Beach.—Jourdan Ducat

Coming Soon

Tango Brew Hyde Park is getting a new boozy addition in the coming months. Tango Brew, a new coffee and wine bar with an "Argentinian/Italian flair," will debut on the ground floor of the Jade North Hyde Park luxury apartment complex at 608 N Willow Ave. in the late summer of 2024, according to a statement from the Wingspan Development Group and ABC Capital Corp. The 1,600-foot retail space will feature a "speakeasy aesthetic" with both indoor and outdoor seating for up to 66 people, as well as a water and treat station for dogs, says the press release. The concept is owned and operated by husband-and-wife duo Christopher and Nahara Walters. “We want Tango Brew to be a home away from home, a ‘third place’ where people who live or work in the neighborhood can gather,” said Nahara. Argentinian wines and beers from Loop Brewing will hold down the drink menu. While Tango's food menu will feature light breakfast bites like bagels and croissants, as well as a lunch and dinner menu spanning everything from chicken wings, fries and signature Italian flatbreads. 608 N Willow Ave., Tampa. —Colin Wolf


Keel Farms’ Blueberry Festival We know, we know—you’re still obsessed with strawberries. While the rest of the country harvests its blueberries in the summer, Florida climes mean we get to do it between April and May. Plant City’s Keel Farms celebrates the little blue fruit starting this Saturday, with a month-long festival that takes place Saturdays-Sundays through April 21 (but not on Easter). The 25-acre, family-friendly farm, brewery and winemaker offers U-pick options, plus live music, kid’s activities, vendors, a petting zoo and more. There’s no cover for the Keel Farms Blueberry Festival happening in Plant City every Saturday and Sunday through April 21, but parking is $10. 5202 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City. —Ray Roa
Event Details

Keel Farms Blueberry Festival 2024

Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Continues through April 21

Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City East Hillsborough


Tampa Wendy's locations will give away free breakfast sandwiches for a year April Fools' Day is right around the corner, and this year Wendy's isn't fooling around. On Monday, April 1, the popular burger chain will be giving away coupons to the first 100 customers good for one free breakfast sandwich a week for a year at participating locations, according to a press release from the company. "Enjoy any Breakfast Sandwich on the menu, including our Breakfast Baconator for FREE with the coupon card for one year," says Wendy's. "Don't be fooled and head to your local Wendy's to snag this incredible offer on April 1!" The coupon card will only be given out to dining room, carry-out and drive-thru customers who are 16-years or older, says the company, and there's a limit to one per guest. The promotion is happening at over 400 Wendy's locations across Tampa, Orlando, Miami and West Palm Beach.—Colin Wolf

Detroit Coney Island recently closed its popular hot dog joint in Palm Harbor, but recently reopened an expanded concept inside of Island Estates next to the Clearwater Aquarium. In addition to its beloved hot dogs, sandwiches, breakfast plates and burgers, this newly-opened spot also offers a variety of homemade ice cream and other sweet treats. Detroit Coney Island—now located at 280 Windward Passage in Clearwater—celebrated its grand opening on March 19 and is now open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Head to @detroitconeyisland on Facebook for more updates.

According to a recent report published by online reservation service Opentable, three of the most-booked restaurants in Tampa Bay include historic Ybor City eatery Columbia, Florida-inspired waterfront concept Ulele and Tampa staple Bern’s Steak House. Other local restaurants that made the cut include Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Ocean Prime, The Pearl and Meat Market.

After a few months on the market, King State’s former Brutalist brewery and taproom in St. Pete has new owners. St. Pete Rising says that first-time brewery owners Richie and Jill Hamm paid $2.3 million dollars to purchase Flying Boat Brewing Company’s former 10,747-square space at 1776 11th Ave. N. The Hamms also bought $300,000 worth of equipment to kickstart their newly-formed Outcast Brewing Company, which is slated to open sometime this summer.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Midtown Tampa’s fast-casual Italian restaurant Oronzo has closed its doors. A collaboration between Bavaro’s owner Dan Bavaro and Bob Johnston of Front Burner Brand, Oronzo made its local debut in 2020, although both of its Tampa locations have closed.

Restaurant software company Toast released its “Top 20 Brunch Restaurants in the US in 2024” list and a Tampa mainstay made the cut. “Its American bistro-style menu elevates the dining experience with elegant food in a bright, airy, and relaxing atmosphere for a true Florida experience,” Toast writes about the popular Oxford Exchange, located at 420 W Kennedy Blvd. in Hyde Park.

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Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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