Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Café Alma's new horizons, chic flair at Le Méridien and more

Munching through the latest in restaurant news.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

It's true.

Café Alma is swapping its cozy downtown St. Petersburg digs for a larger space at John's Pass in Madeira Beach at 111 Boardwalk Place.

click to enlarge Café Alma will move to John's Pass and reopen as "Alma." - CAFÉ ALMA VIA FACEBOOK
  • Café Alma via Facebook
  • Café Alma will move to John's Pass and reopen as "Alma."
Owners Scott and Thorn Vogel will run their new restaurant under the moniker "Alma," which is set to open July 8, according to a press release.

Most of the restaurant's tapas will remain on the menu, and its Bloody Mary bar and brunch buffet will stick, but Alma plans to showcase more local and seasonal fare. Fresh boat fish, Seminole Pride's Angus beef and Florida wild-caught catfish will be among the fare.

Alma will accommodate 300 in its main dining area, and a private VIP dining room will seat 50.

Bid Café Alma adieu at 260 First Ave. S. on Saturday with dinner specials, including half off bottles of wine and buy two entrees and get one free tapas.

Java, Parisian eats, cocktails

Downtown Tampa's century-old federal courthouse launched as the Le Méridien Tampa hotel on June 16.

The 130-room chic hotel, at 601 N. Florida Ave., occupies the entire block between Zack and Twiggs streets. Read Chip Weiner's coverage from June 12 to learn more.

The lobby of Le Méridien, called the Hub, offers artfully crafted coffees from an illycaffè-trained master barista — a feature that will likely satisfy sleepy travelers who've just arrived in town.

French-inspired seafood, beef and handcrafted pastries are served at Bizou Brasserie, the hotel's al fresco bistro, on the second floor, while its Longitude Bar mixes sparkling cocktails. Both spaces are open to guests and locals.

All month, Bizou is featuring éclairs with a modern spin created by Le Méridien's locations around the world.

A happy hour for body and soul

La V owner Thuy Le's latest project, which opened last week, is the 2,700-square-foot Nouvelle Beauty Bar, a different kind of salon. 

Located at 275 Central Ave., Nouvelle is furnished with a washing, blow-drying and styling "bar," offering Champagne and mimosas to those being pampered. The staff also does manicures, pedicures and facials.

Menu items like La V's spring rolls, salads and sandwiches are available at the beauty bar, too.

Nosh at Angie's one last time

The charming mustard-yellow hole-in-the-wall that was a haven for St. Pete downtowners jonesin' for a burger after hours will close its doors for good on June 30.

Angie's Cafe operated as a late-night must-stop at 200 First Ave. N. for more than 20 years but did not renew its lease this time around. The shop held its farewell party last night at Suite Six on Central Avenue.

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