Fire burns in Tampa 

Plus, two new restaurants and farmers' markets open in St. Petersburg.

Formerly the Seven Seas nude dancing bar, Fire Bar & Grill at 3023 W. Kennedy Blvd. opened for business the first week of August. Fire has eliminated the naked workforce of the previous owners and added lunch and dinner seven days a week. After a $1.3 million renovation, Fire is serving up plenty of “rustic food and spirits.” There is also a late-night menu launching soon for snacks after 10 p.m.

The Boundary American Grille & Tavern celebrated its soft opening with family and friends the weekend of Aug. 10 at its new digs at 1101 First Ave. N in St. Pete. Present were owner Jim Wilson and former Meze 119 Chef Jason Kingsley, whose menu features “American fusion” cuisine made from domestic ingredients. All beer and wine is domestic as well, and there are a number of craft beers on tap. The Boundary opened officially to the public on Wed., Aug. 15, at 11 a.m.

Margarita Mama’s and Banana Joe’s Underground, restaurant upstairs and a night club below, opened at 425 Central Ave. in the main level of the Kress building. The downtown St. Petersburg site formerly housed a high-end rug store but was renovated for the new owners. The grand opening was on Fri., Aug. 10, and the menu featured “Mexican food the American way.” Banana Joe’s underground will feature top 40 dance music and plenty of “ladies drink free” specials.

The Samba Room opened Mon., Aug. 13, in the former site of South Tampa’s Ceviche restaurant. Samba will feature a Latin- and Caribbean-inspired menu designed by South Tampa native Chef Felicia Lacalle. South Tampa restaurateur Gordon Davis and businessman Kevin Enderle teamed up for the new restaurant.

Also slated to open in St. Petersburg is Engine No9 at 906 First Ave. N. Engine No9 is a sports bar with an upscale burger menu, the restaurant opening in the former Chatterbox location with Executive Chef Jason Esposito at the helm. The Bends Bar is opening up down the street in the old Art Pool space on Thurs., Aug. 16. The Bends is a self-described “classy dive bar.”

That makes three new businesses opening in August on First Avenue North, and two Tampa Bay restaurants — The Boundary and Fire Bar & Grill — opening in former strip clubs. What's next? Mons Venus Brasserie?

Two new farmers' markets have cropped up in St. Petersburg over the last few weeks. First up is the Edge Farmers Market started on July 1 at 1000 Central Ave., with hours every Wednesday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Called “The Edge” since it’s close to but not smack in the middle of downtown, this market promises plenty of local organic produce, hand-crafted jewelry, grass-fed meats, gourmet cheeses, and hot food on site. Deep South Barbecue came to the most recent market, cooking up grass-fed meats BBQ-style. The Edge Market won’t allow the sale of any GMO or processed foods with high-fructose corn syrup — sorry, fans of soda or junk food — and all produce has to be chemical-free or organically farmed. Also, everything must be produced or grown within a 150-mile radius of St. Petersburg.

Following on the heels of The Edge is The Azalea Community Fresh Market started Sat., July 7 in the Tyrone area. The market is held at the Azalea community center at 1600 72nd St. N, every Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Vendors have fresh produce, snacks, local wares, art and more.

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