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Old hands combine to launch new night spot

Some familiar faces from Tampa's restaurant scene promise an array of whiskeys and more with Whiskey Park SoHo.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 11, 2002


Craving a Jack and Coke?

Whiskey Park SoHo aims to quench.

The new bar and restaurant opens Oct. 29 in the old Bacchus and Hydeaway spot on South Howard Avenue.

It promises an array of whiskeys and a whole lot more.

The cast includes some familiar names.

Owners Christopher Scott, Tommy Ortiz and Peter Hannouche run the Hyde Park Cafe and Club Joy in Carrollwood.

Menu mastermind Marty Blitz hails from Mise en Place.

Chef Fred Meyer came from Blue Gardenia and general manager Chris Enos helped open Mia's.

"Comfortable, fresh and hip" is how Scott, the managing partner, describes the atmosphere.

Scott and his group took over 720 S Howard Ave. after Bacchus and Hydeaway filed bankruptcy papers and closed abruptly in March.

Owners hope it creates a buzz among the party crowd and boosts business in SoHo, which faces competition from Channelside and International Plaza.

Construction crews knocked down the walls between the Bacchus and Hydeaway, added a large square bar and lined the walls with mahogany.

Old Bacchus fans will recognize the fancy glass doors and faux sky ceiling nook, but little else.

The menu features a mix of items designed for all taste buds and occasions. "Comfort food," says Enos.

There are Whiskey Park Wings for traditional barflies and orders of Lemon Goat Cheese Spread for discriminating diners. Other highlights: seared ahi tuna, potato nachos and quesadillas with portobello mushrooms, spinach and brie.

The 6,000-square-foot bar and restaurant will have pool tables, dart boards and video games.

Stories wander around the Whiskey Park name.

Enos said it pays homage to one of the owners' favorite drinks: a Crown Royal Reserve Manhattan.

Scott said it beckons diners and late-night lounge lovers.

-- Susan Thurston can be reached at 226-3394 or thurston@sptimes.com.

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