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Savor the flavor of 40 restaurants in one afternoon

NEW TAMPA At the 14th annual Taste of New Tampa this Sunday, food aficionados will be limited only by what their stomachs can hold.

By MICHAEL A. MOHAMMED AND BILL COATS
Published May 4, 2007


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Foodies will get to sample North Tampa's gustatory range when the Taste of New Tampa festival returns May 6.

Once again, about 40 local restaurants will serve culinary treats at the 14th incarnation of the New Tampa Community Council's flagship event, council president Mary Ann Yaney said.

The restaurant lineup has changed since last year. Though past participants like Bonefish Grill and First Watch have pulled out, newcomers include Shane's Rib Shack, Johnny Carino's, Cups-N-Kones, New York Minute Deli Eatery, Let's Eat, Brothers Market and Saddlebrook Resort's Cypress Restaurant.

The Shoppes of New Tampa, in Pasco County, will host the event for the second year in a row, and maybe the last.

The shopping center's anchor store, Publix, nearly forced this year's event into an eleventh-hour change of locations because last year's crowds had clogged the parking that organizers were trying to reserve for Publix customers.

Publix relented after the community council pledged to obtain off-site parking, which will be at the nearby Sam's Club, and to hire a squad of off-duty deputies. Two of those will specifically guard the Publix section, Yaney said.

Both Publix and Yaney have expressed doubts whether the same location could be used next year.

The council has moved there because the new shopping center has more space than previous locations. Yaney expects between 8, 000 and 10, 000 people to attend.

The event drew 8, 000 last year, said Frank Margarella, a former community council president credited with launching the festival in 1994.

He added that the entertainment will shift to more "adult" entertainers - "Not Joe Redner adult, " he quickly interjected, referring to the strip club owner who, like Margarella, lost his Tampa City Council bid in the March 27 runoff.

He meant more "grownup" entertainment, "instead of having kids come up and singing in the choir off-key."

The young performers caused a small problem at last year's festival, Margarella said.

"Every parent and grandparent came up and tried to get in to see their kid free, " resulting in as many as 100 gate-crashers.

This year's roster will include local folk-rock singer Joan Navarra and a rock band from the LifePoint Community Church, Yaney said.

The event also serves as a health and business expo, with booths for everything from doctors and personal trainers to mortgage brokers and exterminators.

Bill Coats can be reached at coats@sptimes.com or 813 269-5309.

 

. If you go

Taste of New Tampa

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Shoppes of New Tampa, at State Road 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Cost: Unlimited food and drink, including beer, with the cost of admission. Children 5 and younger get in free. Wristbands $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. Advance wristbands can be obtained through Saturday at Wingate Inn, 17301 Dona Michelle Drive; Prudential Tropical Realty, 1830 Bruce B. Downs at The Shoppes of New Tampa; Dr. Todd Wiener, 14201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.; You Do the Dishes, 15357 Amberly Drive at the Shoppes at Amberly; Frame by Frame Gallery 16035 Tampa Palms Blvd. W at the Tampa Palms City Plaza.

 

[Last modified May 3, 2007, 06:51:22]


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