Castles coming to Pirate's Cove
By SHARON GINN Times Correspondent
Published May 4, 2007
CHANNELSIDE - People in Tampa soon will be able to order hot White Castle burgers for those late-night munchies.
Pirate's Cove, a new restaurant and store set to open in Channelside on Saturday, will begin serving the fast-food chain's breakfast menu and burgers and fries May 26. White Castle is a late-night staple north of the Mason-Dixon line but has no standalone locations south of Tennessee.
The square burgers, known as "Slyders, " are sold frozen in local grocery stores.
"But you can't beat a White Castle burger in the middle of the night, " Pirate's Cove owner Shawn Kaplan said. "I contacted White Castle ... and we worked a deal together."
But burgers won't be all Pirate's Cove has to offer.
Kaplan will have a convenience store for those who live and work nearby, a full bar for partiers who stay out until the wee hours, and breakfast seating for the early morning cruise ship set.
All of it will be wrapped up in a classic Tampa theme and squeezed into a 2, 500-square-foot space. The entrance to Pirate's Cove, at 615 Channelside Drive, Suite 103, is on the outside of the complex, and Kaplan expects to offer indoor and outdoor seating. Servers dressed as "pirates and wenches" will accommodate as many as 150 patrons at a time.
Kaplan, 30, founded a similar store called Island Oasis in Harbour Island in 2003 and recently sold it. He said he enjoys filling niches and is happy to be able to sell aspirin to a Channelside employee or milk to a downtown resident.
The Channelside area was appealing mostly for its growth potential, Kaplan said.
"We're friends with other bar owners in this town, " he said. "We're all trying to launch the downtown market to make it successful. In the next two years you're going to see such a change (with more) restaurants and bars and little cafes. ... It's so fresh, and everything is going to be new."
Pirate's Cove also will offer entertainment several nights a week, Kaplan said. He expects to open at 6:30 a.m. daily, closing at midnight or 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 3 or 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
While there is no shortage of small boutiques in South Tampa, Krystal Whitlock figures her prices will make her new accessories and clothing store stand out. Nothing at Mattie G's costs more than $100, and most items are $30 to $50. Whitlock calls it "throwaway fashion."
"It's trendy, whatever is in style, at a very affordable cost, because things are changing so quickly, " she said. "You wear it a few times, and after that, it doesn't matter if you wear it again."
Whitlock, who recently resigned her job as chief financial officer for a Tampa title and acquisitions company, said she has always loved going to New York to seek out the latest fashions. "Now I'm doing what I love, " she said.
Mattie G's opens Saturday at 2408 S MacDill Ave. Hours will be Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10-4.
Sign of the fish
Just across from Mattie G's, South Tampa landmark bike shop Dud Thames has become Flying Fish Bikes. The transition was completed two weeks ago when owner Fran Kane, a longtime Dud Thames customer who purchased the shop at 2409 S MacDill in 2006, erected a sign bearing the funky, colorful new Flying Fish logo.
There is a new look inside as well. Kane has worked hard to improve service and selection, manager Ron Poirier said. The store also has a Web site now: www.flyingfishbikes.com.
"If you came into our store, you'd notice how much it has changed in the past year, " Poirier said. "It's more customer friendly, more open, more visible."
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