Smokin’ Js closes in Gulfport, Dunedin’s Living Room coming to Wesley Chapel, plus more Tampa Bay foodie news | Openings & Closings | Tampa

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Chip Weiner

A finger-lickin’ spread of ribs, chicken and pulled pork from the now-closed Smokin’ J’s.


The Living Room One of Dunedin’s culinary gems heads across the bridge—and then some—next month when it opens a second location all the way in Wesley Chapel. Located at The Shops at Wiregrass, Tampa Bay’s second The Living Room will celebrate its soft opening within the next few weeks. Boasting the same global-inspired cuisine and refined , yet welcoming decor as its flagship location in Dunedin, the official opening date is slated for sometime in August. About 50% of Wesley Chapel’s menu is composed of signature dishes—like black and blue nachos, brown butter seared scallops, and its porcini mushroom burger, as the other half will feature new dishes from Executive Chef Joshua Rhynes. New items include flash-fried pork dumplings, spicy chargrilled pork chops, goat cheese and pancetta flatbread, shrimp garganelli pasta and roasted beet “carpaccio,” alongside many more. 28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100, Wesley Chapel.

Wesley Chapel gets a Chicken Salad Chick This month, Tampa Chicken Salad Chick franchisees will open their first Wesley Chapel location on Tuesday, Aug. 8. There’s a whole slew of grand opening giveaways happening between Aug. 2-5, and you guessed it, the winners will receive different types of chicken salad-themed swag as prizes. On Aug. 2, the first 100 folks in line get  free chicken salad for a year, and the next day the first 50 customers to purchase Chick Trios receive a free tumbler or water bottle. On Aug. 4, the first 50 guests to purchase a Chick Trio will receive a free Chick Tote Bag, while the first 50 guests to purchase two large Quick Chicks on Aug. 5 will win a large cooler. For more information about its grand opening and various giveaways, head to its Facebook at @chickensaladchickwesleychapelfl.  25038 Wesley Chapel Blvd., Lutz.


Sunday’s Delicatessen There weren’t very many sandwiches in Tampa Bay that could cure a long night out like the Hang Over Hero from Sunday’s Delicatessen. Well, you better tie one this week and get it one more time because Sunday’s is closing for good on Friday, July 29, just shy of its 10th anniversary in the historic district. The restaurant made the announcement on social media, with a simple thank you to loyal patrons who came in for the giant sandwiches, devil crabs, and unique offerings like the Norwegian grilled cheese with smoked salmon, havarti, pickled onion, horseradish aioli and chives on rye. No reason was given for the deli’s closing, but CL is catching up with Sunday soon and will update with new information. 1930 E 7th Ave., Ybor City.   Smokin’ J’s Texas BBQ Shortly following the shuttering of Gulfport staple Backfin Blue Cafe, comes the closure of the town’s werewolf-approved go-to BBQ spot, Smokin’ J’s. “It is with mixed emotions, after 13 years of fun times serving our community, my doctors and I decided that it is in my best interest to retire,” the Smokin’ J’s Facebook post reads. “We have made many friends along the way, and for that we are truly blessed.” The restaurant’s final days in service were last weekend—July 23 and 24—as Smokin’ J’s quickly sold the rest of its food. The owners invited their friends and patrons to hang out at the BBQ spot during its last weekend open, to share beers and memories of the restaurant. And although we might not be able to chow down on Smokin’ J’s ribs and pulled pork anymore, owner and pitmaster John Riesebeck states that his prized pickles will soon be available for purchase online or in local grocery stores. 5145 Gulfport Blvd., Gulfport.


Golden Dinosaurs’ 4th anniversary party Break out those Hawaiian shirts and “Baywatch” bathing suits, because Golden Dinosaurs hosts a ’90s beach-themed anniversary celebration this Saturday, July 30 from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Local vendors include Gabby Bakes, Free Bear Vintage, St. Pete Ferments, Shelter Farm Sanctuary, Colorful Cari and Real Rootz. And although Gabby Bakes slings some of the best baked goods around, Golden Dinosaurs is also known for its sweet treats like vegan cheesecake, cookies and brownies. There will also be giveaways, an exclusive merchandise drop and bumping music as well, and if you can prove you purchased something at the anniversary party, you can receive a free doughnut on Aug. 1. Specials that you can order this Saturday include Golden Dinosaurs’ spin on classic seafood dishes like coconut shrimp and fried fish sandwiches, alongside offerings from its everyday menu. 2930 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport.

Now and Then’s monthly pop-up Tampa’s specialty coffee pop-up Now and Then takes over Seminole Heights’ Jug + Bottle the last weekend of each month—and July’s installment takes place on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31. This month’s speciality pour over is a Colombian coffee from Elias Roa at Finca Tomana—a 140-acre farm located in the mountainous region of Huila, Colombia—and roasted by Norway-based Tim Wendelboe.  Different types of espresso and tea will also be featured, but you can head to Now and Then’s Instagram page  for more details on its menu. The pop-ups run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day, but we recommend getting there as early as possible, because we hear the lines can start wrapping around the building.  6203 N Florida Ave., Tampa.

King of the Coop launches new “Slide” burger concept Dodd, founder of Tampa’s ever-expanding Nashville hot chicken chain King of the Coop, swears there’s nothing special about the burger his new concept, Slide, is bringing to the Flocalé food hall starting this week. While Slide is making its debut in the Flocale food hall Dodd launched with business partner and Westshore Pizza CEO Travis Masters, some locals may have already tried Slide’s offerings. The burgers have been available on Uber Eats for a few weeks now, and they’ll continue to be available there, similarly packaged with printouts featuring vintage newspaper front pages documenting significant events in local history. And if burgers aren’t your thing, Dodd says a patty melt is headed to the slide menu, which already has a grilled cheese sandwich. Also available: a hot dog, which can be dressed up just like the signature slide burger that has white cheddar, seasoning and the Slide sauce. 5910 N Florida Ave., Tampa. —Ray Roa

Brew Bolts Fest drops its beer lineup Calling all beer and Bolts enthusiasts alike. The extensive beer list for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s fifth-annual Bolts Brew Fest is finally here and includes Tampa Bay classics like Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA and Big Storm’s Bromosa, as well as some underrated favorites like Barriehaus’ dark Munich dunkel and Magnanimous’ Das Sieben Light Lager. The craft beer event will take place on Friday, August 5 at downtown Tampa’s Amalie Arena with general admission beginning at 8 p.m. The event has also announced a new addition to its VIP Experience, a personal tour of the Lightning’s official locker room, alongside many other perks. Some breweries that are participating in next week’s events include 7venth Sun Brewing Co., Cycle Brewing and Green Bench— but the full list can be found here. 401 Channelside Dr., Tampa. —Max Steele