Tampa’s first suburb, Tampa Heights, dating back to the 1880s, continues to evolve and flourish in 2021, attracting new shops, restaurants, and more for residents and visitors.
Below are some new spots you won’t want to miss in this historic neighborhood.
2746 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
This lifestyle gift shop with a coastal clubhouse vibe opened up in the Heights in December of 2020. When stocking her store, Owner Jess Rasemont, focused on products sourced from women-owned brands, POC (People of Color) owned brands, and brands featuring ecofriendly products, or companies that are doing social good with their profits. She wanted to make sure the brands she was working with aligned with her own morals and ethics.
“Tampa Heights came to me,” Rasemont says. “I’ve always had a dream of opening up my own shop and for the last 15 years, it’s been weighing on me.”
The opportunity presented itself when a local business decided to leave its space. She jumped in.
“I want people to have a space where they feel the same type of feelings that they would have if they’re on the best tropical vacation. I want people relaxed and inspired by the bright colors and scents,” Rasemont says. One of Rasemont’s favorite products is her Blue Sage Eco Boutiques candles made by local resident Christiana Arenas. Other favorites include hand-blown glassware made by indigenous women from a village in Guatemala and art by local artists. Inside her shop, she offers free beverages from hard seltzers to local brews and creatively inspired fun drinks.
“It’s about giving people an opportunity and platform to show off their stuff,’’ Rasemont says. “And, if it’s by me opening up a shop to let everybody shine through the shop, then that makes me so happy.”
1420 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Founder Mike Lukacina opened his brewery in September 2020 at this specific location because of the unique and distinctive look of the building as well as its proximity to the Heights, Seminole Heights, Ybor City, and Downtown Tampa.
Their specialty is Hazy IPAS and Lagers with an ample amount of canned brews available to go. All their brews are currently only available in their taproom with hopes of beginning to distribute their beverages to the Tampa Bay area later this year.
On tap, Magnanimous Brewing offers different brews including lights, darks, hoppys, and sours. They also have a menu with their 4pac “Beer to Go” options. “We are a product-driven company focusing on brewing some of the best beer in the world with our uniquely designed taproom,” Lukacina says.
In addition to their brews, Magnanimous Coffee opens at 7 a.m., seven days a week.
101 W. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Set to open in Tampa Heights during the second half of this year, Sprouts’ open layout store will offer a farmer’s market experience with locally sourced products and seasonal items.
“Shopping at Sprouts often feels like a treasure hunt with new items to discover at every visit,” says Dan Croce, Senior VP of Store Operations.
With 23 stores throughout Florida, Sprouts has continually received requests from locals asking for a store to open up in their neighborhood.
“We chose the Tampa Heights location so we can provide the growing area with healthy food and quality, fresh produce in a friendly atmosphere,” Croce says.
Sprouts offers a large selection of wholesome bulk foods, quality meat and seafood, a wide range of attribute-driven products like organic, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and more. “Since day one, Sprouts has believed that good food should make us feel good,” Croce says.
Inside Armature Works (1910 N. Ola Ave. #14, Tampa, FL 33602)
This Mexican-inspired restaurant serves tacos, burritos, and their most popular item quesatacos/quesabirria.
“Our quesatacos are to die for. It’s a flavorful, savory dish that’s cooked for hours at a time using birria beef. … We serve them with cheese, onions, and cilantro with a side of beef consomme,” says Owner Stephanie Swanz. “That’s what you want to come for.”
Muchachas only location opened in November 2020 at Armature Works. “The location kind of chose me,” Swanz says. “I was very fortunate to be approached by the owners of Armature Works who wanted to put a Mexican-inspired concept in the market.” The exact concept evolved over time and through discussion.
“Over the past few years, I’ve just seen the Heights community blossom,” Swanz says. “The neighborhood and the community have been so incredibly supportive.”
309 W. Palm Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Originally from a small village called Strandhill in Ireland, Rory Martin, owner of Strandhill Public, brought authentic Irish food to the Tampa Bay Area with his restaurant’s name paying homage to his roots. Adding to his shop in Brandon, Martin opened his second location in Tampa at the Heights in July 2020.
Strandhill pays tribute to traditional Irish culture in a modern setting with a modern flare. Most of his dishes come from his family’s recipes that have been passed down through multiple generations. Some dishes include Fish and Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, All-Day Irish Breakfast, Pan-seared Salmon, Irish Beef Stew, Drunken Mussels, and more.
“I guarantee you any place you get a Shepherd’s Pie from, it is made from beef. That is not how a Shepherd’s Pie should be made, it should be made with lamb,” Martin says. “[Our Shepherd’s Pie] is one of the best, if not the best in the state without a doubt, hands down.” Additionally, last year Strandhill won an award for the best burger in Tampa. The restaurant also carries cocktails, an impressive whiskey collection, and more.
“There’s a touch of magic that I feel and experience every time I walk through the place and people are conversing and they’re not thinking about what’s happened earlier that day or what’s going on. They’re living in the moment, they’re breaking bread together, they’re enjoying one another’s company,” Martin says. “There is something so beautiful in that and that is what drives me to do what I do. It’s a true love, it’s a true passion.”
As COVID hit a year ago, they went into survival mode but are now looking forward with hope to the return of a sense of normalcy. In terms of picking their location in Tampa Heights, Martin explains that the location ties in really well with the concept of their place.
“The neighborhood has been around for a long time, however, it’s going through a transformation, and I feel that’s my mission with Strandhill Public,” Martin says. “To showcase the transition from how an Irish pub is perceived to be in the States, to what it actually is and should be in this present time in Ireland. … There’s a new breath of life brought into Tampa Heights.”
The Heights Veterinary Clinic
3400 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603
Eric Mondschein, owner and veterinarian of the Tampa Heights Veterinary Clinic, moved from Miami to Austria to Brooklyn, NY to Tampa. He decided to set his roots in the Tampa Heights neighborhood to start his business.
“I love the Heights neighborhoods as they remind us [him and his wife] a lot of the neighborhoods we lived and worked in while in Brooklyn, NY,” Mondschein says. “It is very exciting to be a part of the growth of the city, which many consider the fastest-growing area of Tampa.” Transforming an auto body shop into his clinic has been a very rewarding process.
In looking at location, Mondschein shares that in addition to the fact that the community is on the rise, their decision to open in the Heights was also congruent with the neighborhood’s pet demographics. Tampa Heights is a very pet-friendly environment with many pet-centered, and pet-friendly businesses/restaurants. They were also attracted by the prospect for growth in an underserved area, and the reasonable rent. After six months in business, they are approaching upwards of 900 clients.
Opening in August of 2020, Mondschein explains that long-term relationships with their clients and their ability to offer different approaches to a pet’s health and well-being are what make them stand out. With their motto “Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Well,” The Heights Veterinary Clinic offers a variety of innovative treatment options from preventative care exams, vaccines, blood work, surgery, and dentistry to cold laser therapy, acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, and more.
In terms of his passion, Mondschein started volunteering at animal clinics when he was in junior high school and never looked back on pursuing this career path. He went to the University of Florida for his undergraduate studies and went onto Tufts University in Massachusetts for veterinary school and his master’s degree in Public Health. Additionally, he has certification in veterinary acupuncture and veterinary canine rehabilitation therapy.
“We always look at our patients in a holistic approach and discuss with our clients options regarding the best care for their pets,” Mondschein says. “At the end of the day, that is what we want for our clients and patients.”
Flower Crown Kombucha
1607 N Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602
Owners Phil Smith, Dan Andresen, and Bryan Griffin brought the first kombucha tap room to Tampa in mid-January of this year. The shop offers kombucha by the flight, glass, can, or growler.
“Kombucha, simply put, is fermented tea. We brew our kombucha with a blend of organic green and black tea and organic cane sugar,” say the owners in a written statement. “The finished product is super rich in vitamins, probiotics, and organic acids and has a tangy, refreshing flavor with an effervescent finish.”
The drink can be a substitute for your morning coffee, mid-day energy drink, or an evening beer. The brewed kombucha has below 0.5% alcohol content. When picking a location to open up their shop they found their home in Tampa Heights.
“This part of Tampa is a major craft beverage destination. We are surrounded by master brewers of beer, mead, and other craft beverages, as well as incredible one-of-a-kind businesses,” the owners write. “We are a short walk from the Riverwalk, and Tampa Heights has amazing craft beverage credentials that continue to grow and is bright and alive with art and retail.”
They fell in love with kombucha 10 years ago and began brewing it over the past seven years. That experience created the inspiration to open a shop.
“If you come into the shop, you will likely see our brewer, Phil, drinking his favorite flavor, Key Lime Mojito, which was inspired by his mom’s key lime pie,” the owners write. Their most popular drink is the Mexican Hippie, flavored with fresh-pressed ginger, turmeric, habanero, and mango.
Flower Crown Kombucha also offers a relaxing, spacious place to work throughout the day and a beautiful outdoor courtyard, making their aesthetic a perfect backdrop for a wedding, party, or gala.
Woven Water Brewing Company
456 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33602
Woven Water Brewery has a cozy yet modern vibe in its tasting room. The brewery, which opened in October 2020, is the exclusive home to Blurry IPAs, “unclear or distinctly visible, bright, and aromatic American India Pale Ales.” They also offer traditional lagers on tap, fruited sours, and handcrafted hard seltzers. Although they do not have kitchen operations, they offer on-site food truck options on a regular basis.
The brewery’s goals and vision have been brought to life by its founding team: CEO Niki Childs, Head Brewer Jay Jones, Tasting Room Manager Ciara Jones, and VP of Marketing Eric Childs. Picking the oldest neighborhood in Tampa as the place to open, they were intrigued by the neighborhood’s rich history and energetic vibe.
“We were drawn to the heritage of the building and are eager to preserve what we can while giving the site a new lease on life,” the founders write.
All their beverages are made using the highest quality of ingredients, control processes, and the care to deliver their premium product to guests.
Since opening, the team says they have been warmly greeted and brought into the community with open arms from residents.
“It was vitally important to us to create a third space for the community, with home and work being an individual’s first and second spaces, respectively,” Childs says. “We truly wanted to bring the community together, meet their neighbors and friends over a beer, and continue to nurture those close, interpersonal relationships.”
Matcon Construction Services, Inc.
3023 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33603
Over the past year and a half, Matcon Construction, a Southeast region construction company licensed in five states, renovated a building in the Heights for its headquarters. Putting about $1 million into the remodeling of the original building on Florida Avenue, they also invested another $1 million into adding a 5,000- square-feet expansion wing to use as a training center and extra office space. The construction for the new wing will start in the next 30-60 days.
Matcon has been around for 19 years at their old headquarters in north Tampa near the University of South Florida.
“We are a commercial general contractor that also has a pretty large structural concrete subcontracting operation. We also have another division, which is solar and sustainability solutions, all in we are about 125-150 employees,” says CEO and President Derek Mateos.
As a minority certified business, Mateos is the chair of the Minority Business Accelerator program with the Tampa Chamber of Commerce offering training on business strategy, financial topics, growth strategies, etc. “What we’re trying to do there, it’s kind of a big deal. It helps facilitate a lot of people,” Mateos says.
Matcon Construction Services has worked on St. Pete’s Pier, Tampa International Airport, a number of local hospitals, etc. In moving to the Heights neighborhood, they hope to continue turning around the surrounding area. The area is evolving with time as more people realize the neighborhood’s potential and what a great city Tampa is. “A lot has changed in Tampa within the last three years,’’ says Mateos. “Before we bought the building, I think they were feeding the homeless out of it; it wasn’t such a nice place. … We had the vision. We said, ‘Hey, this area is great. We can help change it’.”