Fat Rabbit, Wok Chi & Snowrolls On Our List Of Favorite New Eateries In 2017
As part of our “year in review” series of stories in this issue, assistant editor John Cotey and I decided that I should include something about all of the new restaurants that opened in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel in 2017.
And of course, since I love to write about new places to eat, I decided to mention a few of my favorites that opened in our area over the past 12 months.
In Wesley Chapel, my favorite new eatery is Noble Crust.
But, Noble Crust was far from alone on the list of new places to eat north of the Pasco County line in our distribution area. In The Shops at Wiregrass alone, in addition to Noble Crust, Irish 31, Wok Chi and Menchie’s all opened and all of them were great additions to the dining scene at the Shops.
After Noble Crust, Ford’s Garage is definitely my favorite newcomer, with a really good seared tuna appetizer, tender steaks and a great Chicken Henry entrée. None of the other new entries around the Tampa Premium Outlets mall make my list, as most are fast food, my favorite of which is Culver’s, followed by Pollo Tropical, Starbucks, Panda Express, Wendy’s and Taco Bell.
Irish 31 also makes my list of new favorites, even though the menu has a few too many fried items for my taste. However, the Ploughman’s salad and Farmer’s Fried Chicken, as well as a pretty good ribeye steak keep it near the top of the newbies for me.
I also really enjoy not only the build-it-yourself stir-fry dishes at Wok Chi, but also the Chi-Licious pork spareribs, the egg rolls and dumplings and even the hot green tea.
Meanwhile, here in New Tampa, we didn’t see as many new places to eat open, but The Fat Rabbit in the City Plaza at Tampa Palms shopping center and Precinct Pizza on Cross Creek Blvd. are both pretty good, with Fat Rabbit being my favorite of the two for its excellent burgers and blackened wings.
And, although it isn’t truly a restaurant, per se, the new Snowrolls, the ice cream shop in the Pebble Creek Collection also is pretty incredible. Even though you can now get rolled ice cream in other places in our area, the quality of the ice cream and the variety of flavors and toppings at Snowrolls is second to none.
This first location of a new franchise also has excellent crepes, amazing authentic Italian coffee and coffee drinks, as well as a new chocolate gyro that swirls milk chocolate and hazelnut flavors with more to come. It isn’t ice cream, but it’s indescribably smooth chocolate and you can even add toppings to it, too.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the new owners of Café Olé Restaurant on Cross Creek Blvd., who have converted a small portion of the existing restaurant (which has long been my favorite in New Tampa) to a Venezuelan bakery and coffee shop with great café con leché and a variety of authentic Latin desserts.
We Lost A Few, Too
Unfortunately, New Tampa also saw a few restaurants close in 2017, including Vuelo Mexican Grill, Takara Sushi & Sake, Paramount Lebanese Kitchen and Dairy Queen.