TARPON SPRINGS — For decades, Tarpon Springs was generally known for two issues — the Sponge Docks and Greek food items.
That assertion nevertheless holds genuine to some extent nowadays. The historic tourist district continues to attract thousands of site visitors to Pinellas County’s northernmost local community each and every year, and the docks, as perfectly as other parts of town, are dotted with well-founded eateries serving authentic Greek cuisine, such as Hellas, Mykonos, Dimitri’s on the Drinking water and Mama’s.
But as preferences have altered and palates have expanded in modern decades, Tarpon has also welcomed a broad assortment of new food items and beverage options to city, including fifty percent a dozen microbreweries and a distillery as nicely as dozens of new dining establishments that stray considerably from the regular Greek menus.
In point, in the very last year-plus, no much less than a dozen restaurants have opened in the metropolis, presenting Italian and creole foodstuff, duck tacos, Peruvian/Chinese fusion dishes and authentic falafel and shawarma.
According to Tarpon Springs Economic Development Supervisor Karen Lemmons, the influx of special eateries in the city did not occur overnight and did not take place by accident.
“I assume while it appears that all of a sudden these new dining places are popping up, we laid the groundwork many several years in the past when we made the Restaurant Recruitment grant,” Lemmons explained by using e-mail of Tarpon’s latest dining growth. “The grant was a proactive effort to appeal to new eating places, breweries, and cafes to add diversity to dining selections and really encourage “After 5” firms. At that time (2015), there were being only two eating places downtown open up after 5:00 and thus little nighttime foot targeted traffic. The grant, together with advertising, assisted carry in 12 new dining/consuming establishments within just the downtown, and those people corporations stay effective.”
In truth, inspite of being in the throes of a all over the world pandemic, many establishments opened their doors in 2020 or just prior and have appreciated continued good results these days, like Jo Jos’s Italian Diner on South Pinellas Avenue, H’ours Creole Smokehouse on East Tarpon Avenue, Madeline’s Falafel and Shawarma on North Pinellas Avenue, and Pisco Peruvian Chinese Fusion, a blend restaurant and nightclub that opened in the dwelling of a former steakhouse at 80 W. Reside Oak St. in March.
In accordance to Pisco’s co-owner Juan Gomez, they purposely chose the place near the Sponge Docks for their second restaurant for the reason that they preferred to carry a unique encounter to Tarpon Springs.
“This is our next cafe — we have one particular on Armenia Avenue in Tampa that is been very successful,” Gomes claimed in January as he oversaw $100,000 value of renovations to the roomy setting up, which provided introducing a dance floor. “We understood the creating owner and we preferred the put and the place because we’re seeking to convey a different working experience to Tarpon Springs.”
Gomes admitted some persons he appreciates questioned his choice to carry Pisco’s special menu, which brings together genuine Peruvian foodstuff with Chinese dishes, and neon-lit club scene to Tarpon Springs.
But the skilled restaurateur understood that was accurately where he wanted to be.
“We’re fired up to convey some distinct lifestyle to Tarpon Springs,” he stated, incorporating they’re “expecting to attract men and women from Clearwater and Largo and St. Pete as perfectly as Pasco, Port Richey and New Port Richey, all the way to Brooksville. When people today learn there is a Peruvian put in town, they will travel to get to it.”