Two New Soft Serve Ice Cream Shops Now Open

New Tampa has recently added two new soft-serve ice cream shops — Mr. Penguin, which is located at 18089 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy., between Michaels and Pure Barre in The Walk at Highwoods Preserve Plaza; and Sprinkles Ice Cream (photo, right) located in the same Mobil gas station building as the recently relocated Saffron Indian Cuisine and Deano’s Pizza & Pasta (formerly Hawkeye’s NYS Pizza) at 10865 Cross Creek Blvd.

Mr. Penguin, which also has a South Tampa location, has your basic vanilla and chocolate (or swirl both) ice cream flavors, but I’m interested to see how they combine soft-serve with any of about two dozen Italian ice flavors (including some unique ones, like sugar-free cotton candy, green tea and sour apple) in what they call “gelati” (not to be confused with “gelato”). For more information, visit or call (813) 252-7625.

Meanwhile, Sprinkles is a tiny little, not-sit-down place featuring vanilla, chocolate and swirl soft serve ice cream, plus delicious shakes (Reese’s and Nutella are among the flavors), smoothies (try the strawberry mango), slushies (watermelon, fruit punch and more), plus healthy additions like chia or flax seed, protein powder, carrot and spinach. 

Original Saffron Owners Reopen In New Location!

For those who were confused as to why the original Saffron in the Cross Creek Center plaza became Saffron Palace (which is now closed), original Saffron Indian Cuisine owners Sunita and Nimesh Chheda say the important thing is that New Tampa’s original Indian restaurant is back in business. 

Try the soups and other quick, hot foods to go, from vegetable samosas to chicken tikka masala. Although there are a couple of tables inside, this is not the old sit-down-dining Saffron, but Nimesh promises me that my favorite lamb chops in New Tampa  are back.

For more info, call (813) 600-3315 or visit 

Check Out The Juice Factory!

Are you trying to eat and drink a little cleaner? You definitely should check out the Juice Factory, located next to Five Guys Burgers & Fries at 6431 E. County Line Rd.

This unique mom-and-pop (photo on previous page) is actually owned by four brothers, and has a huge selection of healthy juices (you also can create your own — they have virtually every fruit and vegetable available), plus two dozen different boosters (even echinacea) and shots (from ginger to turmeric), plus smoothies, bowls, salads, wraps and even six kinds of healthy toast, with breakfast coming soon! For more info, visit or call (813) 345-8884.

Island Fin Poké Co. Coming Soon!

If you’ve been waiting to hope on the Hawaiian-and Caribbean-style poké bowl craze, or you’ve already gotten excited about the poke restaurant coming to the Villages at Hunter’s Lake plaza (next to the under-construction Sprouts Farmers Market), you won’t have to wait a year or more — because Island Fin Poké Company, which has existing locations in Worcester, MA, and in Winter Springs, FL, with more central Florida and other new locations coming soon, is expected to be open at 6417 County Line Rd. (between Winn-Dixie and Ginza, across from Juice Factory) by the end of October.

Franchise owners and long-time New Tampa residents Brenda and Jeff Sproat (I coached against him in Little League between 10- 15 years ago) promise that once you’ve created your own poké bowl at Island Fin, you may never want to visit another poké place.

I’m definitely looking forward to trying both the ahi and spicy ahi tuna and the chicken bowls…and to catching up with the Sproats.

For more information, visit — GN  

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