If you haven’t yet stopped by the new Florida Avenue Brewing Co. (Florida Ave.), located at 2029 Arrowgrass Dr., in the former Sports + Field location on S.R. 56, you’ve been missing a treat — and, from the crowds seen there to date, you may be one of the few locals who hasn’t already given it a try.
This nearly 30,000-sq.-ft., two-story building — which was purchased by the Derby family last year, after being vacated back in 2015 — has been completely renovated and re-opened as an outstanding sports bar-style restaurant with somewhat more upscale food. And, although co-owner Anthony Derby says the S.R. 56 location will one day be home to the largest craft brewery in Florida, the beers, ales, hard ciders and seltzers being sold at Wesley Chapel’s Florida Ave. are currently being brewed at the Derbys’ smaller Seminole Heights location and shipped here.
And, even though yours truly isn’t much of a beer drinker and isn’t interested in playing corn hole, here are our five favorite things so far about Florida Ave.
5) Seminole Heights’ Cool Makes Its Way To “The Chap” — For everyone who’s tired of eating at chain restaurants along S.R. 56, there truly is nothing quite like Florida Ave. There certainly is nothing else here that has this newcomer’s “vibe.”
4) The Covered Outdoor Seating Area — Although there are lots of local eateries that have outdoor seating, very few have any covered areas at all, but Florida Ave.’s is covered, has a few TVs outside and access to an open courtyard area with corn hole games.
3) Private, Indoor Areas For Parties & Events — Florida Ave.’s 20,000-sq.-ft. first floor not only has a sizable indoor bar and dining area, it also has arcade games (above) and some separate indoor “tasting rooms” where you can host your own private parties.
2) The Variety Of Brews, Plus Premium Liquor — The top left photo left is a “flight” of six of Florida Ave.’s variety of brews and although anyone who knows me knows that I’m a whiskey drinker, I actually loved two of the brews shown here (yes, they were only the simple Florida Ave. Lager & Brown Ale, shown 2nd & 3rd from the right, but still) and I also enjoyed a hard cider and seltzer, but don’t tell anyone. Jannah even liked the Raspberry Berliner Weisse.
1) THE FOOD! — I haven’t yet sampled the entire menu, but I’ve already loved the spicy, Korean-style bibimbap bowl topped with a fried egg (above), the cheeseburger, the Burrata flatbread, the crab cake appetizer, the crispy cheesesteak egg rolls (nice pieces of steak with onions, and cheese) and the classic Caesar with grilled chicken.
My favorite so far, however, was the Chinese sticky ribs appetizer.
The dish offers four fall-off-the-bone black bean and miso pork ribs with a hoisin BBQ glaze over kimchi slaw with sesame seeds and scallions. I also can’t wait to try the hanger steak and several other appetizers, flatbreads, handhelds and entrées.
For more info, call (813) 452-6333 or visit FloridaAveBrewing.com & please tell the Derbys I sent you! — GN