The Skipperdome at Skipper’s Smokehouse. (Photo:

Pick Of The Week: Skipper’s Smokehouse!

Although it’s located 20 minutes or so south of Wesley Chapel, the legendary Skipper’s Smokehouse (910 Skipper Rd., off N. Nebraska Ave. in North Tampa) has officially reopened — and anyone who has lived in this area for more than a few years surely has visited (and missed!) this fun and funky non-chain seafood restaurant and live music venue.

I visited the closed-since-Covid restaurant on one of its soft pre-reopening days a few weeks ago and was thrilled with the latest incarnation of this long-time favorite.

Back when Wesley Chapel had only a handful of homes and New Tampa had only a few restaurants of its own, Skipper’s was famous on both sides of the county line for its great drink prices, outstanding live music, fresh fish (like the yummy grilled wahoo, above right, that I brought home to Jannah), raw oysters and great wings (above left). My new friends Terri and Michael (below) enjoyed those crispy wings (with medium-spicy “hotter” sauce on the side) so much that they got a second order of them. And, Skipper’s has revamped its menu from its soft opening to include a few more of its all-time favorites, from gator ribs to pulled pork and from fried shrimp to crawdaddy mac and more.

And, the locally famous Grateful Dead cover band, Uncle John’s Band, returned for its first Thursday evening show at Skipper’s in more than a year just before we went to press with this issue, and another popular Skipper’s staple, The Red Elvises, put on the first Saturday night love music show at the Skipperdome.

Hopefully, Skipper’s also will bring back its famous, adults-only Freakers Ball this year to celebrate Halloween properly.

Call (813) 971-0666 or visit for more Grand Reopening info, showtimes and the new menu — and please tell them I sent you! — GN

More Food Coming Soon To Our Area!

Years ago, Carrabba’s Italian Grill was rumored to be coming to Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in Wesley Chapel, on a still-undeveloped parcel located south of where Bonefish Grill used to be located (where it has been replaced by Señor Tequila).

Then, originally reported in 2019 to be coming to the Cypress Creek Town Center area on the north side of S.R. 56, along with the now-open Aussie Grill, and the new location of Bonefish, Carrabbas’s has finally begun construction. According to Pasco County’s permitting records, the 5,074-sq.-ft. Carrabba’s will be built in between Bonefish Grill and Aussie Grill. — JCC

Meanwhile, Zaxby’s (right), the fast-casual fried chicken eatery, is getting ready to open on the south side of 56, near ALDI and the Tidal Wave Car Wash and was still hiring additional employees as this issue went to press. — GN

The ExerScience Center Hosts A Ribbon Cutting!

Congratulations go out to my friend and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Dr. Lauren Leiva of The ExerScience Center, located at 24706 S.R. 54 in Lutz, less than two miles east of the Tampa Premium Outlets.

Lauren, her family and staff hosted a Greater Pasco Chamber ribbon cutting on July 19 and she, of course, couldn’t resist the urge to cut the ribbon with a Samurai sword, instead of the traditional (and boring, at least to her) scissors.

Lauren has helped strengthen my knees and Jannah rehab her back and The ExerScience Center also offers outstanding personal training, nutrition counseling, group fitness and yoga classes, in addition to her award-winning physical therapy — as she has been named the People’s Choice Best of the Best Physical Therapist by the Tampa Bay Times two years in a row. To find out more, call (813) 803-7070 or visit — GN

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