When The Grill at Morris Bridge opened on Cross Creek Blvd. (next to Publix) in late 2021, many locals raved about having a locally owned sit-down dinner place that wasn’t a chain. Others said it was a little pricy for what it was and some even (incorrectly, in one editor’s opinion) complained that the portions were small.

Well, owners Frank and James Gouveia heard the calls and they’ve been working with new chef Wally Dawson (who previously was the Executive Chef at Roy’s and at Lake Jovita Country Club) to revamp The Grill’s menu, reducing the prices on many menu items, adding a few new goodies and removing some items altogether. The Grill also has put additional emphasis on a great, reduced-price Bar Menu.

Frank, who spent a lot of years in the wine distribution business, also promises some lower-cost glasses and bottles of wine, and the new Happy Hour (Tuesday-Friday, all day until 6 p.m.) features a number of specially-selected bottles for just $28, as well as $4 draft beers and $5 Corazon tequila, Spring 44 (indigo) gin, Svedka vodka, Benchmark bourbon and Bacardi rum drinks.

The bar menu includes Cacoila paprika-braised pulled pork sliders, an outstanding blackened chicken sandwich (usually served with fries, but I get it with delicious sautéed broccolini), “smash” burgers and a variety of crisp-crust, oven-baked pizzas. Our new favorite of these is the slightly spicy, slightly salty linguiça sausage pizza , although the curiously named Route 140 pizza combines the same linguiça with banana peppers and onion. You also can dress up your own cheese pizza with a variety of veggies, meats and extra cheese.

There are a number of items that Frank treated me, Jannah and photographer Charmaine George to on our most recent visit — items that are so new, they hadn’t even been added to the menu at that point, but they’re awesome.

Mine and Jannah’s favorite was the bacon-and-parmesan-crusted mahi-mahi, served on a bed of asparagus, fried capers and roasted red potatoes, with a lemon butter sauce. The crust is thick and crispy, but not overpowering and Frank and Wally said that the mahi will cost about $22, which — take my word for it — is a bargain.

Another new entrée that Jannah and I didn’t get to sample (because of my accursed shellfish allergy) but Charmaine raved about was the blackened shrimp fettuccine Alfredo. She said the sauce, pasta and shrimp were all spot-on. Wally and Frank also promised that other new menu items will be announced shortly — possibly as soon as by the time this issue reaches your mailbox.

The only thing that could make some of our favorites at The Grill at Morris Bridge even better would be lower prices. 

Among those favorites are the most authentic-tasting Caesar salad I’ve had in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel, the grilled pork chop (served with fingerling potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts and Romesco sauce), the 8-oz. grilled filet mignon (there’s also a tasty 12-oz NY strip and Frank says a ribeye might be added) and the chicken & broccolini (with rigatoni, diced chicken, garlic, broccolini and lemon cream sauce) and the true New England clam chowder.

Our favorite desserts are the creme brulée and the chef’s cheesecake (try either one with the perfect cappuccino or regular coffee) and The Grill also has “New Tampa’s Best Sunday Brunch” with tasty egg dishes (including a variety of Benedicts), brioche French toast and more, and the kids menu has four different items all priced at just $9.

“We don’t want The Grill to be just a ‘special occasion’ destination,” Frank says. We want it to be an affordable, family-friendly place you’ll want to visit every week.”

The Grill at Morris Bridge (10920 Cross Creek Blvd.) is open every day except Monday for lunch and dinner. For more information, call (813) 388-5353, visit TheGrillat MorrisBridge.com or search “The Grill at Morris Bridge” on Facebook.

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