By Gary Nager

Jalapeno – New Tampa’s Authentic Mexican Cuisine!

So, we finally have Mexican cuisine in New Tampa that can not be classified as “fast food.” Jalapeno Mexican Grille, which opened recently in the space previously occupied first by the Louis Pappas Market Cafe and more recently by Joy of Tokyo in the Oak Ramble Plaza, is a casual, but elegant restaurant featuring truly authentic (and delicious) Mexican cuisine.

Owner/chef Miguel Espinosa and his wife, Dawn Boyer, opened Jalapeno only a couple of months after Joy of Tokyo closed, due to the death of its owner (which we have reported in previous issues).

The place is lovely, the food is delicious and the price is right at Jalapeno, with everything from sizzling fajitas (photo, $10.95-$12.95), pescado Tampeno (lightly Panko-breaded and seared catch of the day served on a bed of rice and topped with arugula and pico de gallo, $10.95) and even a grilled 8-oz. New York strip steak served with an enchilada mole sauce ($12.95) are all priced low enough to enjoy every day. Most entrées and small plates at Jalapeno cost $5.95-$11.95 and Miguel, who worked at many different types of restaurants in New York City, delivers on his promise of delicious food. Even the homemade salsa rocks!

For more information, see Jalapeno’s ad on page 45, stop in at 19493 Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., call 977-0800 or visit Jalapeno is open every day for lunch and dinner.


Machismo Moves To Palms Connection

If you’re looking for something a little faster, Machismo, the Southwestern build-your-own burrito bar that previously was located in the Oak Ramble Plaza (very close to Acropolis Greek Taverna), has re-opened in the Palms Connection on E. Bearss Ave., just west of BBD, less than a mile south of its previous location.

Now under new ownership, Machismo still features fresh, huge, create-your-own burritos and salad bowls, nachos, tacos and quesadillas with the finest ingredients and more than 30 different hot sauces at its hot sauce bar, but has now added ice cold Mexican and other imported and domestic beers to the mix.

If you liked Machismo before, check out its larger, more comfortable location and please tell them that the Neighborhood News sent you!

Machismo Burrito Bar is located at 2808 E. Bearss Ave., next to Big Papa’s Pit. For more info, visit or call 977-9796.


Tijuana Flats Opens On BBD

Speaking of fast Mexican/Southwestern cuisine, Tijuana Flats has opened another location in our area (the other close locations are on S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel and on S.R. 54 at Collier Pkwy. in Land O’Lakes).

The newest Tijuana Flats (17501 Preserve Walk Lane) opened in August in the space previously occupied by Shane’s Rib Shack, next to Verizon Wireless, in Highwoods Preserve off BBD at Dona Michelle Dr.

Tijuana Flats features burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, enchiladas, tostadas and even fish tacos.

For more information, call 975-0483 or visit


Here & There, This & That

In non-Mexican/Southwestern dining news, Cole’s BBQ, which previously was located in the Shoppes at The Pointe plaza in Tampa Palms, has re-opened in the space formerly occupied by Jimmy Z’s BBQ in the Cross Creek Plaza at 10861 Cross Creek Blvd., less than a mile west of Morris Bridge Rd. Owner/chef Bradley Cole and his wife Tracy invite you to visit Coles’ spacious new location or call 986-9500 for more info.

Although we did not have details at our press time, we saw that Wasabi Japanese Steak & Sushi on BBD in front of the Pebble Creek Collection has been sold. The new restaurant will still have a Japanese flavor, as the small Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar chain was getting ready to open in Wasabi’s space at 19601 BBD at our press time. Call (866) 543-5623 or visit for info.

And finally, I recently stopped in on a Tuesday night at Café Olé in the Cross Creek Center plaza on Cross Creek Blvd. and I was surprised to hear the dulcet tones and light acoustic guitars of Vincent Indelicato and Conner McNamee singing and playing the guitar. The two New Tampa residents and Jesuit High juniors, who also attended Benito Middle School together, will be performing at Café Olé during $5 Tapas Tuesdays, including next Tuesday, September 13. For info, call Café Olé at 907-5242.) The boys also will perform at Mulligan’s Irish Pub at the Pebble Creek Golf Club (PCGC) on Saturday, September 16. For info, call PCGC at 973-3870. — GN

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