Ha Long Bay Vietnamese To Open On BBD

Congratulations to my new friends Nhan Nguyen and her husband Hai Chu and their family, the owners of the new Ha Long Bay restaurant, which is expected to open (hopefully) by the end of this month in the space previously occupied by Aroi Thai-Tsuyu at 20685 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. 

Several months ago, we announced in these pages that the restaurant would be a new location of Hana Sushi, but when that deal fell through, Nhan, Hai and their family jumped at the opportunity to open the fourth location of Ha Long Bay (the others are in St. Petersburg, Dunedin and Largo). Nhan and Hai also previously owned Ocean Blue Sushi Bar in Carrollwood.

The new Ha Long Bay will feature a variety of Vietnamese and Asian fusion favorites, including pho, banh mi sandwiches, Chinese-style stir-fry dishes, poké bowls, rice combination plates and a large variety of boba teas. Check our Facebook page for updates about Ha Long Bay’s opening. — GN

Even More New Eateries Are Now Open At The KRATE Container Park!

Almost all of the restaurants at the KRATE Container Park at The Grove at Wesley Chapel have now opened — and the word is definitely getting out that KRATE is a great destination for a wide variety of cuisine types from all around the world.

The newest KRATE to open is Boba Mac’s Tea & Eat, which combines the seemingly unlikely pairing of a variety of teas with boba pearls (made of tapioca starch from cassava root, not gelatin; photo below left) and a number of varieties of macaroni and cheese, as well as some Filipino dishes. I sampled the frozen banana tea with bobas and it was both super-tasty and filling like a smoothie. 

“We’re still trying to add some employees,” said owner Rich Bussey the day we went to press with this issue, “so we’re just opening with the boba teas for now, but we will add our full planned menu when we really get rolling.” — GN

Carrabba’s Opens On The North Side Of S.R. 56!

Speaking of Italian, Jannah and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the pre-opening of the new Carrabba’s Italian Grill, located at 25298 Sierra Center Blvd. (between Bonefish Grill and Aussie Grill, on the north side of S.R. 56). The restaurant officially opened to the public on Sept. 13, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a local favorite.

The newest location of the chain, which serves 130-year-old recipes created by the family of founders Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola, is one of more than 200 in nearly 30 U.S. states, with about 70 of those being located in Florida.

And, while I’ve never been the biggest fan of most chain eateries, the new Carrabba’s is beautiful, has a great bar area and I already like many of the made-from-scratch dishes I’ve sampled, including the lasagne pictured above, the Tuscan-grilled pork chops and steaks, the mezzaluna ravioli and more. 

For more info, call (813) 261-2691 or visit Carrabbas.com. — GN

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