TAMPA — The new taco joint at the new Channelside Bay Plaza is set to open Feb. 4.
But the official ribbon cutting for Hablo Taco will take place a few days before on Jan. 29, when Channelside owner Jeff Vinik will be joined by Mayor Bob Buckhorn for the unveiling of the outdoor mall’s newest restaurant.
Hablo Taco is a new dining concept created by two veteran Channelside restaurateurs, Mark Gibson and Guy Revelle of Millennium Management Group Inc. Both opened two of the plaza’s original restaurants in Stump’s Supper Club and Howl at the Moon. Both places shut down in 2012 as the complex was mired in extensive financial and legal problems.
Those issues were resolved when Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, bought the 230,532-square foot Channelside center for $7.1 million in bankruptcy court this past summer. Vinik also owns the lease to the Amalie Arena and owns the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina and more than 25 undeveloped acres. Last month he unveiled a $1 billion vision to redevelop his properties and transform the downtown waterfront.
That plan, though, is years away from moving any dirt. But until then, there will be tacos served in a new 6,000 square-foot “taco and tequila” lounge with a 50-foot outdoor bar. The project is being jointly funded by Millenium and CBP Development Inc., the Vinik-led venture that bought Channelside and hired Franklin Street to manage the property.
Hablo Taco is also hiring. Anyone interested in working there should check out: www.hablotaco.com. Interviews are being held on-site Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Jan. 21.