Excerpted from The Minaret story. Franklin Street’s Darrah Winkler serves as Marketing and Events Manager for Sparkman Wharf.
In November 2018, Sparkman Wharf, a new outdoor waterfront space opened in Downtown Tampa. Sparkman Wharf features 10 different food concepts and gives residents and tourists a fine dining experience outdoors. Additionally, live musical performances are provided on weekends to add to the overall ambiance.
“With so many different aspects to the property and so many unique guests, we truly hope that each guest has their own costumed experience,” said Darrah Winkler, marketing and events manager at Sparkman Wharf. “Whatever experience you as an individual are seeking, we have worked really hard to provide, so everyone can have what they’re hoping for.”
The location is separated into three dining arenas – Dining Garden, Beer Garden and Splitsville. The Dining Garden features restaurants like Edison’s Swigamajig, Flock and Stock: Chicken and Burgers, BT in a Box and The Corner’s Pizza. These chains are owned by some of Tampa Bay’s top chefs such as Edison from Edison’s Food Lab, Dave Burton, BT Nguyen, Noel Cruz and Branden Lenz, respectively, as well as Art Smith. Smith is a chef who won the James Beard Award twice and has partnered with Splitsville, bringing Southern comfort style food to their menu.
Other restaurants found at Sparkman Wharf are locally owned businesses such as Whatever Pops and Bowls, Foundation Coffee, Boat Run and Montados: Tapas and Wine. Additionally, the Beer Garden has over 30 different craft beers on tap, craft sodas, wines and seasonal iced teas. Food prices range from $5 to $20 depending on what you order.
“I would not say Sparkman Wharf is unique compared to other places in the city like Armature Works,” said Bruna Ferreira, sophomore psychology major. “But, it definitely adds to the city and that style of community eating that is seen around Tampa. It has a friendly, family environment and their menu is very diverse, having everything from oysters to typical American food.”
According to Winkler, Sparkman Wharf’s main goals are lifestyle and helping the city of Tampa with its development, by giving those living around downtown somewhere to enjoy a nice day outdoors in the vibrant atmosphere of the place. Going beyond events like live music, movies on the lawn and celebration of holidays, there will also be fitness and wellness focused events like yoga on the lawn. She also stated that Sparkman Wharf will be expanding. Over the next few weeks, aesthetic and concept changes are going to be made to some office spaces.
“I think Sparkman Wharf definitely adds to the Tampa Bay Area by giving it a young, lively vibe,” said Anna Buccafuri, junior international business and management major. “It gives people something to do while waiting for a Lightning game to start, exploring the city, or just a night out. It’s very unique compared to other places, since they have their food places in trailers which is different from what I’ve seen before.”