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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Rooster & The Till; Seminole Heights To Get New Restaurant

Posted Apr 26, 2013 by Jeff Houck

Updated Apr 26, 2013 at 06:58 PM

Rooster & The Till

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - A Tampa chef who is among the area’s leaders in promoting the use of local and organic ingredients says he will open a new restaurant in Florida Avenue’s growing food district that will focus on highlighting products from nearby farms

Ferrell Alvarez, formerly executive chef at Café Dufrain on Harbor Island, is partnering with Ty Rodriguez and Brian Lampe to open Rooster & The Till at 6500 Florida Ave. Rodriguez and Lampe previously worked with Alvarez at Café Dufrain and Mise en Place.

Plans call for Rooster & The Till to have a 25-foot-long bar and 45 seats for lunch and dinner service. The menu, Alvarez said, will heavily focus on charcuterie made in-house, as well as dishes made with offal and items from the raw bar.

“I call it ‘Brooklyn tight,’” Alvarez said. “It will be very warm, very cozy. There will be a shared atmosphere in terms of food and conversation.”

The partners also plan to feature an indoor vertical farming wall where herbs and vegetables will be harvested for use in recipes. Beef, pork, chicken and lamb will be sourced from Pasture Prime Family Farm in Summerfield, north of Wildwood.

Rooster & The Till

Alvarez (above, left) worked at Café Dufrain until March. Rodriguez (above, right) became executive director of the Gasparilla Music Festival after leaving the restaurant in July 2012. He will continue to work for the festival on weekdays and at the restaurant on weekends. Lampe served as a sous chef at Dufrain and will cook alongside Alvarez. In 2012, Alvarez and Rodriguez produced a one-issue magazine called The Dirt that highlighted Tampa chefs and farms.

Rooster & The Till

Rooster’s targeted opening date is mid- to late-June. When it opens, the restaurant will further solidify Seminole Heights as a dining destination. Domani Bistro Lounge sits a block south on Florida Avenue. Also along the road are such notable spots as The Refinery, The Independent Bar & Café, Cappy’s Pizza, Front Porch Grille, The San Carlos Tavern and Cold Storage Craft Brewery. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, Sabroso and Taco Bus also call Seminole Heights home.

Seminole Heights

These are in addition to the upcoming Red Star Rock Bar, (pictured above) Angry Chair Brewing and several other restaurants in various stages of development.

“People are getting it that [Seminole Heights] is low from a cost standpoint and yet is food-forward and quality oriented,” Alvarez said. “People who accept the food here are more open-minded, more into trying new things.”


*Top three photos by Cliff McBride/Tampa Tribune
*Terrible bottom photo by Jeff Houck/Tampa Tribune

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