The Tampa Convention Center awarded Smuggler’s Enterprises Inc., with its Harpoon Harry’s Crab House concept, the contract for the Tampa Bay Convention Center retail space.

The Punta Gorda company is investing $3.6 million to convert a 10,000-square-foot storage space into a family friendly restaurant that will open in six to eight months.

The city issued a request for proposals for the space in May. The restaurant in the convention center complements the city’s downtown growth as Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik continues work with Cascade Investment on Water Street Tampa, a $3 billion mixed-use district.

Residential expansion is also expected downtown across the Hillsborough River at the former Tampa Tribune site as well as in nearby Tampa Heights and Harbour Island.

Smuggler’s “has several well respected, family friendly, concepts across the Southeast that offer a wide variety of options for everyone,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement.

Buckhorn called Harpoon Harry’s Crab House “another option, in a growing number of restaurants downtown, for both our convention goers, vacationers, and Tampa residents alike. As Tampa’s downtown becomes a destination that visitors across the globe are flocking to, it’s high-volume, moderately priced restaurants like these that will keep families returning to the urban core.”

Harpoon Harry’s Crab House restaurant will have between 400 and 500 seats with mezzanines and open air concept through the use of roll up doors along Franklin Street. It will include a sushi bar, stylized bar area themed around a 1926 truck, as well as a main bar.


Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal