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PHOTOS Vela Italian Tavern is the next big thing in the Westshore Marina District

interior of a restaurant with a large white marble bar

Cru Cellars owner Jen Bingham announced that the Westshore Marina District wine bar will transform into Vela (5232 Bridge St), a restaurant focused on comfort food items such as pasta and pizza, in addition to more Mediterranean cuisine, wines and cocktails. This marks the 4th new business Bingham and the Cru Hospitality Group have opened in 2023. It officially opens to the public on October 2. Ahead of its debut, Vela is hosting an opening block party on September 30 from 5pm-8pm.

“As Cru Hospitality Group evolves – so do our concepts,” writes Bingham in an Instagram announcement. “We are thrilled to announce the introduction of Vela Tampa and the next chapter of Cru Cellars. We so deeply appreciate your support over the years and look forward to what’s to come.”

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Vela officially opens on October 2, and reservations are now available on its website. You can keep up with the latest Vela news by following the restaurant on Instagram.

a plate with hummus, chickpeas, and pita
Classic hummus
a margherita pizza
Margherita Pizza – basil, burrata, balsamic

The Vela transformation will take place this summer

The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner and brunch. They’ll also lunch Spanish Sundays on October 22. This event will coincide with its brunch and include a giant paella for all visitors to enjoy.

At a recent preview, we were treated to their Margherita pizza, which is now one of the top 10 pizzas I’ve had in Tampa. The classic hummus plate can be shared, but I devoured it on my own. The amazing bartenders were able to whip up a non alcoholic version of the Cello, Ciao, cocktail. Typically it’s made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, limoncello, berry, ginger beer, and rosemary sprig.

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a large cozy booth

More must try items include:

  • French onion burger: raclette, caramelized onions
  • Rigatoni: Cacio e pepe
  • Funghi Pizza: Fontina, feta, cambozola
  • Croquetas De Jamón: Pomodoro, Grana Padano
a pink cocktail in a small glass
Cello, Ciao: Buffalo trace bourbon, limoncello, berry, ginger beer, rosemary sprig
truffle fries
Truffle fries

This has already been a busy year for Bingham and the entire Cru Hospitality family. They just recently opened Bouzy, a champagne bar, in Hyde Park Village, in addition to Small Giant restaurant and Wine on Water in downtown Tampa.

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