Cru Cellars opens in Westshore Marina District, marking watershed moment for the mixed-use development

Cru Cellars opens in Westshore Marina District, marking watershed moment for the mixed-use development

South Tampa wine bar Cru Cellars has opened in the Westshore Marina District, marking a watershed moment for the mixed-use development.

The third outpost of Cru, which also has locations in Palma Ceia and Heights Public Market at Armature Work, is the brand’s most food-forward location. It feels much more like a restaurant than the original site in Palma Ceia, which devotes a large amount of its real estate to a bottle shop, said owner Jennifer Bingham.

The Westshore location is 2,400 square feet and features an outdoor seating area.

There are more than 250 selections on the wine menu, and the cellar totals 2,000 bottles. The food menu includes nibbles like truffle fries and garlic Gulf shrimp crostini — but also pizza and a selection of entrees that includes filet mignon and several seafood dishes.

Cru is the second retail tenant to open in Marina Landings, the district’s 70,000-square-foot retail village; boutique Sand Surf Co. opened May 1. The retail openings are a big milestone for the district, giving residents a walkable option and nonresidents a reason to visit.

“The quality of these tenants shows how carefully we have curated the retailers in Marina Landings to offer a holistic experience to our residents and the South Tampa community,” Britney Mroczkowski, vice president of retail development with BTI Partners, said in a statement.

Fort Lauderdale-based BTI Partners is the master developer of the Westshore Marina District.

Bingham said she’s made more than 50 hires for the new Cru, which is open for dinner and sells coffee and pastries in the morning. In the weeks ahead, the hours will expand to include lunch and brunch offerings.

The hiring is no small feat; restaurants throughout Tampa Bay are facing an extreme labor shortage. But Bingham said she’s been able to recruit by offering an incentive to existing staff — in the form of a Cru gift card — and following up with applicants immediately.

Bingham is already working on her fourth location, a champagne bar named Bouzy in Hyde Park Village. That restaurant is still in the design phase, she said.

“We’ll go in for permits soon,” she said. “I think it’ll be good to have [the openings] spread out a bit.”