Axios Tampa Bay

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🍣 Sushi Wednesday!

🧒 ​​Mostly sunny. 88Β°/72Β°.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Tampa Bay member Bob North!

Today's newsletter is 910 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: No rEVgrets for our electric car pioneer

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Selene here! When my cherished '06 Subaru unexpectedly went to the big auto shop in the sky last month, I leaped into the EV world.

Why it matters: The electric vehicle market and charging infrastructure are still in their infancy, with lots of kinks to work out.

  • But after reporting on EVs and the local tech scene for a while, I decided to join the "early majority" of buyers with a 2023 Kia EV6.

Why I did it: I have no illusions that my choice is better for the environment than a gas car. But for the planet β€” and my wallet β€” I'm playing the long game.

Pros: With a Kia, I don't have to bow down to Daddy Musk (even though Twitter/X is always open in my tabs).

  • It's got a lot of cool bells and whistles including remote start, parking assist and navigation-based smart cruise control.

Cons: Tesla's charging grid is way more reliable, and the brand has been around longer. Kia just started making the EV6 in 2022.

  • To get a tax break, I would've needed to buy either a brand-new car β€”which would've been more expensive and I'd risk not knowing the bugs and recalls β€” or buy a much older model that I knew would be less reliable.
  • My car insurance doubled.

Lessons in charging: Charging at home has been super easy, but visiting my girlfriend in Tallahassee recently was an interesting journey. There are huge gaps with no chargers, so you have to plan wisely.

  • I planned a stop at a charging station in Crystal River that was marked on Apple Maps as a Shell station, only to discover it was in the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce parking lot and the chargers were tagged out of order.
  • When I used the system in my car's screen that's constantly pointing me to chargers, it took me to a Duke Energy office with no chargers on site.

What I'm watching: I'm tracking my charging costs to see if I save more money on the grid than I did at the pump.

Go deeper: Selene's road trip tips

2. ⛽️ How our greenhouse gases add up

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

There are now multiple ways we can see exactly how transportation in Tampa Bay contributes to climate change.

Why it matters: Transportation is the biggest driver of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.

Driving the news: The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council recently took the area's first inventory of greenhouse gases, estimating 31.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent were produced by Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties in 2021, per the Tampa Bay Times.

  • That's less than half of what the Miami area produces and less than the greater Orlando area β€” but it's about double what all of Delaware produces.

Yes, and: In the recent Transportation Climate Impact Index, Tampa Bay's metros stacked up fairly well against other major areas in the nation.

Zoom in: The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area was 22nd overall, scoring high for biking activity.

  • Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater came in 27th, driven by a high fuel economy rating.
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven was 64th, ranking among the worst for transit ridership and truck miles traveled.

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3. The Pulp: Former justice laments abortion ruling

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

⚾ St. Petersburg City Council scheduled tentative dates to hash out the Tampa Bay Rays stadium deal: May 9 and 23. (Tampa Bay Times)

  • Council members will discuss the ballpark at one meeting and the Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment plan at the other.

βš–οΈ A retired Florida Supreme Court justice criticized last week's ruling that paved the way for a six-week abortion ban to go into effect next month. (Slate)

  • "Unfortunately, with this court, precedent is precedent until it is not," wrote Justice Barbara Pariente, who left the bench in 2019.

πŸ›ŽοΈ The long-awaited Palmetto Marriott Resort & Spa is set to open next month. The 252-room hotel will connect to the Bradenton Area Convention Center, which is undergoing a $48 million renovation. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

4. 🍽️ Beach Drive's newest restaurant

A rendering showing the exterior of Juno & the Peacock. Photo: AvroKO

A new restaurant and bar are coming to Beach Drive.

State of play: Juno & the Peacock and cocktail lounge Pluma will open in the old 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House at Fifth Avenue North and Beach Drive across from North Straub Park.

  • The restaurant has been under construction for almost a year, with the 400 Beach website saying it was closed for renovation.

Driving the news: Owners Shawn and Jeanna Damkoehler announced the new concept yesterday in a news release.

  • The couple also owns Allelo, the Mediterranean-Aegean eatery that opened in 2022 in the old Annata wine bar spot.

The bites: The restaurant menu will include American fare and seafood like seared grouper and crab cakes along with classic cocktails and 1,400 wine choices.

  • Pluma's drink menu will include cocktails inspired by South and Central America.

What's next: Juno & the Peacock and Pluma are set to open early summer, per the release.

A rendering showing a dining room with white oval lights and a patterned rug.
A rendering showing the dining room of Juno and the Peacock. Photo: AvroKO
A rendering showing a bar with dark blue walls, purple chairs and brass accents.
A rendering of the interior of Pluma cocktail lounge. Photo: AvroKO

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Sponsored event listings

Stay booked and busy

πŸ“… Upcoming events around the city.

  • Heritage Fire Tampa at Tabellas at Delaney Creek next Sunday: Heritage Fire Tour kicks off in Tampa on April 21: Uniting live fire cooking, local farms, and top chefs for an all-you-can-eat and drink feast. Grab tickets today! $125 general admission, $175 VIP.
  • Suncoast Storytellers 2nd Saturday Story Swap at The Factory/St. Pete on Saturday: Join the Students Telling Stories Group (STSG) to improve your storytelling skills. This opportunity is open to students in grades 6-8. Enhance your talent and gain valuable experience in a supportive environment.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. πŸ—£οΈ Calling all coffee lovers

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Have you made up with your loved ones after fighting over Tampa Bay's best beach? Well, get ready to rumble again.

State of sip: We want to determine Tampa Bay's best coffee shop. So grab an extra shot of espresso and get ready to defend your favorite.

  • Hit reply to tell us which local shop is your favorite and why.
  • We'll start the bracket on Monday and let you battle it out all next week.

🍊 Selene is listening to "Bliss Montage."

πŸ›‹οΈ Kathryn is in the market for a new couch and could use some recs!

πŸ“š Yacob is reading Andrew Boryga's "Victim."

This newsletter was edited by Jeff Weiner and copy edited by Azi Najafi.