Happy Friday!

🥵 Sunny and hot. 90°/66°.

  • Sounds like: "Eat It," Weird Al Yankovic.

🏞️ Situational Awareness: The National Park Service will waive entrance fees tomorrow to kick off National Park Week. Here are 11 parks you can visit in Florida.

🎂 Happy early birthday to our Axios Tampa Bay member Gina Johnson!

Today's newsletter is 865 words, a 3.2-minute read.

1 big thing: Our newest culinary stars

Japanese fine dining restaurant Kōsen was one of two Tampa restaurants awarded stars last night. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Two more Michelin stars have risen in Tampa.

Why it matters: The Tampa Edition hotel hosted chefs and restauranteurs from around the state at a flashy ceremony yesterday, further proving the city's worth as a foodie destination.

  • Tampa has 30 restaurants in Michelin's ​​recently updated Florida guide.

Driving the news: Scandinavian restaurant Ebbe and Japanese fine dining restaurant Kōsen each earned a star.

A Michelin mascot awards a prestigious star to Tampa's Ebbe restaurant.
Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Zoom out: Miami took home three stars along with the Young Chef award and Sommelier award. The city won 12 stars last year.

  • Orlando took four stars and the service award.

The intrigue: The Green Star, a new award recognizing sustainability, went to Orlando's Kaya and Los Félix and Krüs Kitchen in Miami.

Flashback: Tampa was snubbed from stars when Michelin first rolled into Florida in 2022.

The fine print: Tampa represents the region in Michelin's Florida guide because the city's tourism board paid to be included in Michelin's honors.

Best bite: Star-holder Lilac's lobster feuillantine with black truffle-madeira emulsion stood out among trays of A5 Wagyu beef and a raw bar inside an ice sculpture.

Go deeper: Michelin honorees from elsewhere in Florida

2. 😎 Taylor Alison Swift, Florida woman

Taylor Swift's pop-up at The Grove in Los Angeles. Photo: Octavio Jones/TAS23/Getty Images

Taylor and Florence, you did us right.

State of slay: Taylor Swift's much-anticipated new album, "The Tortured Poets Department," dropped at midnight.

  • Among its 17 angsty tracks is "Florida!!!" co-written and featuring Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine.

Catch up quick: Upon release of the tracklist in February, Axios Tampa Bay and Miami joined the crush of theories about what Swift's take on the Sunshine State would sound like.

  • The prevailing opinion — that it would cover her breakup with Joe Alwyn, which went public just before last year's three-night The Eras Tour run in Tampa — turns out to be either mostly or entirely incorrect.

Yes, but: The real thing is so much better.

The big picture: It's a gothy ode to escapism and Florida's swampy allure to folks on the run: from grief, bad memories, crime — "you can beat the heat if you beat the charges, too" — and how your home is "really only a town you're just a guest in."

  • "So you work your life away just to pay for a timeshare in Destin," Swift sings, before launching into the drum-heavy hype machine of a chorus: "Florida! It's one hell of a drug. Florida! Can I use you up?"

Then, Welch enters the chat, lending her powerful vocals to another Sunshine State theme:

  • "Hurricane with my name when it came/I got drunk and I dared it to wash me away/barricaded in the bathroom with a bottle of wine/well me and my ghosts we had a hell of a time."
  • The thought of Florence Welch throwing her ghosts a little hurricane party is so delightful that we're not even mad that, technically, 2018's Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.

The bottom line: What a beautiful thing that the world's biggest pop star, a billionaire who could go anywhere in the world, finds comfort here in our home.

Keep reading

3. ☕ And the winner is ...

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Pour one out for St Pete: Tampa's got the best coffee shop in the Bay.

Zoom in: Blind Tiger steamed past the competition, beating Bandit in a head-to-head matchup that wasn't close — especially after the Tampa shop's Instagram callout stirred up support.

Bracket: Axios Visuals
Bracket: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: Blind Tiger began with 56% of the vote against Buddy Brew, rose to 68% against Spaddy's, and clinched 71% in the semi-final against Foundation Coffee.

  • One thing is clear: The café knows how to energize its base, brewing enough votes to expand its lead each round.

4. The Pulp: Biden's Tampa travel plans

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

✈️ President Biden will visit Tampa next week. His reelection campaign announced earlier this month that it sees Florida as "winnable," though former President Donald Trump leads in recent polls. (WFTS)

Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band died at his home in Sarasota yesterday. He wrote and sang the band's hit song, "Ramblin' Man," and also released several acclaimed albums of his own. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

🖊️ Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that allows unlicensed chaplains to volunteer at public schools. The American Civil Liberties Union says the measure violates the separation of church and state. (Tampa Bay Times)

Sponsored event listings

Stay booked and busy

📅 Upcoming events around the city.

2024 Tampa All-Pro Dad Experience at Raymond James Stadium on May 4th: Experience the thrill of stepping onto the field at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. Enjoy quality family time and create lasting memories with your kids, connect with your children through fun and interactive moments. Also take home practical fatherhood tips and make lasting connections. $35.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. 🏒 Sunshine State playoff battle

The Lightning ended the season with a victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Photo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The Lightning begin the NHL playoffs with a trip to South Florida to face the Panthers in a battle for the Sunshine State.

Why it matters: After three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning collapsed in the first round last year. To make a deeper run this postseason, they'll need to upset their in-state rivals.

State of play: The Panthers (52-24-6) won the Atlantic Division while the Lightning (45-29-8) finished fourth.

  • Tampa Bay is led by star winger Nikita Kucherov while the Panthers will be counting on Matthew Tkachuk, who scored 11 goals last postseason, to get hot in the playoffs again.
  • Kucherov (No. 6) was the only Lightning player to make the top 20 of ESPN's playoff player rankings. Four Panthers did, including Tkachuk (No. 7).

How to watch: Sunday, 12:30pm, on ESPN.

Tell a friend

😭 Selene regrets not discovering Chappell Roan until after she sold out Jannus Live.

👑 Yacob is enjoying some Blind Tiger on the Riverwalk.

🎧 Kathryn is listening to the rest of "The Tortured Poets Department."

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