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New restaurant opens at Tampa Convention Center Sail Plaza

Big Ray’s Fish Camp serves fish caught fresh from Tampa Bay.

A new restaurant is opening on Tampa’s Riverwalk Thursday as part of the Tampa Convention Center’s capital improvement plan.

Big Ray’s Fish Camp is celebrating its grand opening from 5-6 p.m. at the renovated Sail Plaza at the south end of the convention center. 

The celebration includes drink specials, live entertainment, games and an opening ceremony with Mayor Jane Castor

This is the second location of Big Ray’s Fish Camp. The first is on Interbay Boulevard. It’s known for its grouper sandwiches and offers a variety of other seafood including conch fritters, oyster po’boys, blackened shrimp burgers and lobster corn dogs. 

Big Ray’s serves fish caught fresh from Tampa Bay. 

The menu also features items for land lovers including burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, salads and chicken and a kid’s menu with grilled cheese, fried shrimp or a corn dog.

The Sail Plaza has undergone a series of upgrades in recent months including expanded seating, new shade structures, upgraded restrooms and the new restaurant. 

Sail Plaza serves as an outdoor oasis serving Tampa Convention Center goers, downtown Tampa and people enjoying the Riverwalk. It is on the edge of the Hillsborough Rivers with views of downtown Tampa, the river and the iconic minarets at the University of Tampa on the other side of the river. 

It has been the annual location for former Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s “capture” and rescue during a robust military demonstration featuring various military watercraft, mock gunfire, helicopters and paratroopers. 

Big Ray’s Fish Camp is open to the public as well as attendees at convention center events and expositions. 

It’s located at 333 S. Franklin St. Parking is available in the nearby Amalie Arena parking garage and the convention center garage. The restaurant is also easily accessible by the Tampa Streetcar, which has a stop directly in front of Sail Plaza and serves downtown Tampa and Ybor City. Fares on the streetcar are currently free.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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