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A Look into Bowen Yard  

Bowen Yard will have its grand opening in July! The community has been waiting with bated breath, following the final touches of the open-air downtown Winter Haven food hall. Bowen Yard offers cocktails, quick bites, and authentic sit-down establishments. The culinary curation at the Yard includes Maritime, Ripples Handcrafted Ice Cream, SoCe Market, Lake House Kitchen, ATO Poke and Sushi Burrito, and Hemingway's Cuban Kitchen. Let's learn a little about this delicious line-up, shall we? 

SoCe Market 


Jacki Walston, of Adler's Burgers fame, opened downtown Winter Haven's only bodega early last year. The "Market South of Central" offers healthy and decadent options, "cuisine across cultures," grab-and-go bites, beer, wine, and more. The chill, modern space, a former garage on Avenue C S.W., opened on January 31, 2023. 


A combo of alcohol, food, and hospitality is what Walston hopes to create across all her concepts. She looks to foster "a nice environment for people to come and hang out, drink, and be merry." Drinking or not, grab-and-go or sit and relax, "We wanted a place that everybody felt comfortable to come to," Walston said. "The initial concept was to be the yin to the yang of Adler's – a healthier, quick place to grab food for everybody in the downtown area." 


Their menu has lighter and indulgent options and tasty signatures like The St. Larry, made with roasted turkey, white American cheese, bacon, 1000 Island dressing, hoagie peppers, lettuce, tomato, and onion, served baked or cold. The St. Larry is an ode to Walston's St. Lawrence, Seaway Valley roots. "That's how I always ordered my own sub," she said. 


The Bump & Grind, a deli delight – made with ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, Swiss cheese, baked and topped with an NYC deli-style salad, banana peppers, tomato, and onion – was inspired by the famous TikTok grinder. "I felt like I was being bombarded with how delicious that looked," Walston said. Putting it on the menu was team member Jack's idea. "They have been doing a lot with pushing the envelope of rad and fun and exciting, and make me feel a little more confident being weird with food," Walston said of her team.


Along with their 'picnic' style offerings of soup, sandwiches, beets and peas, traditional potato salad, mac salad, and more, SoCe recently added a gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza to the menu. "Those have been going over extremely well," Walston said. The downtown deli has featured unique pizza topping combinations like the 'Tongue Thai'd' with chicken, carrots, red onion, cilantro, and peanut satay sauce, and 'The Conquistador' with Spanish chorizo, corn, pickled onion, and feta.


Walston is excited to "have my neighbors finally come and join the party. […] I like to joke that I've been like Tom Hanks in "Castaway," waiting for the rest of the party to come and hang out. I think we will be an amazing, cohesive unit. It feels nice to have that finalized." 




The guys who brought you hits like Cob and Pen, Good Thyme, and Rec Room present Maritime! This raw bar, coastal concept boasts quite the oyster and cocktail program. 


The dining room features taupes, corals, and blues, lending to an elevated seaside vibe. Its many windows allow ample sunlight during lunchtime hours and moody lighting in the evening. The pièce de resistance, however, is the 50-foot bar made of quartz, sea glass, and oyster shells. 


Guests can start with savory offerings such as crab rangoon dip, lobster poutine, or caviar sliders. Three to four raw oyster options are available, and are served with Travis's Hot Sauce, house cocktail, grilled lemon, and Italian saltines. Guests can also order them charbroiled or steamed.


Along with coastal eats like crispy fish and chips, Main lobster and Parisian gnocchi, and salmon Wellington, guests can order their Bowen Yard Burger—a chargrilled steakhouse patty, American cheese, bibb lettuce, tomato, pickles, house-made ketchup, garlic aioli, Honeycomb brioche, and fries. Or opt for the succulent steak frites with Maritime butter, fries, and a choice of side.


Maritime will also have a pass-through window where folks can order food and cocktails from their tiki-themed cocktail menu. 


Lake House Kitchen 


Authentic street tacos downtown – say what?! Lake House Kitchen owner Moses Vazquez said, "I have always been in the food industry." He started with a seafood market and distribution business and opened his first food truck in 2017. "I enjoyed serving people delicious food, and it started growing from there," Vazquez said. 


He opened Lake House Kitchen at the end of 2021 and now has five operational food trucks, with five more ready to roll. "I enjoy pleasing other people with food," he said.  


Now, Vazquez is bringing his traditional Mexican fare downtown to Bowen Yard. At his five food truck locations, birria tacos are the best sellers, and Vazquez suspects his cozy spot at the open-air food hall will be no different. The birria tacos are a cheesy mess – in the best way. I'll gladly get my fingers greasy for a bite of this satisfying taco dipped in a savory consomé. The loaded tacos don't disappoint, either. Each bite is filled with succulent steak, queso fresco, and fresh veggies. I drizzled mine in their salsa verde and lime juice for the perfect balanced taco – spicy, acidic, and flavorful. 


The Lake House Kitchen owner visited Mexico several times to get an authentic taste of street tacos and birria from where he hails. He returned to the States and worked on recreating that magic. "I'm the one that does all the recipes and the cooking in the background that we distribute to all the food trucks," he said. "I had a good recipe that I created myself, and now it's my top seller at all my locations." 


Along with his scrumptious street tacos, Lake House Kitchen at Bowen Yard will serve five to six bottled beers. The downtown location will feature a more extensive menu than its current food truck offerings, including street corn. 

Ripples Handcrafted Ice Cream


Honeycomb Bread Bakers' Benjamin Vickers and Ethos Coffee Roasters' Lisbeth Pacheco have teamed up for a pretty sweet endeavor. Their Bowen Yard venture, Ripples Handcrafted Ice Cream, will keep a commitment to simply made, quality ice cream with an exploratory vibe.


"You need something to compliment a lot of the other savory culinary concepts. Dessert is its own category in the culinary world and in culture in general. It's the last opportunity to give your guests a good impression. It's often the one that lingers on your pallet and in your mind," Vickers said. 


"Ice cream has been my favorite dessert since I was a very small child. So owning an ice cream company was kind of like that kid's dream that I thought was never going to happen," said Pacheco. 


Much of the inspiration for Ripples' unique flavors revolves around Vickers' long-standing grudge against regular ice cream. "I have a lot of beef with conventional ice cream," he said. "It tends to be very same-same." Ripples patrons can expect unique flavors based on honest ingredients (milk, cream, sugar, eggs) like fig and goat cheese and watermelon basil. "I think I take a bit of an unconventional approach to formulating ideas. I rarely say 'no' to anything until I've tried it. I'm trying to have a very 'Why not? Let's go for it,' kind of approach," he said. 


Ripples won't be limited to 'safe' flavors like salted caramel, cookies and cream, or mint chocolate chip. Vickers said,  "We may dabble in some of those concepts, but there's no way we would have it as simple as what you can already find at the grocery store." 

ATO Poke & Sushi Burrito 


Get creative with your cravings at ATO Poke & Sushi Burrito. This sumptuous spot in Bowen Yard has two other locations: Krate in Wesley Chapel and the Joinery in Lakeland. Consider their rice as your very own canvas—invent a roll, burrito, or bowl unique to you. They use only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients to make your edible art. 


Suppose you don't feel that creative spark; never fear! You can choose from their selection of curated specialty burritos or bowls. But first, debut with something tasty like ATO's pork gyoza, crab rangoon, edamame, zukku dumplings (pork dumplings sauteed in egg and sweet sauce), and more. 


Sushi bowl offerings include the Buddha with tofu, cucumber, carrots, avocado, asparagus, cilantro, roasted corn, broccoli, wakame, scallions, edamame beans, mixed greens, pickled red onion, and ginger dressing. Or try the Kraken with salmon, crab mix, masago, carrots, mixed greens, pineapple, avocado, cream cheese, serrano peppers, cilantro, spicy mayo, and sesame seeds. 


If you want to express yourself, first choose your canvas — sushi rice, brown rice, or mixed greens. Next, select your medium (aka your protein). They've got quite the selection, from panko chicken and fried tofu to ahi tuna, crab mix, hamachi, spicy tuna, and beyond. Lastly, dress that bad boy up, add embellishments, and finish it up. All their sauces are homemade, including spicy mayo, sweet eel, sriracha vin, and more. Embellish with a selection of fruits and veggies, and finish it with a sprinkle of cilantro, scallions, wonton chips, sesame seeds, or masago — and dig in!

Hemingway's Cuban Kitchen


For the longest time, the only place you could get Hemingway's Cuban Kitchen's modern twist on Cuban classics was in Tampa at the waterfront, mixed-use Armature Works. Now, you can enjoy their famous Cuban sandwich or a tasty breakfast dish locally – in Winter Haven, to be precise. 


Hemingway's is taking up residence at Bowen Yard and will feature standout Cuban classic dishes with an updated feel like the Cuban Salchipapa with shredded pork, chicharrones, melted cheese, chopped avocado, crispy onions, aioli duo, fresh chopped cilantro piled high on a bed of yuca fries. Or bite into the El Ultimo – the ultimate steak sandwich: thinly sliced palomilla steak, caramelized onions, crispy potato strings, melted cheese, and cilantro garlic aioli on toasted Cuban bread.

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