Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City now serving weekday breakfast

Local Ybor City pirate-themed restaurant, Gaspar’s Grotto, is now selling breakfast daily with an expanded menu on Saturday and brunch buffet on Sundays.

The weekday breakfast menu is available from 7AM-10:30AM and has items ranging from $4.95 to $8.95 with most items at around $5.95. Items on the menu include 3 Egg Cheese Omelet, Two Eggs Your Way, Cuban French Toast, Breakfast Skillet, Biscuits and Gravy, and more.

I visited yesterday and had a late breakfast with Ybor City Geeky Gal and Chef Mark Hook.

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One of the first dishes I tried was the biscuits and gravy. Everything is prepared fresh in-house and it really shows. The biscuits were soft and delicious and the gravy was incredible – definitely one of the best gravy toppings I have ever had in Tampa Bay. Even the side of potatoes was delicious – normally something that isn’t even worth mentioning on breakfast dishes.

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The bacon was notable for having a peppery flavoring to it and was perfectly crunchy. Many of the breakfast items come with bacon, but if you want more you can get 2 strips for $2.

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You can also take a more traditional route with simple eggs made you way with sides and Cuban toast from La Segunda Bakery. The great thing about Ybor City being the heart of historical Tampa is great Cuban bread is always nearby.

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I also checked out their Gaspar’s Specialty Bloody Mary of the Day at Gaspar’s Grotto – it’s loaded with all kinds of toppings including cheese, meats, sausage, ribs, and more. It could very well be a meal on its own.

All of the breakfast items were delicious and fresh and the price was right – easily beating out many breakfast chains and competing with the pricing of diners. The best part is you can enjoy your breakfast outside on the outside decks of Gaspar’s Grotto and there is plenty of free 2-hour parking available in the morning hours in Ybor City.

Breakfast is also available for take-out – you can call ahead to 813-248-5900 and pick-up your breakfast to take to work or whatever engagement you may have.

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Finally, I couldn’t leave without trying the Cuban Sandwich at Gaspar’s Grotto with the 6th Annual National Cuban Sandwich Festival approaching. The Cuban here was excellent – the bread toasted perfectly and the pickle having just the right crunch. The Cuban sticks to traditional with the exception of a mayo-mustard mix. Plantain chips on the side were also excellent. I love plantain chips and these did not disappoint.

Gaspar's Grotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gaspar’s Grotto. 1805 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 248-5900. http://gasparsgrotto.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gasparsgrotto/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/gasparsgrotto/

Pupuseria CentroAmericana

Pupusas are a way of life in California. When you’re driving down the street you can find them almost anywhere on each block. They go well with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and make the perfect late-night snack as well. Most people in Florida don’t know what a pupusa is and giggle when they hear “poo” in its name. This weekend I took two friends to perhaps the only pupuseria in Tampa called Pupuseria CentroAmericana.

Located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the restaurant certainly fits a hole-in-the-wall look, but then those places are usually the best places to get something to eat. Upon entering the blue and white building we found a booth right near the entrance and had a seat. A server came out and brought us our menus. They took our order for drinks as I explained the different items on the menu to my friends. Friend #1 ordered a horchata (rice-water cinnamon drink that I introduced to her at the Taco Bus) and Friend #2 had a Coca-Cola (they come by the bottle…but honestly I don’t think it would go well with the food there). They also have different fruit juices available, but we didn’t try any. I stuck with a water because I’m trying to save money at the moment.

It took us some time to decide what we wanted to eat, but the waitress was patient with us. Friend #1 decided to have their Ham Special ($7.50), which comes with a type of hard cheese (called Queso Fresco), sour cream, refried beans, fried plantains, two eggs, and tortillas. Friend #2 ordered the Steak breakfast combo #40 ($7.50), which comes with everything that is in the Ham Special (minus the ham). They also both ordered a pupusa ($2.00 each) with refried beans and cheese mixed together. I ordered two pupusas ($2.00 each), one with cheese and one with refried beans mixed with cheese. In addition, I ordered a side of sour cream ($1.00) and refried beans ($1.75) so my total would only come to $6.75. Quite a deal!

Friend #1’s Ham Special.

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Both their breakfast orders came out before the pupusas and were making my mouth water! Friend #2 noted that his steak had some good seasoning on it, I was suspecting it was maybe Carne Asada…but I wasn’t sure, I will try it for myself sometime in the future. Before I knew it the pupusas came out and they looked delicious! Nice and big, not too greasy.

The pupusas were excellent; I couldn’t tell the difference between these and those in California. I attacked those pupusas with all my hunger, but just like those in California they were heavy and made me full fast. The cheese was excellent and the mixed pupusa was fantastic, the refried beans were certainly homemade and not the canned kind you find in many Florida Mexican restaurants these days. I was glad I didn’t order extra food. My friends could barely finish their food, but I’m glad they ordered regular breakfast as well so they could play it safe in case they didn’t like pupusas.

Both my friends commented on how much they liked pupusas and my mission was  successful! Now to take my other friends here…

Pupuserie and Cafeteria Centro on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Pupuseria & Cafeteria CentroAmericana

Address: 2504 West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607

Phone #: (813) 874-1248

Hours: 9am-8pm, Closed Thursdays

Website: http://pupuseriacentroamericana.com/