Portillo’s opened their first location in Tampa this past Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at 2102 East Fowler Avenue. I couldn’t resist stopping by to check out what was happening and grabbed a hot dog with some fries. I ran into Mark Sharpe from the Tampa Innovation Alliance during my visit. Look for some information about that shortly on CarlosEats.com.
The location has the same exact design as the one over in Brandon, leaning towards a ’30s Prohibition-style and definitely is going to bring some new people to the neighborhood surrounding USF. The employees were just as friendly as the other location and the same attention to quality was obvious. Online ordering and a drive-thru are a plus, especially in the busy area around USF.
The food was great – as expected. The Portillo’s hot dog includes mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle and sport peppers piled onto a perfectly steamed poppy seed bun. Portillo’s offers plenty of options at an affordable price and I know I will be a frequent customer at this location. Recently I’ve been hearing about ribs at this location and that I need to try it – and that is the next thing on my list!
Overall, I’m super excited for Portillo’s to be in the neighborhood and looking forward to them being a big part of the growing community around here. Welcome to Tampa Portillo’s!
Restaurant Name: Portillo’s
Address: 2102 E Fowler Ave. Tampa, FL 33612
Phone Number: (813) 540-9001
Mel’s Hot Dogs is a part of my USF Dining Guide.
Mel’s Hot Dogs is well-known as one of Tampa’s best places to have a Chicago-style hot dog since 1973. The menu has a number of quality hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken choices, and burgers to choose from. Once you decide what main entree you want you, you choose whether to upgrade to a basket and have coleslaw or baked beans with french fries. They have both soda and draft beers to choose from.
My personal favorite is their corn dogs ($2.50). They are crispy just like you would have at a fair, such as the Florida State Fair, and the beef hot dogs inside taste fantastic. The french fries are also crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The baked beans are usually sweet and the coleslaw tastes like real home-made slaw.
The hot dogs ($2.75) vary depending on which one, but you can usually count on the bun to be toasty and soft and the beef to taste just right. I normally will not eat hot dogs, but Mel’s is probably the only place where hot dogs actually taste good to me and it’s because of their attention to making quality food. I have tasted their Angus Beef Burgers ($4.75) as well and was impressed with how good it tasted, Mel’s can do more than just your average hot dog. Checkout their menu for more.
The employees are friendly and strike up a conversation every once in awhile. Normally you only wait a few minutes for your food and Mel’s is located right next to Busch Gardens and just two miles from USF so it is a convenient local business for students and tourists to stop at. There is plenty of seating for both small and large parties as well, though parking is a little limited they have extra in the back.
Justin happy with his hot dog.
Restaurant Name: Mel’s Hot Dogs
Address: 4136 E Busch Blvd. Tampa, FL 33617
Phone Number: (813) 985-8000
*Prices do not include basket prices