Valentine’s Week 2019 at Seasons 52 Tampa

Seasons 52 is doing Valentine’s Day a little differently this year and celebrating an entire Valentine’s Week 2019 from February 10th to February 14th.

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular date to get engaged according to WeddingWire and is the inspiration for the grand finale of this week of love.

Here is a breakdown of the events they are having in celebration:

  • Sunday, February 10th – A Mini for your Mini: Children under 12 will receive a special mini dessert in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Some flavors include Mocha Macchiato and Pecan Pie.
  • Monday, Feburary 11th – Wine & Flatbread Special: Seasons 52 will run a $15 wine and flatbread special that features Loveblock Pinot Noir. Six flatbreads will be available to choose from.
  • Tuesday, February 12th – Galentine’s Day: Seasons 52 will offer a special for the ladies with Riondo Prosecco for $5.
  • Wednesday, February 13th – Endless Bubbles: Enjoy endless bubbles of Riondo Prosecco for $14.95 with the purchase of an entree. Select locations only.
  • Thursday, February 14th – Engagement Special: Get engaged at Seasons 52 and enjoy a complimentary champagne toast on every dining visit for a year.

Now if only I had someone to engage me this February 14th.

Restaurant Name: Seasons 52

Cuisine: New American

Neighborhood: WestShore

Address: 204 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609

Phone Number: (813) 286-1152

Cost: $$

Reservations: http://www.seasons52.com/reservations

Website: http://bit.ly/2UMCrM7

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Sushi Battle Tampa Bay coming February 20th – tickets on sale

Sushi Battle Tampa Bay will occur on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 at Armature Works in Tampa Heights and tickets are now on sale. The event is organized by Big City Events.

The battle for who makes the best sushi in Tampa Bay is not to be missed. The winning restaurant will win the “Golden Chopsticks Award”.

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2M8bdfF

The event will run from 6:30PM to 9:30PM. All guests must be ages 21 or older.

VIP guests will get an extra hour of private entry to the event. VIP also includes complimentary Sapporo beer and VIP-exclusive areas.

All guests will enjoy unlimited sushi samples from quality restaurants around town and plenty of opportunity to enjoy some sake and beer. All tickets include 1 sake bomb drink.

Entertainment includes taiko drummers, Godzilla, sumo suit wrestling, karaoke, sake tasting, and group sake bombs. DJ Fresh will be the Sushi Battle chairman.

Participating restaurants:

Don’t miss it!

Event name: Sushi Battle Tampa Bay

Venue: Armature Works

Address: 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 20th, 2019, 6:30PM-9:30PM, 5:30PM for VIP

Cost: $50-$85

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2M8bdfF

Ages: 21 years or older

Website: http://www.gotosushibattle.com/

Valentine’s Day 2019 specialty menus at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

Looking for a romantic day at the casino on Valentine’s Day 2019?

The Rez Grill Valentine's Day 2019 special in Tampa at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
The Rez Grill Valentine’s Day 2019 special in Tampa at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casnio

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, located I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa, has a few options available for hungry visitors at four of its dining destinations:

  • Council Oak Steaks & Seafood: Steakhouses and Valentine’s Day dinner pretty much go hand-in-hand. Council Oak is offering specials such as strawberries and baby greens ($15), tournedos of filet and lobster ($90), king-crusted Chilean sea-bass ($70), and a dark chocolate pot de crème or wild berries and citrus sabayon for dessert ($11 each).
  • The Rez Grill: You’ll find quality, original cocktails and delicious food by Chef Frank Anderson at The Rez Grill from 4PM-10PM. Valentine’s Day specials include cocoa-nib crusted filet mignon ($75) and warm valrhona chocolate cake for dessert ($14).
  • Fresh Harvest Buffet: If you’re looking for a buffet option before or after hitting the slots, Fresh Harvest is offering a special buffet on Valentine’s Day from 4PM-9PM for $40 per person. Seminole Wild Card members can enjoy a $5 discount at the buffet. ELITE and XCARD members can enjoy comp. dollars for Valentine’s Day. There will be a carving station, Cucina Italiana, noodles, greens, dessert (called “Sweets a la Mode”), and more.
  • Hard Rock Cafe: Guests at this Hard Rock staple can enjoy a grilled filet mignon and lobster special ($40).

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a AAA Four Diamond rated property and offers seven award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, including the upscale dining venues Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and The Rez Grill. 

Visit Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino online at www.seminolehardrocktampa.com 

Follow them on Instagram @hardrocktampa and on Twitter @shrtampa

Lunchpool app helps coworkers connect and network for lunch

Alexander Abell came up with a novel idea for Startup Weekend in Tampa that propelled him and his associates into the startup ecosystem.

The app is called lunchpool and the goal is to “take back the lunch break” and make users more productive and connected through a healthier, happier, and more fun work environment.

The concept is simple: take out the lunchpool app and search for a coworker who has common interests and make a plan to have lunch with them.

Users will mark themselves as DTL (Down to Lunch) to show they are available for lunch. Interests can range from food preferences, dietary restrictions, television or movie preferences…to name a few.

Now you can finally find that coworker that watches Game of Thrones and talk all about it at lunch without someone staring at you lost and clueless.

Once you connect with someone you can become “lunch buddies” and put them in your network or shortlist for repeat lunch plans. The app also allows you to setup meeting insurance and require a deposit before lunch. If the person does not show up, the money will be donated to a mental health charity.

Some goals for corporations and HR departments that lunchpool seeks to solve include:

  • breaking silos and fostering inclusion and diversity
  • improving on-boarding speed and efficiency
  • supporting internal innovation by connecting workers
  • increasing employee happiness to boost productivity
  • increasing retention and lowering turnover-rates

Lunchpool will integrate with Google Calendar, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft Outlook to ensure your plans are communicated well.

The app will first focus on corporate networking and offer branded networks in a Business-to-Business (B2B) focus. Abell says the eventual goal of the app is to connect the public for lunch in a later stage of development.

What options will be available to diners? Lunchpool will recommend restaurants nearby to eat at with a focus on quality restaurants that can handle lunch crowds first.

Abell envisions lunchpool offering a special priority line in the future for users and discounts for repeat and loyal customers. The possibilities to integrate into the food industry are numerous.

Lunchpool has not had its first seed funding round yet, but plans to seek funding once the app has been introduced into corporations and begins to see user adoption. Currently the app is in beta and accepting requests for testing.

The potential to change the way people interact is there. Abell noted that today’s working population is more reclusive largely due to smartphones and the internet and tends to have a more difficult time conversing with people they may not know. This is especially true for millennials and younger generations. Lunchpool can change that.

Most people recognize that networking is the key to success in your career and business and lunchpool has the opportunity to help break down a wall and help people connect and be successful.

Here are some statistics about networking from HubSpot:

  • 85% of available positions are filled through networking
  • 1 out of every 4 people fail to network at all
  • 9 out of 10 people say small meetings are a preferred method of communication
  • 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships

Clearly there is a big need for an app like lunchpool. Plus – who wants to dine alone?

For more information about lunchpool visit them online at www.letslunchpool.com

Find lunchpool on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/letslunchpool/

Follow lunchpool on Instagram at: http://www.instagram.com/letslunchpool/

Armature Works celebrates one year anniversary of success in Tampa

It has been exactly one year since Armature Works opened its doors to the City of Tampa in Tampa Heights.

The historic building and food hall changed the city for the better and gave many restaurateurs and food brands and opportunity to shine on Tampa’s waterfront just outside of Downtown Tampa.

The venue has also served as a coworking space, event space, wedding venue, and more.

One of the owners and operators of Armature Works, Taryn Bruck, reflected on the past and future of the facility:

“We have learned a lot over the past 365 days and look forward to making your experience at Armature Works better than the last. Our success is attributed to our incredible vendors, hard-working team, and most of all our loyal AW fans! We can’t wait to show what we have in store for 2019!”

Photo credit: Zach Gresham of Adventure Marketing

I talked to a few of the businesses inside the Heights Public Market. Heights Public Market, HPM for short, is the food hall portion of Armature Works. The hall has thousands of customers walk through every week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I spoke with Stephanie Swanz, owner of Empamamas, and she told me:

“This past year has been one of the most rewarding times of my life and I am forever grateful to Chas, Taryn, Adam, and Frank for the opportunity and believing in Empamamas. Not only has Armature Works become one of the most desirable places to visit in Tampa, but it has completely changed the landscape of the neighborhood and I’m so excited to see their future projects unfold over the next few months”.

Graze 1910 has served over 90,000 eggs to hungry diners in the Heights Public Market according to owners, Ray and Lauren Menendez. If you haven’t enjoyed a mimosa and avocado toast with an egg for breakfast, you should. I did for Valentine’s Day 2018.

Clifford Barsi, Vice-President of Social Enterprises and Food Services at Metroplitan Ministries, reflecting on the past year:

“Metropolitan Ministries is very thankful for the opportunity to expand our Social Enterprise concept, ‘Inside the Box Cafe‘, through the generosity of Armature Works owners/developers: Chas Bruck and Adam Harden. They have given us a platform for our Culinary Program to get exposure for our students and to gain foodie acclaim for our in-house brined, cured, roasted, and smoked meats. That’s Good Food, Doing Good with the help from Good People! #Training+Jobs+Hunger Relief = Good Food Doing Good!”

Felicia “Phe” Lacalle , owner of Hemingway’s, told me this:

My experience at Armature Works has been nothing less than extraordinary, to be in such a spectacular place and to open a modern Cuban restaurant that instills nostalgia in such a beautiful city with amazing history is a blessing! We couldn’t have done it without the support of Armature Works, our amazing guests, and my fabulous staff.

Jen Bingham, owner of Cru Cellars, shared this:

“It’s been an amazing year at Armature Works, and we are so proud to be part of the wonderful space they’ve created here! For Cru, it’s been a great opportunity to engage with guests about wine – helping them to find that perfect glass of wine to enjoy, while also introducing them to new things. The Show & Tell space has been a hit for our Cru U wine classes and walk-around tastings”

Here are some upcoming events at Armature Works:

  • Saturday, February 9th from 9AM-1PM – Heights Morning Market: Shop around for locally sourced and grown produce, meats, seafood, artisanal food items, packaged jams, sauces, and more on the Armature Works lawn.
  • Saturday, February 9th from 2PM-4PM: Chinese New Year: Armature Works will celebrate Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Pig! Watch live performances and enjoy some great from Asian vendors inside the Heights Public Market.
  • Wednesday, February 13th from 5:30PM-9:30PM – Heights Night Market: Live-music and local vendors will rock the night away in front of the Hillsborough River. This event occurs every 2nd Wednesday of the month.
  • Thursday, February 14th from 7PM-9PM – Valentine’s Movies on the Lawn – Hitch: Looking for something low-key on Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the day outside at Armature Works with a free public screening of Hitch. Don’t forget your lawn chair or blanket. Popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase as well as food from the 14 vendors inside Heights Public Market. First-come, first-serve. Arriving early is recommended.
  • Wednesday, February 20th from 6:30PM-9:30PM – Sushi Battle Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay’s hottest sushi competition is back and this year it’s at Armature Works. Restaurants will compete for who makes the best sushi, while attendees will feast on all the sushi they can eat. 21+ event. Tickets are now on-sale.
  • Saturday, February 23rd from 3PM-8PM – One Year Birthday Bash: Armature Works will celebrate its one year anniversary as Tampa’s largest food hall and historic venue.

Check out the full event calendar at: http://armatureworks.com/calendar/

WTR Pool & Grill launches new Florida-inspired menu for 2019

WTR Pool & Grill located at 7700 West Courtney Campbell Causeway inside the Godfrey Hotel in Tampa has launched a new dining menu for 2019 that is now available to the public.

Menu prices start at $7.99 for starters and move up to $36 for a special prix-fixe menu.

Matthew McCahill, Food & Beverage Director at Oxford Hotels and Resorts in Chicago, has worked with WTR Pool & Grill Executive Chef, Joe Garcia, to curate this menu that is inspired by Florida and meant to appeal to large audience throughout Tampa Bay.

Chef Joe Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the food industry and previously worked for Grille 116. He is originally from Dallas, Texas.

New menu items include a Maple Chicken and Waffle cone, Florida Bayou popcorn, Strawberry Shortcake French Toast, Beignet Donut Burger, and a Titan Power Bowl.

The Florida Bayou popcorn features buttermilk battered gator tail with creole remoulade. The dish mixes Chef Joe Garcia’s New Orleans background the popular Florida gator.

Some menu items I want to try in the future are the Walkerswood Shrimp & Grits and the Miso Glazed Scallops. Both look incredible and from the ingredient list seem like they would complement my taste buds.

The prix-fixe menu has several options including Apple Panzanella Salad, Pepper Crusted New York Steak Strip with truffle shallot demi, Seafood pasta made with fresh diver scallops, and more.

Dining Guide: Valentine’s Day 2019 in Tampa

Looking for a special place to spend Valentine’s Day 2019 in Tampa? I have you covered.

Here are some options for ways to spend a meal or some time with someone special. Make sure you make your reservations early as Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days in the restaurant industry.

  • Rooster & The Till: One of Tampa’s hottest restaurants in Seminole Heights is offering a 4-course prix fixe meal for $60 per person with an optional wine pairing for $30 per person. Space is limited and reservations must be made by phone (813) 374-8940 6500 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604
  • Noble Rice: One of the best sushi restaurants located in South Tampa is offering a Valentine’s Day Omakase dinner starting at 5:30PM on February 14th. Tickets are $165 per person and are very-limited (already 50% sold!) to keep a romantic atmosphere. Omakase will feature 14 bites including toro, otoro, A5 wagyu beef, uni, and their top of the line seasonal fish with dessert included. Add a sake & champagne pairing for $65 per person. Book your reservation on Tock. 807 W. Platt St., Tampa, FL 33606
  • Coppertail Brewing Co.: Take your special someone out to a Valentine’s Night Market at Coppertail Brewing in Ybor City. The event will run from 6PM-10PM and feature 60+ makers in the backlot. Sip some local craft beer while you stroll through the market. Check out more info at the new Coppertail Market website: www.coppertailnightmarket.com 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605
  • Yacht StarShip Cruises: Escape to a cruise on the bay with Yacht StarShip for Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Lunch and dinner cruises are available and start at $49.95. Tickets include food, live entertainment, roses, champagne, and more. Check out their website for all the options available.
  • Ybor City Wine Bar: This local wine bar in Centro Ybor is offering a Valentines Themed Wine Society event on February 13th from 7PM to 10PM. Guests will enjoy a wine tasting paired with chocolate and include Zin-Phomaniac Zinfandel and Chocolate Shop Red Blend among other surprises. Contact Ybor City Wine Bar at (813) 999-4966. 1600 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
  • Ciro’s: Tampa’s first speakeasy club in South Tampa is offering a special 4-course prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day from 5PM-1AM. Tickets are $95 per person. Main-course dinner options include Grilled Lamb Lollipops, 12 oz. New York Steak Strip, or Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon. There is an option for a bottle of Henroit Champagne and half a dozen of chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your table (plus two Henroit champagne flutes to take home) for $49. Seating is limited. Call to make reservations at (813) 251-0022. 2109 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606
  • Shrimp Boat: One of the best hidden secrets in Bloomingdale is offering Lobster and Prime Rib as a special on Valentine’s Day. Of course their shrimp dishes are all incredible as well. If you’re looking for a great meal at a casual restaurant in the Brandon/Valrico area, check out Shrimp Boat. (813) 571-5858 1020 Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico, FL 33596
  • Haven Tampa: Treat your Valentine to a special curated 5-course Chef’s tasting menu at $75 per person and add a wine or whiskey pairing for $45 per person. Available Valentine’s Day only. Reservations available on OpenTable. 2208 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa, FL 33606
  • Six Ten Brewing: Enjoy a beer and dessert pairing after you enjoy your Valentine’s Day dinner at Six Ten Brewing from 3PM-9PM. They will be releasing Manhattan, a Whisky Barrel Aged Sour Ale, that day as well. On the list: Raspberry Tart, Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Opera, Milk Chocolate Caramel, Coconut Chocolate Opera, Hazelnut Flan, Chocolate Mascarpone Tart, and more. 7052 Benjamin Road, Tampa, FL 33634
  • Terra Gaucha: This Brazilian Churrascaria is one of the best I’ve had and they offering a special offer to those who dine there on Valentine’s Day. A pass to return for a complimentary meal in the future. Come hungry because the meat flows non-stop at this steakhouse. Reservations available on OpenTable. 1108 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, FL 33629
  • Rusty Pelican: This waterfront dining destination on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is offering two options on Valentine’s Day: a V-Day gala or a romantic 3-course sit-down dinner menu. Reservations for dinner are available on OpenTable. 2425 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: Spend Valentine’s Day at the slots and enjoying some great food. 4 of the restaurants at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will offer special menus in celebration of the holiday. 5223 Orient Rd., Tampa, FL 33610
  • Seasons 52: Instead of just celebrating February 14th, Seasons 52 is doing an entire Valentine’s Week for 2019. Planning to get engaged soon? You might want to read more. 204 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609
  • FarmTable Cucina: This one is worth the trip across the bridge. Chef Michael Mina and Don Pintabona’s St. Petersburg creation is offering a 5-course meal for Valentine’s Day from 5PM to 10PM. Some notable items include Key West pink shrimp and Roasted Guinea Hen with Black Truffle. Dinner costs $85 per person with an optional wine pairing for an extra $45 per person. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (727) 523-6297 or on OpenTable. 179 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Did I miss something? Feel free to e-mail me at carloseats[at]gmail[dot]com with any options I may have missed.

Cass Street Deli brings local-inspired Jewish deli to Tampa

Concert promoter turned restaurateur Sean O’Brien is one of the minds behind the upcoming Cass Street Deli. The neighborhood sandwich shop will feature a simple menu with a pastrami sandwich paying homage to New York’s Katz Delicatessen, a signature Reuben sandwich, corned beef sandwich, smoked turkey sandwich, hot dogs, sauerkraut made in-house, and more.

The motivation for opening Cass Street Deli comes from O’Brien’s own desire to have a traditional New York deli in Tampa. O’Brien spent years looking for the right location and seeking investors, but after visiting the Tampa Bay Jewish Food Festival, O’Brien hit the tipping point and decided he wanted to bring his dream to reality.

Like many restaurateurs, O’Brien hopes to share his own personal food cravings with others and hopes Cass Street Deli can be a home for Northerners looking for a piece of home in Tampa.

So far, the response has been quite positive with lines wrapping around the initial pop-up for Cass Street Deli at Nebraska Mini-Mart on Mondays in Seminole Heights. Chefs Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez have a history with O’Brien and helped him get his first location at their neighborhood market.

O’Brien brought on Suzanne Crouch from Ella’s to help him create his first food business. He also has Eddie Shumard, a former sous-chef from The Refinery, on-board as a partner for the deli.

Cass Street Deli will incorporate local elements of Tampa with homemade recipes from O’Brien’s Jewish mother.

Some local food brands that will be spread into the mix including Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes, Tambuzzo Sausage Company, and Blind Tiger Coffee. Bagels will be served and sourced from Bella’s on St. Pete Beach. When not able to source locally, O’Brien wants to go to the source in New York.

The menu at Cass Street Deli will incorporate 4 hot sandwiches and 4 cold sandwiches as well as latkes, beet salad, cucumber salad. Look out for their matzo ball soup as well. The philosophy is to keep the menu simple, but focus on the quality of key menu items.

The North Hyde Park location will join other local businesses including The Lab Coffee and Hooch and Hive in a growing neighborhood just minutes from the new Julian B. Lane Park and Armature Works.

Cass Street Deli will be a fairly small shop with 10 seats for customers and O’Brien wants to push a to-go concept and catering for offices in nearby Downtown Tampa and South Tampa. The shop will also have a market which will sell house-made meat cuts, mustard, and bread for sale by the pound.

Cass Street Deli initially planned to open on National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day on January 14th, but like most restaurateurs, O’Brien has learned it’s safe to assume your target date is never actually your opening date.

Here’s where you can catch Cass Street Deli next until their opening:

  • Sunday, February 3rd – Brunch at Anise Global Gastrobar – Chocolate Babka French toast with Chantilly cream, “Pastramlet”, a pastrami and swiss omelette topped with a spicy mustard Hollandaise, and a basket of latkes from 11AM-3PM.
  • Saturday, February 9th – Blind Tiger Cafe SoHo – In celebration of national bagels cream cheese and lox today, Cass Street Deli will be bagels with cream cheese and lox from 8AM-12PM.
  • Tuesday, February 19th – Crowbar – Cass Street Deli will be featured for
     Beer Garden Sessions with New Belgium Brewing and be serving Matzo Ball Soup along with 2 other menu items that are still to be announced.

Stay updated with Cass Street Deli on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cassstdeli/

Cigar City Brewing at TPA in running for Best Local Dining award by USA Today

USA Today‘s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards currently has Cigar City Brewing at TPA (Tampa International Airport) in the running for two categories: Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere and Best Airport Bar.

Cigar City Brewing opened last year in the Airside C of Tampa International Airport and is serving and brewing local craft beer to airport visitors daily with Cuban food. Popular crafts such as Jai Alai, Invasion Pale Ale, Maduro, and Florida Cracker can be found at the airport brewery along with other selections.

Votes are accepted daily and Cigar City and TPA is looking for locals in Tampa and fans of the craft beer success story to help spread the word.

How to vote:

Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere: http://bit.ly/cigar2019

Best Airport Bar: http://bit.ly/cigarcity2019

Cigar City Brewing was founded by Joey Redner in 2007 in Tampa and pays homage to the rich history of Tampa and Ybor City. It is one of the biggest supports of Tampa Bay’s craft beer scene that now includes over 100 breweries. Cigar City produces over 60,000 barrels of beer a year and has released over 6,000 individual brands of beer. Their annual Hunapu’s Day release party is one of the most popular and exclusive craft beer events in the country.

Dining Guide: 10 restaurants to enjoy a Cuban Sandwich in Tampa

Tampa founded the Cuban Sandwich in the 1800s and is home to the annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival. it would be a mistake to visit Tampa without grabbing one. There are dozens of options on where to eat and each place and many options are great.

Here are some recommendations on 10 places to enjoy a Cuban Sandwich in Tampa:

No. 1 – The Floridian – Cubans don’t get much better than The Floridian. This is a classic, no frills, Tampa restaurant (originally from Treasure Island across the bay which is not affiliated) that has excited my taste buds over and over again. The way they press the bread hits the palate just right. The Floridian has won the International Cuban Sandwich Festival 3 times which is the maximum you can win. The award is well-deserved and The Floridian is well worth your time, plus the prices are great. 4534 West Kennedy Street Tampa, Florida. (813) 287-6622 www.tampasbestcuban.com

No. 2 – Palm Avenue Sandwich Shop – This is a dive in Ybor City that I have frequented many times with my Mom. They say mother knows best and Palm Avenue Sandwich Shop is truly a wonderful place to enjoy an authentic and flavorful Cuban Sandwich or any sandwich really (dear lord the steak). The deviled crabs are a nod to Tampa’s past and the Cafe con Leche is excellent. Finding parking can be a little difficult and you should certainly bring cash, but it is worth the effort. 2002 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 223-5157

No. 3 – La Segunda – The shop that supplies Cuban bread to most restaurants throughout Tampa also opened a swanky new dine-in restaurant this past year and it deserves a look. La Segunda has been making Cuban bread since 1915 and lasted four generations as a family-business. Take an entire hand-made and freshly-baked Cuban bread loaf with you and enjoy some great eats. 4015 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, Florida, 33609. (813) 540-9119 http://www.lasegundabakery.com

No. 4 – Bearss Sandwiches – This is an old-school sandwich shop near Carrollwood that makes a ton of great things, but their Cubans are also incredible. The staff does have attitude by design, so be prepared for that and make sure you know your order before you get to the register. They stay busy because of their quality and history, but there are many people in Tampa who have yet to enjoy a sandwich at Bearss. 14022 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33613. (813) 961-9486.

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Tampa claims being the origin of the Cuban

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No. 5 – Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine – During the great food truck battles of the early 2010s, Faedo’s constantly reigned supreme knocking out hundreds if not thousands of Cubans throughout the Tampa Bay area and now the owners have settled down into a restaurant. Their Cubans are absolutely loaded with ingredients and buttered on-top, they are quite tasty and many of the inspiration that the Faedo couple draws on comes from growing up in Tampa and being influenced by the immigrant foundations of the City of Tampa. Michelle Faedo’s is also a champion of the International Cuban Sandwich Festival and has won the maximum number of awards available for a business to compete. 1218 Ray Charles Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 284-6106

No. 6- Riverview Fresh Market – Living in the Tampa suburbia of Riverview for years caused me to go looking for a quality Cuban and Riverview Fresh Market, known before as Bori-Mex, serves excellent sandwiches and has a mean Cuban. It may not be superior to some of the titans of Tampa Bay, but for a neighborhood shop and bodega it does pretty well at satisfying all my taste buds and making me happy. 9613 US-301, Riverview, FL 33578. (813) 374-2353

No. 7 – Columbia Cafe – Although Columbia is not my favorite place to get a Cuban, they have been serving one for longer than anyone else in Tampa Bay and opened with the Cuban on their menu in 1905. The views on the Tampa Riverwalk and a Cuban Sandwich in hand with freshly baked La Segunda Cuban bread and a glass of sangria is an ideal day for me in Tampa. 801 Old Water Street #1905, Tampa, FL 33602.
(813) 229-5511.

No. 8 – Cafe Hey – This was one of the first restaurants to be established in what is now known to most people as Tampa Heights. When the area was just developing I was regularly making trips to Cafe Hey for a quality Cuban Sandwich and it did not disappoint. 1540 North Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 221-5150

No. 9 – Bodega – Many people swear by Bodega and the upstart founded in 2013 has managed to successfully appear in both Tampa and St. Petersburg in just a few years. The owners call it “Latin street food” and their flavor profile is more of an interpretation rather than rooted in history like most Tampa Cuban powerhouses. The lines don’t stop forming and for a town where people bounce from one place to next easily, Bodega has become a household name. 5901 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 533-3333 http://www.eatatbodega.com

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Cuban flavor central!

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No. 10 – Don Pan Bakery – If you haven’t noticed yet, there is a correlation between bakeries and great Cubans and Don Pan is no exception. Their Cuban Sandwich is solid and a contender for the area. Don Pan was rapidly expanding around Tampa for some time, but seems to have scaled back and is focusing more now on operations. 202 North Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL 33609. 813-350-0500