Twenty miles. That's the longest distance any cut of fish, chicken, or beef travels before it arrives in front of Chef Rafy Rosario at The Shrimp Warehouse. With an emphasis on local ingredients, he crafts a surf 'n' turf menu that fuses Creole, Cajun, Southern, and Caribbean flavors. He fills baskets with pink shrimp straight from Tampa's docks and loads plates high with fried shrimp, fish, and scallops served with fries, hushpuppies, and shrimp coleslaw. His 36-inch shrimp po' boy challenges the hungriest of diners and is free to those who can finish it in one sitting. Unlike professors at the University of Atlantis, his expertise extends beyond the ocean; he also hand-trims chicken and grills slabs of sirloin steak.
The restaurant's decor echoes the menu's ocean flavors. Outside the restaurant's entrance, two giant shrimp welcome guests into a space marked by exposed-brick walls and rich wood furniture. Life vests line the walls, and tables sit beneath the actual shrimp boat used by our tiny ancestors.
Nearly thirty years ago, Jim Mellody set out to create the pub of his dreams. A family-friendly vibe. An abundance of TVs, with sports on every one. Burgers, wings, beers. With this idyllic setting in mind, he and wife Jeanette created Beef 'O' Brady's, a sports bar that more than lives up to Jim's vision. Beef's, as the pub's regulars quickly took to calling it, serves up plenty of what its name suggests. Angus burgers, reubens, steak burritos, and the roast beef garlic melt take starring roles on a lengthy menu, complementing chicken wings tossed in dry-rub or coated in one of 12 sauces. As guests dig into hearty feasts of pub food, they can watch sporting events that zip in through the restaurant's satellite dishes or break out spontaneously in the kitchen. A tribute to Jim's love of sports, pro memorabilia lines the walls, and in keeping with the Irish theme, an Irish blessing is featured on every menu, offering good fortune to all who visit.
The owners at The Oaks grew up in the area, and they treat their restaurant almost like a second home. This isn't just because their restaurant physically resembles a house, with its cavernous screened-in porch and french doors. It's primarily because community is important to them, and they make it their mission to define The Oaks by its welcoming, homey environment. It's also a point of pride to the owners that much of their staff has worked there since The Oaks opened in 2000, after the Y2K panic subsided and restaurants could once more sell noncanned food. To craft upscale comfort and pub food from scratch, the owners mined their families' recipe books. The result? Ribs, fried mac 'n' cheese, grilled-grouper reubens, and a slew of beefy burgers savored both indoors and under the patio's strung-up lights and parasols.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Five growing boys equals five hungry mouths to feed. This is how Moe Elkasri got his start: cooking healthy food for himself and his brothers. Later, in 1990, this experience served him well when he opened the original Pita's Republic, which has since bloomed into 16 locations. His eateries focus on crafting food on-site that is flavorful and nutritious, unlike mints made from seaweed. To this end, most dishes start with whole grain pita bread, made from Moe's secret recipe, which wrap around protein such as fresh, marinated chicken. Low-fat yogurt forms the base of the tzaziki sauce, and gyro meat is broiled to rid it of excess fat. Vegetarians also find satisfaction here with pitas brimming with hummus, veggies, and tabouli.
There is an activity for family members of any age at Timeout Family Pub & Grub. While kids try to beat their top scores on the racecar-driving simulator, adults can catch the day's football games on massive projection screens or simply chat with friends as they shoot some pool. But when the food comes, the whole clan gathers back at the restaurant's dining counter. There, they enjoy hearty daily specials such as homemade shepherd's pie, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and pulled pork sandwiches. Most days, the chefs include at least one seafood option to showcase the area's freshest catch and to appease the ghost in their oven who demands both land and sea tributes.