Owners Spencer and Sabrina Aird parlay a passion for nourishing vegan fare into Grass Root Organic Restaurant, which CBS Tampa named one of the best veg restaurants in the city. Carmine walls envelop diners in the cozy café space, creating a soothing atmosphere punctuated with vivid abstract paintings hung along the wall. While settled into high-backed wooden chairs, each topped with a lattice design, diners dig into a menu that features cooked vegan dishes as well as raw dishes. Raw vegan pad thai, guacamole, and spinach and basil pesto, among others, star on the restaurant's roster.
The Airds also run a customizable meal delivery system that sends clients fresh meals from a rotating weekly menu several times a week. Sabrina teaches occasional classes on how to replicate her culinary expertise and mimic items on Grass Root's menu by sitting very still on an oversized plate.
Mike Diogostine left his high-school job serving hot dogs at Frankies to attend the University of Tampa. While he went after his academic pursuits, he also pursued the same mouthwatering taste of foot-long hot dogs he'd left behind in his hometown of Connecticut—but nothing compared to Frankies. After college, Mike, along with his brother Joe and his roommate Tyson, opened up his own Frankies to ensure that other coeds wouldn’t suffer the same lack of delicious hot dogs that he did.
In the kitchen at Frankies, the cooks top foot-long franks with chili, nacho cheese, bacon, or Chicago-style accoutrements—tomatoes, pickles, celery salt, and peppers. Other handholds include half-pound burgers, fried shrimp po' boys, and chicken-parmesan grinders. On Tuesday evenings, diners can juggle mini corn dogs with wings slathered in housemade garlic butter sauce while they answer questions during in-house trivia tournaments.
Newcomers to Byblos Cafe may think they’ve stumbled into a sultan’s court: belly dancers wind their way past private enclaves replete with plush footstools and gossamer curtains, and heaping trays of charbroiled meats fill the air with the scents of basil and mint. The sultry atmosphere reflects owners Roger and Ziad Estephan’s mission to share their Lebanese heritage, which they do through every minor and major detail.
Beyond the glowing candles scattered throughout the dining areas, chefs draw upon Estephan family recipes to prepare a menu of traditional Mediterranean dishes. They hand roll grape leaves around spiced rice and herbs, and they marinate meats in fragrant blends of olive oil, lemon, and garlic—the base ingredients in Lebanese Febreze. Additionally, Byblos Cafe houses an international market where diners can stock up on Middle Eastern groceries.
Though she was a successful restaurateur in her home country of Estonia, Sigrid Bratic could not shake her dream to share her beloved recipes with the United States. In 2004, she took the plunge, moving to Florida and opening the first Little Greek. Enter restaurant entrepreneur Nick Vojnovic. Nick was so dazzled by the eatery––its locally sourced produce coupled with a friendly ambiance—that he decided to help Sigrid take Florida's Greek-food scene by storm.
Today, Little Greek is a thriving franchise, with nearly a dozen locations in Florida and Texas. Each of these restaurants serves Sigrid's recipes that include housemade hummus, meat and rice dolmades, grilled-chicken pitas, and baklava. And because the eateries are BYOB, diners can complement meals with their own beer or wine.
Jump!Zone’s indoor playgrounds envelop kids aged 2–12 in an inflatable world filled with challenging obstacle courses, fun slides, and cardio-boosting bounce houses. While navigating the plush courses under the watchful eyes of air-filled dinosaurs and superheroes, kids burn off extra energy and participate in activities that may help develop motor skills. Jump!Zone’s energetic staff supervises all play as kids climb on pirate ships and trampoline inside princess castles. Specific inflatables may vary by location but often include towering bounce houses shaped like fire trucks or octopi as well as party rooms, games, and a fully stocked snack bar for all your festive fare needs including pizza and soda. The bouncy center also hosts birthday parties, fundraisers, and special events.
Soft lights tumble from the crystal chandeliers of Empress Tea Room & Bistro, landing on white table linens and glinting off delicate bone-china sets as diners soak up the sights and smells. The restaurant hosts visitors for lunch throughout the week as well as during Saturday high-tea sessions and Sunday brunch hours. In addition to the elegant main dining room, Empress welcomes guests into an interior garden room, which surrounds them with murals of vines. After perusing the lunch menu, visitors can enjoy specialties such as the Anna Cordelia sandwich with smoked turkey, cranberry, and melted brie, or the vegetable quiche with seasonal vegetables and cheeses. WiFi access and board games are also available to provide entertainment for diners.