After moving from Greece in 1950, the six Fotopoulos brothers turned their hard-won earnings into the first of 12 ABC Pizza locations in 1966. From its humble beginnings in Connecticut, the chain grew to serve central Floridians and vacationing time travelers a menu of build-your-own pizzas topped with gourmet ingredients such as crab, feta, and shrimp, as well as preconceptualized specialty pies festooned with meats, seafood, and Mediterranean morsels. Hearty grinders and Italian pasta dishes share menu real estate with Greek delicacies including gyros, spinach pies, and grape leaves stuffed with shredded pages of Plato's Republic.
With its miniature treats and requisite flair, a proper teatime ceremony is hard to recreate at home, which is why Tampa residents are fortunate to have Milk N’ Honey Tea Room nearby. Experts on the afternoon gathering array 25 varieties of tea, served hot or cold, and assemble the traditional finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, and desserts. Much of the produce is sourced from local growers, and special vegetarian and gluten-free menus cater to all guests. The dress-up area is draped with hats and fluffy boas, which help them get into an elegant, vintage mindset as they sip. The tearoom also hosts birthday parties and baby or bridal showers and sells locally made gifts inside a boutique shop.
With its bamboo walls and palm-tree-shaded yard, Supa D Tropical Bar & Grill’s exterior has all the markings of a modest subtropical hut. But come nightfall, throbbing bass makes the bamboo slats vibrate, shattering any notions of an idyllic island refuge. Behind those bamboo walls, reggae, dance-hall, and soca DJs take to the stage, and a spacious sunken dance floor sports vivid airbrushed murals and subwoofers the size of shopping carts.
By day, though, Supa D Tropical Bar & Grill showcases the culinary side of Jamaican culture. Meats simmer in thick curries, and jerk chicken jolts tongues out of their stamp-licking stupor. Additionally, dining companions can cleanse palates with classic Jamaican beverages such as Irish moss, sorrel, and peanut punch.
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.
For Las Vegas Cafe owner Francies Vega, cooking is about putting smiles on people's faces. So when she designed her menu, she didn't stick to just one cuisine, but instead incorporated all the dishes that make her happy. The result is a fusion of Cuban and Italian recipes such as chorizo spaghetti, vegetable breakfast crepes, and Cuban-style fried rice sprinkled with ham, peppers, and eggs. Vega's signature dish is the chancellor fish fillet stuffed with ham and cheese and fried until it's as crisp as the first day of autumn.
Perched in wrought-iron chairs at a gleaming marble bar, students and artists sip coffee, sharing inspiration and plans for upcoming projects. Nearby, Tampa Bead Cafe's instructors preside over a range of jewelry-crafting materials, which provide the necessary hardware to follow up on the grand artistic plans under discussion. Beneath the terra cotta–hued walls, shelves brim with beads, metal chains, and wire, as well as less conventional media such as metal clay and polymers.
The staff guides visitors along racks of bracelet and necklace supplies, and exclamations of happiness drift from a classroom, where teachers introduce specific styles, such as kumihimo. Students to use real tools such as pliers, cutters, and magnifiers to intimidate their jewelry into making itself, and most courses end with the creation of piece for pupils to treasure. A roster of guest artists, who have included polymer-clay artist Christi Friesen and Maria Rypan, lead style and material-specific workshops.