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.
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.
Meting out meats since 1970, Tampa Steak Company sells more than 100 cuts of beef, pork, poultry, lamb, and seafood to restaurants and the unquenchably carnivorous public. Sate ravenous cutlery with a 12-piece steak package, comprised of four 8-ounce T-bone steaks, four 8-ounce rib eye steaks, and four 8-ounce New York–strip steaks. Skilled butchers cut steaks on a daily basis after each has been aged for a minimum of 14 days, making for a succulent slab suitable for sizzling grills and the most discerning black eyes.
For more than 15 years, the culinary team at MTC Downtown Cafe has silenced growling stomaches with housemade American delights, as well as a few plates from overseas. In the morning, the chefs demonstrate their cooking talents by fixing up breakfast entrees in full view of diners. To curb midday cravings, guests can sink their teeth into belly-warming gyros and brawny cheeseburgers from the lunch menu. Throughout the day, pastries made from scratch pop out of the oven, filling the cafe with the sweet aroma of muffins and cookies.
The Bricks serves up a menu of unconventional comfort cuisine in a laid-back, edgy setting. Taste-bud-teasing starters such as the kinky tuna, a wasabi pea and pistachio crusted ahi, seared rare and topped with lemongrass cream ($12), segue finely into main courses such as the bird and pig sandwich, which nestles its tastily terraformed layers of roasted chicken, bacon, brie, crispy apples, and agave nectar between Hawaiian sweet bread ($8). Alternately, the amsterdam clothes a naked baguette with a delicious ensemble of crunchy organic peanut butter and melted, smoked gouda ($5). Feel free to customize your own crusts by mixing and matching breads, spreads, and toppings at the peanut butter bar ($3–$4.50).
Cameron Parker founded Orlando Pub Crawl, LLC in 2005 to organize the bar-going experience into a convivial group event. The company's primary mission is organizing trips for up to 1,000 revelers at a time, styled after themes and occasions including the Kentucky Derby, '80s Nights, and Cinco de Mayo. Partiers hop from bar to bar, enjoying complimentary drinks, admission, and other specials as they mingle and socialize amid festivities, games, and libations. The pub-crawl team can also tailor private crawls for groups of 100 or more, allowing companies, organizations, and poker-playing dogs to journey to bars in organized packs. But not all the company's events are drinking-themed: there are also madcap challenges such as The Amazing Mind Race, which sends teams scattering across cities to solve clues and discover checkpoints.