Stroll through an Oldsmar farmers market early in the morning and you might run into Andrew Koumi rifling through baskets of tomatoes in search of the ripest ones. The mastermind behind Green Market Cafe, Andrew was still in college when he hatched the plan to open an eatery that served healthy takes on sandwiches and soups. When discussing the inspiration behind the restaurant with reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, Andrew explained, "I wanted to create a place where I'd like to go and eat everyday."
Arms laden with bags of produce, Andrew returns to his café, where his chefs fold the fresh vegetables into crisp salads and toasty grilled flatbreads. Because everything is made to order, chefs are able to accommodate special requests, adding extra tomatoes or picking out any raisins that look too much like a California Raisin. Diners chitchat over cups of organic tea inside the colorful dining room, an open space tinted with greens, purples, and pinks to please the eye. The building is also home to Kiwi Frozen Yogurt, Green Market Cafe's sister shop, which serves wholesome yogurt with candy and fruit toppings.
Café Kiln offers a variety of ways to cultivate creativity. Paint and glaze a blank piece of pottery, fuse glass, tile your own mosaic, or nurse a tender hunk of clay into form. The all-inclusive art emporium doesn't charge a studio fee, and all supplies (glaze, tools, instruction, paints) are included. Start by selecting your piece of pottery or mosaic shape. Consult stencils and stamps for design direction if you're stumped on the design—with more than 100 colors to choose from, Café Kiln rivals the Crayola Big Box with its wardrobe of hues. Mosaic creations will be ready for you to take home that day. Allow a week for pottery pieces to be fired and glazed.
Organic, locally roasted coffee mingles with an eclectic assortment of classic deli fare, locally crafted ice-cream treats, and imported beers and local wine on The Witch's Brew's voluminous menu. A cappuccino or latte ($2.75–$3.00) caffeinates diners before they flex their mandibles on the Sweet Matilda "Sand Witch," which enlists chicken salad, egg salad, tuna, or turkey to assist spring-mix greens, tomato, and cucumber in preparing for their date with balsamic-vinegar dressing ($6). The Witch's Brew also doles out all-natural frozen desserts, crafted at Tampa's Old Meeting House Ice Cream. Counsel taste buds to elect from more than a dozen flavors such as key lime or black raspberry chocolate chunk. Luscious sundaes sport walnuts; whipped cream; your choice of pineapple, chocolate, or strawberry topping; and a dapper fez ($4–$6).
The Lucky Dill piles tables high and fills stomachs with mountainous signature sandwiches and an assortment of desserts prepared in its bakery. The menu proffers leaning towers of spiced and cured, hot, navel pastrami on a choice of bread including New York rye and sesame rolls ($9.29). The reuben stacks grilled rye bread with corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese ($9.99). Instead of a powdered wig and a dainty crown, the Queens burger sports a half-pound patty of freshly chopped sirloin topped with onion, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($8.79). The on-site Brooklyn Bakery crafts an array of meal codas, including the big apple dumpling, which contains an entire apple baked within the loving embrace of pastry and topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream ($5.49).
After greasing the Slip 'n Slide with vegetable oil and shedding winter's fluffy bathrobe and insulated socks, the best way to celebrate summer's approach is with a handful of velvety-soft frozen custard. The Ritter's menu features a cast of five to seven rotating daily flavors, including everything from fruit-based favorites such as cherry cordial and fresh banana to candy-inspired creations like caramel Snickers swirl. Order a cone of the flavor du jour ($1.99 and up), or opt for a signature Glacier ($3.29 and up), Ritter's frozen custard mixed with your topping of choice and served upside down to confuse your already delicate perception of reality and emphasize the delicacy's extreme thickness. If a list of 25+ toppings dizzies your decision-making noodle, submit your fate to the friendly ice-cream slingers and opt for a pre-designed signature sundae ($4.29) such as the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup–filled, whipped-cream-topped peanut-butter mountain. Celebrate your newfound superpowers and exploit your nemeses' weaknesses for chocolate and caramel with a frozen Snickers pie ($25.99).
Voted Best Cookies in Tampa three years in a row by Tampa Bay Magazine, Kookie Krums specializes in decorative cookie bouquets to commemorate special occasions or to give as unique gifts. The bakery crafts seven flavors of cookies fresh daily, including chocolate chip, double chocolate, sugar, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin, and can substitute Divvies nut-, egg-, dairy-free cookies with any order for an additional charge. Reward a baked-good fiend for keeping his paws out of unattended jars with a hand-painted big brown daisy flower pot filled with a half-dozen individually-wrapped cookies ($30.95), or buy Cookie Monster's vote for your Sesame Street mayoral bid with a dozen artfully arranged cookies ($35.95). Bouquets come in many themes, such as birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, and canine connoisseurs, ensuring that mouths will meet cookies and sweaters will need vacuuming regardless of the occasion. Along with flower-pot bouquets, Kookie Krums also sells smaller cookie-mug arrangements ($21.95) and cookies customized with personal photographs or corporate logos ($24 for a dozen).