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Inside the Box Cafe and Catering

Editor's pick

Categories: Restaurant

Cuisine: Casual Dining, Mediterranean, Sandwiches

Features: Catering, Outdoor seating, Takeout, Top restaurant

Cost range: 1.00-10.00

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: No alcohol

More in this neighborhood: Downtown Tampa

Just celebrating its first anniversary, this little spot with a big conscience has had a good run. Brainchild of Cliff Barsi, the concept is simple: Go to the attractive downtown cafe and order a box lunch. Maybe a half sandwich or a salad with a couple of extras ($6.90), and half of that money goes to feed someone in need at Metropolitan Ministries. To date, the operation has funded 75,000 meals for hungry people in the Tampa area. That’s some serious do-gooding. But there’s more. Barsi’s team recently received a grant from JP Morgan Chase to fund its culinary arts program. Culinary students are selected from Metropolitan Ministries’ residential program, put through a rigorous cooking crash course (part of which is preparing food for the cafe) and then assisted in getting jobs in the industry. The kicker is that the cafe’s food is excellent, with weekly specials (think tomato marmalade grilled cheese or grilled brie and pear) and new additions like housemade chips in different flavors and recently rebranded fruit popsicles now called Hope’s Frozen Treats.

This is part of Times Food Critic Laura Reiley's 25 Top Affordable Restaurants in Tampa Bay.

Open for lunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.Mon.-Fri.

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Inside the Box Cafe and Catering - Downtown Tampa