Make us your home page

Beer, doughnuts a decadent dinner at Ella's in Tampa

Foodies, brace yourself. A restaurant in Seminole Heights has discovered the ultimate pairing: beer and doughnuts.

At Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe's latest private dinner on July 17, hosted upstairs away from the bustle of the dinner crowd, participants paid $40 to feast their eyes on six pairings of beer and doughnuts. Everything from gingerbread doughnuts with a belgian wit beer to, get this, a "cronut" paired with a chocolate beer. Didn't think the decadent croissant-donut hybrid could get any more delicious? Well, wait until you try it with a Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

Ella's — which also has a fun dinner menu and a popular Sunday soul food brunch (Bloody Marys served with spare ribs dunked in the glass!) — hosts these private food events every 4 to 6 weeks or so. In June, they did a four-course dinner paired with Belgian beers, and the next one, in about six weeks, will be a Jameson whiskey-themed dinner.

The restaurant came up with the beer-and-doughnut pairing as a way to shake things up and the boost attendance of those private events. Indeed, the house was close to capacity, with the 40 spots mostly filled. In fact, the volume of doughnuts needed slowed things down a bit; there was significant down time between each pairing.

Though there was a good reason for that: Ella's made all of the doughnuts right downstairs in their kitchen.

For each pairing, which was brought out one at a time, participants got to try about half a glass of beer and a not-quite-full-sized doughnut. First up was a gingerbread doughnut with orange and coriander glaze, paired with Blanch De Bruxelles Belgian Wit Beer. Tasty, but nothing too strong on either front, which was a nice way to start the night.

Then things got a little weird. Easily the least tasty doughnut of the bunch was one flavored with cumin and banana. Filled with a cumin banana cream and topped with white chocolate and jalapeno glaze, this one was flat-out odd. Banana is a tough flavor to work into any pastry, but paired with cumin? And white chocolate? Not good. Served with Wells Banana Bread Beer (which tasted just like banana bread, an odd flavor to enjoy in a beer), this one was a dud. Also not as enjoyable as it sounds: a bacon-infused Belhaven Scottish ale. It tasted like what I imagine licking the pan drippings after cooking a batch of bacon might taste like.

My favorite pairing was a plain doughnut dusted with black pepper (sounds weird, but worked surprisingly well), filled with almond butter filling and topped with strawberry icing and basil sprinkles. Just the right amount of sweet and savory. It was paired with the ultra-sweet Timmerman's Strawberry Lambicus, which tasted more like a beer champagne.

Alas, the event went on longer than anticipated, and I had to leave before trying the cronut. But you can bet I'll be trying that pairing on my own sometime.

Ella's didn't have an exact date or time for its next event, but the best way to get updates is by checking the Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe Facebook page at Ella's is at 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. (813) 234-1000;

Play Tampa Bay

Michelle and Katie take a tour of Seminole Heights in the latest episode of Play Tampa Bay, with stops at the Refinery and Ella's. Watch them devour some doughnuts in the video Wednesday at

Beer, doughnuts a decadent dinner at Ella's in Tampa 07/23/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Three ways to top toast anytime


    We're getting better and better at putting Things on Toast, a culinary category that's hard to beat for its versatility. Some spreads applied thin can boost flavor while creating a protective layer between crisp surface and squishy toppings. Good loaves of unsliced bread allow us to control the degree of thickness …

    Grilled Corn and Scallion Toast With Cilantro Crema
  2. St. Pete Coffee Tours offer a glimpse into the world of local craft coffee

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — What started as a small gathering of friends is now a growing business that has people hyped about St. Petersburg specialty coffee.

    At Craft Kafe, Jason Waits explains Kyoto-style drip coffee during a St. Pete Coffee Tour in May.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Tuesday May 30


    Finding Neverland: The hit Broadway show follows the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration to create Peter Pan, until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, …

    Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer and Ben Krieger as the Llewelyn Davies Boys in the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue