Make us your home page

Tampa is No. 4 on WalletHub's 2016 Best and Worst Foodie Cities list — here's why

Edison: food + drink lab in Tampa.

Edison: food + drink lab in Tampa.

In advance of World Food Day on Sunday, personal finance website WalletHub has unveiled its survey of 2016's Best and Worst Foodie Cities. In short, Florida dominated, nabbing three out of the top 10. Orlando weighed it at No. 1, and Miami came in third, with Tampa nipping at its heels in fourth place.

Tampa beat out next-best San Francisco, a city nearly synonymous with fancy restaurants and celebrity chefs. And Tampa won for the city proper, with no assist from booming St. Petersburg or environs. So what gives? How did we win?

WalletHub had a team of six analysts who, working in conjunction with academic experts and using census data, spent a month crunching numbers. They compared the 150 most populated cities in the United States across two key dimensions: affordability and quality (this latter category included diversity and accessibility). Using 21 relevant metrics — from cost of groceries to number of food festivals or coffee or tea shops per capita — they gave each metric a corresponding weight, grading each on a 100-point scale, then calculated overall scores using the weighted average across all metrics and constructed a final ranking based on the results.

Whew, it's starting to sound complicated, but here's what they thought of Tampa: It scored tops for food tax (we have none), and tops again for number of craft breweries. We ranked very respectably for number of food trucks and grocery stores per 100,000 residents, and held our own when it came to number of ice cream shops or specialty food stores.

Florida cities may have an advantage, said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, because of that affordability-to-quality ratio: "Orlando, Miami and Tampa ranked very high when it comes to diversity, accessibility and quality, and all three cities are fairly affordable, making them great places for foodies' wallets."

So while Laredo, Texas, has the lowest grocery cost index; Santa Rosa, Calif., has the highest ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food establishments; and Cincinnati has the most grocery stores per 100,000 residents, Tampa still wiped the floor with them and improved upon its 2015 ranking (this is the third year WalletHub has done this). Last year, Orlando ranked second, Miami ranked tenth and Tampa ranked eighth. And with the year we're having, Orlando better not get too comfy as the top banana.

Contact Laura Reiley at or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

Tampa is No. 4 on WalletHub's 2016 Best and Worst Foodie Cities list — here's why 10/11/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 4:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway


    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. A scene from "Epiphany."
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 22


    Clearwater Jazz Holiday: The Avett Brothers: The Avett Brothers, with their blend of folk, bluegrass and rock, lead the lineup. 1:30 p.m., Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. $16 per day, $45 reserved, $170 VIP. (727) 461-5200.

    AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15:  (L-R)  Joe Kwon, Bob Crawford, Seth Avett, and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers pose for a portrait at the "May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers" Premiere - 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 15, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 21


    Conor Oberst: The Bright Eyes mastermind will be joined by opener, the Felice Brothers. 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $30.50-$36. (727) 791-7400.

    Handout photo of Conor Oberst, performing Oct. 21 at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Credit: Grandstand Media