In a new feature, the New York Times scoured the country for “the 50 places in the United States that we’re most excited about right now,” and Tampa’s Salt Shack on the Bay made the cut. It’s the only local eatery featured.
The restaurant near the Gandy Bridge, at 5415 W Tyson Ave. in Rattlesnake Point, opened in 2019, offering a rustic waterfront spot accessible by boat or car. It has a Caribbean-inspired menu of cocktails and fresh seafood. Smoked mahi spread, fritters that regularly rotate, the Gulf grouper sandwich, six frozen daiquiri flavors and coconut curried shrimp are some highlights.
“Jimmy Buffet would have liked this place, where there is no problem a platter of fresh Gulf shrimp and a drink with a pineapple slice couldn’t solve,” the New York Times reported. “The sprawling menu has a vague Caribbean bent, with jackfruit tacos dressed in jicama slaw and jerk burgers with fries, but the real gold is anything that lets all that great Gulf seafood shine.”
The only other Florida-based concepts on the list are both located in Miami: Peruvian restaurant Maty’s, with its James Beard-nominated chef, and the barbecue restaurant Smoke & Dough.
Salt Shack is outdoor-oriented, with no walls and expansive views of Old Tampa Bay and downtown St. Petersburg. Its operating group, Screamin’ Willy’s LLC, is under the same management as Viper Ventures, which owns 31 acres on Rattlesnake Point overlooking Old Tampa Bay.