As the city of Tampa readies itself for an influx of fans traveling to the area for Super Bowl 55, restaurants and bars will likely experience one of their busiest weekends since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
While many tourists traveling to the Tampa area for the game may be eager to experience some of the city’s best culinary offerings, some may not feel entirely comfortable dining out in public. Plenty of great takeout options are available for those who are looking to play it safe.
Whether you’re sticking close to Raymond James Stadium or staying downtown near the NFL Experience in Julian B. Lane Park, here are nine Tampa restaurants to grab takeout from if you’re trying to avoid the crowds.
Get a little slice of Tampa history with your egg sandwich at this reimagined retro luncheonette and gift shop. In the 1950s, the building’s predecessor, Pickford’s Sundries, was the spot to drop in for an egg cream and a grilled cheese sandwich. Now, it’s home to some seriously creative and delicious breakfast and lunch fare, like the “fancy” egg sandwiches featuring green tomatoes, crispy potato sticks, Swiss cheese and spiced aioli on focaccia or the hotcakes topped with sweet and salty cashews, whipped honey, orange blossom syrup and curry. Local coffee hub Union by Commune +Co. recently moved into the space, so now you can grab a cup of nitro-tapped cold brew to-go as well.
2606 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. 813-308-9668; pickfordscounter.com
Looking to lay a solid foundation before the big game? Or maybe you’re trying to make up for some of the excesses from the night before. Either way, the menudo — a restorative Mexican tripe strew — served here on Sundays will do the trick. The food truck is stationed just a couple of minutes from Raymond James Stadium and serves traditional Mexican street fare like tacos and flautas as well as daily specials, which have included tamales, pozole and the popular quesabirria tacos (served on Fridays and Saturdays only).
4001 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa; 813-466-2484. facebook.com/Taqueriamargaritatpaa
A good delicatessen
Cass Street Deli
Whether you’ve got a hankering for pastrami, corned beef, matzo ball soup or just a bagel with lox, this East Coast-inspired delicatessen in Tampa’s North Hyde Park has it all. The kitchen cures, smokes and bakes almost everything in-house, with the exception of a few locally-sourced products, including grass-fed beef brisket from Providence Cattle Co. The hand-carved pastrami sandwich isn’t to be missed, and features thick, tender slices of the meat with mustard piled high on rye. Be sure to grab a few raspberry rugelach and a black and white cookie before you leave.
1331 W Cass St., Tampa; 813- 609-6316; cassstreetdeli.com
A Cuban sandwich
La Segunda Central Bakery
There are plenty of spots in town that do the Tampa tradition proud, but it’s impossible to go wrong here, the birthplace of the city’s most beloved Cuban bread. The Ybor City bakery recently celebrated its 105th anniversary and the signature loaves, imprinted with palm fronds, are distributed to restaurants and bakeries all over the city. The Cuban here is a generous example of the classic sandwich, piled high with juicy mojo-marinated pork, smoked ham, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese and a “special sauce,” that lends a creamier take than the traditional mustard. Be sure to grab a guava and cheese turnover on your way out (and bring plenty of napkins for the crumbs).
2512 N. 15th St., Tampa; 813-248.1531. lasegundabakery.com
A take home barbecue feast
Wicked Oak BBQ
What says Super Bowl Sunday better than a full barbecue spread? The Seminole Heights newcomer has a list of game day specials that extend beyond some of the creative menu’s barbecue mashups like pulled pork-topped tater tots and loaded mac and cheese. The Bub’s Platter ($69.99) comes with a half rack of ribs, 10 wings and a half pound each of brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken and jalapeno cheddar sausage. There are also “Que-ban” sandwich platters (a play on the Cuban sandwich made with smoky pulled pork) for $65, which feeds about 30 people, and a 75-wing platter for $85.
6607 N. Florida Ave., Tampa; 813-304-2425. wickedoakbarbeque.com
A family-style Sunday Supper
Rooster & The Till
If you’re skipping the stadium and plan on catching the game at your hotel or rental but still want to step up dinner, the weekly Sunday Supper Club from chef Ferrell Alvarez and his team is a great bet. For the majority of the pandemic, the lauded Seminole Heights restaurant has been running the weekly takeout dinner special, which include two courses and a dessert, with instructions on how to reheat or serve. Past dishes have included a pork belly porchetta stuffed with roasted garlic and broccoli rabe; blistered cherry tomato and cucumber salad; and a pecan and walnut baklava with caramelized honey. Orders can be placed by calling the restaurant or through the restaurant’s website and picked up Sunday morning between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Keep in mind that orders need to be submitted by 5 p.m. the Thursday before (by Jan. 4).
6500 N Florida Ave., Tampa; 813-374-8940. roosterandthetill.com
A little bit of everything
Heights Public Market at Armature Works
If you’re traveling with a large group or a family with different meal preferences, the Tampa Heights food hall really does have a little something for everyone. From Ava’s wood-fired pizzas to Kuba’s modern Cuban fare, Zukku Sushi’s burritos and poke bowls and Bake’n Babes Nutella-stuffed cookies, there’s a lot to choose from. Grab your food to-go and enjoy it outside: There’s plenty of outdoor seating in both the courtyard and the large lawn overlooking the Hillsborough River.
1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. 813-250-3725. armatureworks.com
Eddie and Sam’s
Few food items travel as well as a classic New York-style pizza. At Eddie and Sam’s in downtown Tampa, the owners import New York City tap water to make the dough and the resulting slices are thick, wide and perfectly foldable in that classic East Coast way. Their signature pies run the gamut from classic pepperoni to an eggplant Parmesan-topped version as well as three-topping Calzones. A long list of appetizers, salads and pastas round out the menu, if you’re looking for something beyond pizza to snack on while watching the game.
203 E Twiggs St., Tampa; eddieandsamspizza.com
Something quick and healthy
For a healthy meal on-the-go, this dependable South Tampa staple delivers veggie, grain and protein bowls in a fast-casual format. Start with a base (kale slaw, brown rice, sweet potato noodles) and move on to veggie toppers like Parmesan roasted broccoli or golden spiced chickpeas before finishing off with protein choices like grilled citrus chicken or herb-grilled steak. The restaurant also offers family-sized options which serve four people as well as pressed juices, teas and frescas to-go.
1305 S. Howard Ave., Tampa; 813-280-0515. eatfreshkitchen.com
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