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Tampa International Airport enough new restaurants, one official says, for a 'Taste of TIA'

Not to be missed at the Cafe by Mise en Place, in Airside F at Tampa International Airport: crunchy toffee-pecan crust filled with a rich chocolate mousse and plated with puddles of creme anglaise and toffee sauce. (CHRIS URSO   |   Times)
Not to be missed at the Cafe by Mise en Place, in Airside F at Tampa International Airport: crunchy toffee-pecan crust filled with a rich chocolate mousse and plated with puddles of creme anglaise and toffee sauce. (CHRIS URSO | Times)
Published May 3, 2018

TAMPA — Here's a sign of how far Tampa International Airport has come as a place to eat: On Thursday, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist suggested creating an annual "Taste of TIA" to showcase new restaurants at the terminal and air sides.

The idea comes as the airport nears the end of a concessions redevelopment project that will increase the number of concessions at the airport to 69, 30 of them (so far) focused on food and beverages, including some well-known Tampa restaurants (The Cafe by Mise en Place, the Columbia, Cigar City Brewing, among others).

FOOD CRITIC LAURA REILEY: We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we are full

Passengers now spend an average of $11.64 on concessions before getting on their plane, an increase of 12 percent since 2014, when the airport had a master concessionaire.

Crist acknowledged that there would be a lot details to be worked out — pre-screening participants who want to go to the airsides, addressing liability, and more — but he asked airport officials to explore the idea as a possible evening charity fundraiser, when the airport is less busy.

"My mind is way open," airport CEO Joe Lopano said. "I think it's a good idea. It sounds like fun, actually."

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Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

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