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Blind Tiger, Inside the Box team for downtown cafe

Metropolitan Ministries' Inside the Box and the Blind Tiger Cafe have partnered to open a cafe in the Times Building in downtown Tampa. Photo by Philip Morgan
Metropolitan Ministries' Inside the Box and the Blind Tiger Cafe have partnered to open a cafe in the Times Building in downtown Tampa. Photo by Philip Morgan
Published Sep. 8, 2017

TAMPA — Inside the Box now operates a "Grab n Gourmet" in partnership with Blind Tiger Cafe inside the Times Building at 1000 N Ashley Drive.

The restaurant opened this week.

The menu includes sandwiches, salads, some sides like fire roasted vegetable edamame, soups and snacks including cheese, fruit and hummus. Blind Tiger Cafe will serve coffee and beverages.

"It's the first time we partnered with Blind Tiger Cafe, but they do carry our grab 'n go items in their cafe in Ybor," said Metropolitan Ministries marketing and communications manager Ariel DeWitt.

Blind Tiger Cafe owner Roberto Torres said the previous collaborations with Metropolitan Ministries CEO Tim Marks and vice president Cliff Barsi have brought about this latest connection.

"As always, when there is a good synergy between organizations, projects become natural extensions of existing relationships and get even better," Torres said. "I really enjoy talking, working and shooting ideas with Tim and Cliff."

Blind Tiger has sought a downtown location for more than two years, according to Torres, even though a lot of customers like visiting his Ybor City cafe.

"Having a daytime cafe will allow us the opportunity to expand our footprint and get introduced to another crowd that we would have never met before," Torres said.

It's the fourth location for Metropolitan Ministries' social enterprise, including an upcoming location at Armature Works in October. The cafe will carry the same products as their Tampa International Airport location, including specialty sandwiches and salads.

The staff will consist of Metropolitan Ministries' Culinary Arts Program students.

"Part of their training is customer service skills," DeWitt said "Whether they are working at our grab 'n go's or our cafes, the culinary program ensures they have those skills through our restaurants."

Contact Arielle Waldman at hillsnews@tampabay.com.