After listening to all that politic-speak, you’re going to be hungry. It’s time to venture out of your air-conditioned tube into Downtown Tampa’s food scene, where many of the restaurants will be open for extended hours during the RNC.
BAMBOOZLE CAFE 516 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-223-7320, bamboozlecafe.com. A beloved purveyor of fast and fresh Vietnamese food. The rice wraps are made custom: you choose the ingredients, they wrap ’em up. Don’t miss the Pho boat and Bahn Mi sandwiches. Mon.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30-9 p.m. for dinner.
CAFÉ HEY 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-221-5150, cafehey.com. A treasured little coffee shop attached to the Oceanic Asian market. It’s a bit of a hike from the convention center, and it’s destined to be convention central for visiting activists, but the homemade soup, quiche and sandwiches are worth a visit wherever you’re coming from. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., Aug. 27-30.
EDDIE AND SAMS’S PIZZA 203 E. Twiggs St., Tampa, 813-229-8500. A great stop for a quick slice (they make a mean New York-style pie) on a busy day.
FLY BAR 1202 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-275-5000, flybarandrestaurant.com. Fly is the hippest bar in Tampa, with inventive bartending and a killer small-plates menu that make it a great post-convention stop to unwind. Open every day from 4 p.m.-3 a.m., with a full dinner menu from 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. The lounge menu is available until midnight during the convention.
FRESH 507 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-229-5500, eatfreshdaily.com. Salads, sandwiches, soup and cereal. Yes, we said cereal — an entire cereal bar, in fact. Grab a bite or a bowl in the morning; they’re open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. every day.
HATTRICKS 107 S. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-225-4288, hattrickstavern.com. A classic pub with happy hour every day from 4-8 p.m. and 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Two-for-one well liquor and 50-cent wings.
THE HUB 719 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-229-1553, thehubbartampa.com. The one bar everyone should visit before leaving Tampa, The Hub opened in the 1940s and has remained a staple for a cross-section of the populace. Their heavy pour is legendary and they’re open at 10 a.m.-3 a.m. Monday-Saturday.
INDIGO COFFEE 514 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-849-2233, drinkindigo.com. If you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, Indigo is a great coffee shop with plenty of comfy seating to sip your espresso in. Free wifi, and they open at 6 a.m.
JERK HUT 207 E. Twiggs St., Tampa, 813-223-4473, jerkhut.com. Get a heaping plate of Jamaican and Caribbean-infused food for cheap at the Jerk Hut. In the evening, the Jerk Hut is serving French food and staying open until the elephants get sleepy.
KAHWA COFFEE 400 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 813-225-2040, kahwacoffee.com. Locally roasted, owned and operated. On Fri., Aug. 24, they will open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. On Sat., Aug. 25, and Sun., Aug. 26, they’ll open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. And from Mon.-Thurs. during the convention they will open 6 a.m.-8 a.m. They’ll also have a pop-up coffee shop at Channelside from 9 a.m.-12 a.m.
L’EDEN 500 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-221-4795, dine-at-leden.com. A beautiful spot for a relaxing and delicious breakfast. Try the eggs benedict.
MALIO’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE 400 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 813-223-7746, maliosprime.com. Malio’s is the perfect spot for a steak dinner, which means they are going to be busy. They will extend their hours during convention week based on foot traffic, so call ahead if you’re craving a steak late.
MOXIE’S 514 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-221-4510, moxiesdowntown.com. Moxie’s makes good lunch fare, but the desserts are the main event in our humble opinion. Try anything sweet. Trust us.
PANINOTECA MEDITERRANEAN CAFÉ 519 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-341-2525, paninotecacafe.com. The New York Times mentioned Paninoteca in their recent Unconventional Guide to the conventions. Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
PIZZAIOLA BAVARO 514 N. Franklin St. Suite 101, Tampa, 813-868-4440, pizzaiolobavaro.com. Their specialty is artisan pizzas made in a wood-fired brick oven. Lunch runs Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner is Tues.-Sun., 5-10 p.m.
SI-AM THAI 713 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-229-9710. A bit away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but still within walking distance. Get your Pad Thai fix in a hurry.
SAMARIA CAFÉ 502 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-223-1674, samariacafe.com. Breakfast served all day. Hours extended for RNC, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
SPAIN RESTAURANT AND TOMA BAR 513 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-223-2831, tomaspain.com. Enjoy Mediterranean atmosphere in a unique modern setting complemented by excellent Spanish cuisine at affordable prices. Open special on Sunday and Monday for the convention.
TACO BUS 505 N. Franklin St., Tampa, tampatacobus.com. Tampa’s own Taco Bus started in a bus off Hillsborough Avenue. Now they’ve got four locations across the area and boast a cult-like following. Try the torta, a massive sandwich with meat and veggies for about $6. They are open Monday-Wednesdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 a.m.
TAPS RESTAURANT AND BAR 777 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 813-463-1968, tampswineandbeer.com. Taps is a beer and wine-focused eatery right in the heart of Tampa. Starting Saturday, August 26, Taps will be open until 3 a.m. every night through Monday, September 1.
URBAN CANTINA 200 E. Madison St., Tampa, 813-221-8226, urbancantina.com. Incredible food for the money. Great for lunch or early dinner. Sunday-Thursday they’re open 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
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