Moving back to the city I grew up in has proven to be an enlightening experience. I hadn’t expected the life that I have carved out for myself here, with new, inspiring people and places. You never know what is hidden in plain sight, until you toss old beliefs and surrender control.
Below is a brief list of those places (and people) that I’ve enjoyed getting to know in Tampa. This will also guide future posts here on Remarqed.
Pane Rustica ($$$), Palma Ceia: Rustic food, sleek, cozy atmosphere. By far the most ‘see-and-be-seen’ of my haunts. Dress up, expect to pay. Service is excellent and everything is carefully considered.
Cafe Hey ($), Downtown: Located near the Oceanic Oriental Market on the north end of Downtown Tampa, Cafe Hey is unapologetically vegan, raw, organic, and painfully hipster. Great salads, great sandwiches. Wall art is all for sale and entirely local.
Alt: Taco Bus
Pinky’s ($), Palma Ceia: A hole in the wall in the best sense, this hip brunch spot feels straight out of Portland. Great coffee, great comfort breakfast foods, great hustle and bustle. Great place to nurse a hangover at the kitchen counter. Be sure to say hi to owner Carrie Shirai, who also owns Cappy’s Pizzeria across the street.
Alt: Daily Eats
Buddy Brew ($), Hyde Park: the first neighborhood-friendly outpost on busy Kennedy Boulevard, Buddy Brew roasts their beans on-site, so their cafe menu items are flavorful, delicious, and fresh. And…cheaper than Starbucks. Try a cold-brew iced coffee or a hot latte. Free Wifi.
Alt: TeBella Tea Company
The Optic Shop ($$$), Hyde Park: This artsy, selective, personalized shop is great for anyone looking to stand out. Brands include Gold & Wood, Oliver Peoples, SALT, Kirk Originals, and J.F. Rey. Service is attentive and eager to find the perfect frame to match your eyes. I’ve purchased several pair of glasses from them, and have always been enamored with the experience. Follow-up cleaning and alterations are free, too.
Alt: Tampa Eye Clinic
McIlwain Family Dentistry, North Habana Avenue: After several trips to a chain dental office with sub-par office staff and an unprofessional dentist, I made the necessary changes to switch back to my childhood dentist. McIlwain Family Dentistry has a youth side and adult side in their office. There is rarely a wait, sharp office staff, and friendly, intelligent hygienists and dentists. Teeth maintenance is one thing on which I don’t care to skimp.
Thayne Shatah, Hit Kb Fit, Downtown Tampa and Apollo Beach: By far the most effective personal trainer I have encountered since my time back in Tampa. His method is no-nonsense, but if results are what you desire, then you will get them with Thayne. Be prepared for hard workouts, lots of calisthenics, and the use of kettlebells (Russian ball weights with handles).
Alt: Chris Alberts