Goodbye, Tampa. It’s been so many things…casual, familiar, frustrating, and gratifying. A little boring. But most of all, it has been real.
Real people, real connection, and real love. And I am forever appreciative of my life and time here. The time to move on has come, however, so I’d like to pass along my version of Tampa, in both as comprehensive and efficient a format possible.
My Tampa black book contains a who’s who of reasonable, approachable, high-quality people and services one might expect a native to know about and use. Some originate during my years on South Fremont Avenue, while others are newer discoveries during my young adulthood.
As you might imagine, starting back at the beginning, in a whole new place, gives me anxiety. We’re coddled and comforted by the familiar, and I will be losing trusted professionals as well as ‘friends in the industry.’ Those of you I’m leaving behind can benefit from this list, which makes me feel I’m in the positive debt of karmic energy, for finding appropriate proxies in my new home.
People, Places, & Professionals You Should Know
Sandy Snyder, PA, Florida West Coast Skin & Cancer Center. Prepare to disrobe and be carefully inspected.
McIlwain Family Dentistry. Maria will clean your teeth in no time, and Dr. Chiaramonte will give them a once over before you get your goody-bag of Crest products.
Dr. Michael Heim, DMD, Center for Health and Age Management. Trust this triathlete with your coughs, bumps, and general malaise.
Dr. Alan Weintraub (gastroenterologist). Should you need a colonoscopy, endoscopy, or anti-inflammatory drug, Alan is your man.
Angel Custom Tailor. Pardon the mess, but Angel and his team know their alterations. Standard turnaround time is 1 week.
Tender Touch Cleaners on Henderson @ Swann, the best dry-cleaners. Drive-thru, next-day service, anchored by Fernanda.
Reeves Import Motors (Volkswagen, Audi, Subaru, Porsche, BMW, Land Rover, and Maserati). High-roller service trickles down to Volkswagen, where I’ve taken my Beetle over the last two years.
Mister Car Wash on North Dale Mabry. $9 Express job takes minutes and takes care of the exterior only.
Evan @ Tribeca Colorsalon Ybor City. He’s the best.
Buddy Brew Coffee, the best toast. Order two eggs on toast with avocado, add hot sauce to taste.
Pinky’s Diner, the best breakfast. Mix of greasy and healthy, hearty and sweet. It’s kept small and intimate on purpose, despite a perpetual waiting line.
Cafe Hey, the best vegan brunch. Last Sunday of every month.
Pane Rustica, the best turkey sandwich. Order at the bar, smoked turkey on Scali, light mayo. First place I ever saw a Birkin in Tampa.
Oxford Exchange, the best burger. Chicken burger with sweet potato fries.
Piquant, the best salad. Power Salad, iced tea.
Saigon Deli, the best banh mi. Order two and take one home.
The Royal Tea Room, the best traditional tea service.
TeBella Tea Bar @ Oxford Exchange, the best iced green tea.
Kelp Sushi, the best sushi. Rose Cave roll, done.
Cru Cellars, the best intimate wine bar.
Bamboozle Cafe (Downtown & Channelside), best cheap dinner. $6 for two fresh rolls, filled with meat, noodles, and veggies. No frying involved.
Fresh Kitchen, best hearty healthy dinner.
Ciro’s Speakeasy, best intimate dinner.
Waugh Dessert Room @ Bern’s Steak House, best indulgence.
Bizou Brasserie @ Le Meridien Hotel, best hotel bar.
Tona Bell @ The Paper Seahorse, your go-to guide for all things crafty, paperie, and makerie.
Free Yoga in Curtis Hixon Park, every Sunday, mostly year-round.
Coast Bike Share. Lots of stations, and bike infrastructure is getting better every day.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (March 5 & 6, 2016).
TECO Historic Streetcar. Transit-oriented development is what makes cities great, and Tampa’s underutilized streetcar is the starting point.
Seddon Channel, best for knee-boarding, water-skiing, etc.
Carlton Jones @ Tom Ford Beauty, Neiman Marcus. Chat fragrance, the man TF himself, and sample anything you like.
Sherry Saenz @ CHANEL, Neiman Marcus. If not to buy, to marvel at all that is double-C.
Austin Hiday @ Nordstrom. From joggers to drivers and Topman, Austin can give you a thorough makeover.
Oxford Exchange, best gift shop. Cire Trudon, Rizzoli Studio, and Graphic Image? Oh my!
The Blind Tiger, best espresso bar-clothing store-cowork space hybrid.
Powerhouse Gym Downtown Tampa, the best gym.
Driven Health & Fitness. Between personal training and massage, the three Echeverry brothers juggle several competencies.
Soho Cycling Studio. Not for those trying to minimize their lower body. Also, prepare to sweat.
Kahwa Coffee on Henderson, best Iced Americano.
Commune + Co., best cold-brew coffee.
Fitlife Foods. Tampa’s Bento Box of healthy, balanced, delicious food.
Marie O’Neil @ Whole Foods. She looks and behaves like Daria, which is why I love her. Makes the pain of spending $2.50 on power yogurt seem bearable.
The Fresh Market on Henderson, best gourmet store. Seriously, the best selection of pastries, candy, chocolate, and niche dinner party nibbles.
Duckweed Urban Market, best “convenience store”. A second location coming soon to Channelside.
83 Degrees Media, best publication. A balanced mix of politics, transportation, urban development, and human-interest.
Nancy Walker @ Walker Brands. Combination branding guru and universal mentor, Nancy is a fascinating, talented person and a key part of transforming Tampa.
If you found something here that is new, yet undiscovered, meaning I passed on some wisdom, you will thank me later. These are my favorite spots across the “village” I have called home for my entire life, and they will be missed when I am gone.