Tampa, Florida, USA downtown skyline on the Hillsborough River.

Have you ever sat there thinking about your favorite restaurant? What if it closed down? There are so many good restaurants around the Tampa area, but sometimes nothing hits like your favorite spot. We asked you on social media to help us with Tampa restaurants that closed down we wish we could bring back from the dead. You sent us hundreds of comments and we found the same names pop up over and over of fan favorite Tampa restaurants that closed down over the years.

We were thinking and wondering what made some of the closed down restaurants so special? For some places it was the food (obviously), some was just the environment and service.

When we look back, we remember the past as easier times and remind us of younger versions of ourselves. Maybe, a random Wednesday dinner with a friend or a family member that has now passed away. For some of us, it could be memories of our childhood and for others it might be memories of watching your kids grow up.

There is no shortage of restaurants in the Tampa Bay area with something new popping up every week. Just in the first 4 months of 2023, there were 20 different restaurants that opened. Only 3 months are left in the year and there are many more with opening dates coming in the next few weeks. Here, we told you 3 new restaurants coming this Fall that you need to try. From the Yard House with over 100 beers on tap to The Beacon located in the JW Marriott downtown Tampa there are so many different options to choose from. But, the question is will they be as good as our favorites of the past?

Before putting together the list of Tampa restaurants that closed down, we shared a moment of silence for everyone that lost their favorite ones along the way. We know that if we lost our favorite pizza place, we would feel incomplete. It isn’t easy losing something you love, but that’s why we’re here to look back on the long-lost favorites of Tampa Bay. 

 

  • Miami Subs

    Miami Subs was one of the most popular comments you all posted on our socials. I love crushing sandos as much as the next guy so if anyone knows of a place like Miami Subs, I’ll need that spot. Miami Subs brought that BSE (Big Sandwich Energy) to Tampa Bay.  You can catch the old menu right here.

    Juicy sub sandwich covered in seasoned tomatoes, lettuce, salami, ham, turkey and lettuce.

    Homemade Cold Cut Italian Sub Sandwich with Salami Lettuce and Tomato

     

  • Ponderosa's Steakhouse

    The Ponderosa Steakhouse in Largo closed up shop in February 1999 after 23 years in business. It was replaced by a new restaurants and a few fast food chains. Century 21 Mills First real estate agent James Schaller Sr said, “In the case of the Ponderosa, the restaurant was unable to compete with newer steakhouses that offer a higher grade of meat for a little more money”.

    juicy meat steak in the restaurant

  • Bennigan's Grill & Tavern

    Bennigan’s was one of Tampa’s favorite place to get traditional American cuisine. Regulars always came back for their favorite waiters and the fan favorite bar.

    Bennigan's Closing Down Nationally

  • Colonnade

    The Colonnade Restaurant was one of Tampa’s oldest restaurants dating back to World War II. It was known for its authentic seafood and was located on Bayshore Boulevard. It was family owned and operated for generations and when it came time to close it’s doors, was sold to a developer for a new project.

    Plate with crab legs in a restaurant in Key West or New Orleans. Tasty delicious seafood.

     

  • Sweet Tomatoes

    Sweet Tomatoes was a fan favorite for it’s buffet style dining. They had all types of food to choose from and unfortunately had to close up shop after shutting down during COVID-19 shutdowns.

  • Spaghetti Warehouse

    Spaghetti Warehouse was a vintage style Italian restaurant known for it’s wide variety of custom spaghetti dishes. The inside had a vintage trolley car to eat at and white/red checkered table clothes to add to the vintage style brick throughout the restaurant0. This is a restaurant chain so if you’re looking to fill that void, you can still find them located in Texas!

    Cooked Italian spaghetti being put in the pan with hot bolognese sauce

     

  • Morrison’s Cafeterias

    Morrison’s Cafeteria started out in Alabama where they eventually opened up shops across the United States. It was another buffet style restaurant that was favored by so many Tampa locals.

    Fried chicken buffet bar self serve catering with tongs

  • Don Pablo's

    Don Pablo’s was one of Tampa’s best places to get Tex-Mex style food. There were several locations throughout Florida. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, checkout the menu here.

    3 Tacos filled to the brim with ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and all inside a softshell tortilla.

    Homemade American Soft Shell Beef Tacos with Lettuce Tomato Cheese

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