MJ Morning Show

MJ Morning Show

MJ Morning Show

Ever since I moved to the Tampa Bay Area as a boy, I always thought that the one thing that made this place so special is our collective diversity. Different than the diversity you find in northern cities or in cities out West. Tampa was is truly unique. Because we’re a melting pot of diversity, many people have an opinion on what the official food of Tampa Bay is.

When I think one food to represent New York City, that’s easy it would be pizza. If I had to think of one to represent Chicago it would be the Chicago style hotdog. Philadelphia would be the cheesesteak. Boston would be lobster, New Orleans – Gumbo. Kansas City – barbecue (that would also be my pick for almost every city in eastern Texas as well.) Seattle would be salmon, Denver the best I can come up with a Rocky Mountain Oysters. Which, if you’ve never heard of them before, they are cooked bull testicles.

The Tampa Bay Area’s amazing  diversity is spread amongst her people, their cultures and especially their food. It is because that diversity regarding the food that it is made the chore of picking one food to represent the entire Tampa Bay Area such a difficult one.

The question still remains what one food would you use to represent the Tampa Bay area? From the Cuban Sandwich’s of Ybor City to the Greeks of Tarpon Springs, to the fisherman, who venture off of our coast every day to bring in the fresh seafood in the country. The official food of Tampa Bay is not nearly as easy as you would think.

Here’s our options for the official food of Tampa Bay

  • Cuban Sandwich

    Perhaps no foot embodies the history of Tampa like the Cuban Sandwich. But If I am being completely honest, I wonder if we can do a little better than the most obvious choice. While many places around town claim to be the best Cuban sandwich, take it from me, the best is at The Columbia in Ybor City.

    Cuban sandwich

    Photo Credit: Columbia Restaurant

  • Grouper Sandwich

    Grilled, fried or blackened any beach side shanty that doesn’t have a Grouper Sandwich on the menu, I instantly have a problem. Some of my favorite places for a Grouper Sandwich is Crabby Bills or The Hurricane Bar and Grill Located in Pass-A-Grill.

  • Deviled Crab

    Tampa Bay has some of the best crabbing waters in the country.  The Deviled Crab is a true working persons meal, meant to be held with one hand.  It is a croquette invented in Tampa and perfected by Tampa’s Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants.  Check out the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City or Brocato’s to sample this masterpiece.

    Deviled Crab from The Columbia Restaurant

    Photo credit: Columbia Restaurant

  • Guava Pastry

    The Nickname for the City of Tampa is “The Big Guava”.  Nothing captures more of that sweet guava flavor than a Guava Pastry.  If your not from Tampa, you’ve probably never had one.  But if you visit Tampa you can’t leave without trying it. The Best Guava Pastry in my opinion is at the La Segunda Bakery.


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    A post shared by La Segunda (@lasegundabakery)


  • Cafe' Con Leche

    Simply translated to Coffee and Milk, served piping hot and made with Cuban coffee, this drink would kickstart generations of Tampa residents, and it continues to today. I like mine with a dumpster full of sugar.  It packs a real punch.

    Cafe con leche

    Photo: Fester/BBGI

  • PubSub

    Line at Publix Deli

    Photo: Geno/BBGI

    No trip around the Tampa Bay Food scene is complete without a trip to Publix.  No trip to Publix is complete without getting a PubSub. If you know you know, If you don’t know, go get one!  They have a variety of subs that you can customize to your liking.  Since Publix was started in Lakeland and since Lakeland is in the Tampa Bay Area, The PubSub belongs to us.

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