APRIL 25 UPDATE: Word is a Trader Joe’s might be coming to the corner of Swann and Dale Mabry in Tampa! Just rumor at this point, but any news is good news!
JUNE 14 UPDATE: Mayor Bob Buckhorn confirmed the rumor on Twitter today. Looks like construction could begin in late July!
Since Wawa opened in St. Pete, lines have been long to get one of their sandwiches. Police were called in Sarasota when Trader Joe’s opened their location in 2012. Can you imagine if a In-N-Out opened here? I think people would camp out. I probably would.
It’s no secret. Tampa Bay has a ton of transplants from all over the country. In fact, you’re reading a post by one! I grew up in Maine. And when you work in radio, you tend to bounce around. I’ve lived everywhere from Boston to San Francisco. Give me a town and I’ll tell you my favorite place to eat.
I couldn’t wait to move to Tampa because I could finally sink my teeth into those awesome lemon pepper chicken fingers at WingStop.
Here’s my Top 5 list of chains who need to open their doors in Tampa Bay ASAP! Feel free to add your wish list in the comments area at the bottom of the page!
#5: Legal Sea Foods
Sorry, I grew up in New England so when it comes to seafood, I’m biased. My lobster, shrimp, clams have gotta be from the cold, icy waters of Maine. I just don’t enjoy seafood from the warm waters of the Gulf! Legal’s is legendary back home for it’s obsession with serving only the freshest catch possible. The fried shrimp and lobster bisque are something you just have to experience. In my research writing this piece, I just found out they have a location in Boca Raton. That’s at the top of my list of things to do when I visit Fort Lauderdale next weekend!
#4: Jimboy’s Tacos
This place was great when I lived in California. There’s not a lot of great Mexican food here in Tampa compared to the west coast. Love those Doritos tacos at Taco Bell, but this would be a great addition!
Italian food is my favorite. We’ve got some great options here. In Tampa, The Laughing Cat in Ybor makes my mouth water. And the chicken parmesan at Italia Mia near the station here in St. Pete is pretty good too. But we could definitely use some more Italian options all over Tampa Bay. Bertucci’s is similiar to Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.
Love me my Big Mac, but when I’m visiting the west coast, you best believe there will be a stop (or several) at In-N-Out. Their burgers are NOT the best you’ll ever have, despite what most Californians will tell you. But for fast food, they can’t be beat. Burgers are made to order and the staff is super perky.
#1: Trader Joe’s
There have been rumors. Facebook petitions have been created. Tampa wants a Trader Joe’s! For those who like the idea of buying food that wasn’t created in a science lab, we do have Whole Foods. But Trader’s prices are much more reasonable. Plus they have great cheap wine (most buy their Charles Shaw wines aka “Two Buck Chuck” by the case) and quirky items like “Cookie Butter.” Trader’s opened up a location in Sarasota and police had to be called in to maintain order.
Honorable Mention: D’Angelo
Unfortunately there don’t seem to be many of these left even up north where I grew up. Subway helped Jared lose weight. D’Angelo was my secret. Unlike Subway, D’Angelo grills most of their subs. Before my weight loss, I was all about their steak n’ cheese, but they have great grilled chicken subs, salads, soups and more. They have locations mostly in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Got a chain you want to see open their doors in Tampa? Leave it below in the comments section!