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Yummy House Makes Tampa Bay Times List of 25 Most Iconic Restaurants in Tampa Bay

Thank you Helen Freund and the Tampa Bay Times!

This article brings to light the things that make a restaurant iconic? I asked myself this question plenty of times as I worked on this list. Longevity certainly was a big factor — the restaurants here have all been open for at least a decade, and most have been around for much longer than that. But an iconic restaurant is also one that has made an impact on our community, one that has informed the current dining scene.

Narrowing this list to 25 places wasn’t easy. Some long-running stalwarts didn’t make the cut because they’ve fallen off the map for contemporary diners. If a place has been around forever but nobody really eats there anymore, it was hard for me to justify its relevance.

To keep it as geographically and economically diverse as possible, we tried to cast a wide net. In the process, we had to shave off a few spots to make room for others. For instance, though tiny in comparison to cities like Tampa or St. Petersburg, Dunedin has a huge culinary footprint — but we chose to narrow it down to just one contender from the city, to make room for other spots on the list.

Ten years from now, this list might look very different. It might include restaurants that helped define the current culinary landscape in Tampa, like Edison: Food & Drink Lab and Rooster & the Till, or St. Petersburg’s Il Ritorno and Brick & Mortar. And it will probably highlight fast-casual concepts like Fresh Kitchen and contemporary comfort food hub Datz, as well as food halls like Armature Works, the Hall on Franklin and Sparkman Wharf.

Like this list, it would be a reflection of who we are today, and how and where we choose to dine.

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