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Midtown, Tampa is Coming Alive

With the opening of the first Shake Shack in the region, and an expanded Whole Foods location also opening in Midtown Tampa, people are flowing into the area.

Yesterday, my son and I went to try Shake Shack in Midtown. Upon hearing that it opened, Zack has been wanting to go and try it. Created as a modern day version of a road side burger stand, when it first opened in Manhattan, it has been expanding locations across U.S. and drawing crowds at every Grand Opening. Zack told me he heard that people were standing in line for hours to get into Shake Shack for their burgers and shakes.

I told him if there is a line to get in, I can drop him off and come back to get him. I do not stand in line for a burger! Now a really great glass of wine, that maybe another story :)

Walking into the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was created as a slightly upscale burger restaurant with both inside and outside seating, a menu that now only included burgers, chicken, hot dogs, fries, and shakes, but wine and beer as well.

You can either order from oner of four kiosks with a credit card, or do what we did, and forego the lines by paying cash to a real person at the register, adjacent to the kiosks.

What I loved, when I read the information on the board, is that their food is made with all natural ingredients, their burgers are 100% natural angus beef and antibiotic free. Their chicken has no hormones or antibiotics as well. Their statement in neon lights on one wall says they "Stand for Something Good."

To me the burgers tasted like steak burgers and their crinkle fries reminded me of a burger stand on the street in Manhattan.

Zack got the double burger and Vanilla shake which definitely tasted home made

People were flowing in and out of Shake Shack the whole time we were there. At first there were no seats available inside. We had to watch for an opportunity to jump at a table as soon as someone finished. It was a little too hot to sit outside, although lots of people were.

As we sat at a high top table next to the window, we had a great view to people watch people flowing in and out, as well as the vibrancy of the area, as more signage appeared announcing openings of other restaurants and retailers

Right across the street from Shake Shack there is a long banner showcasing Chris Ponte's new restaurant called Ponte, opening this Fall. I have been anxiously awaiting this new restaurant by Chris Ponte, owner and Chef of Olivia Restaurant in South Tampa. When I interviewed his Sommelier, Tyler Wolf for my Wine Girl Column, we were discussing the wine that he was going to stock at this restaurant. Definitely a must see!

If this picture is any indication of what the restaurant will look like when it is complete, I definitely want to be part of their Grand Opening! I can already see the wine bottles stacked along the back wall.

We also saw signage of the new Joffrey's Coffee location. I was a huge fan of Joffrey's coffee, when it was located in Hyde Park. When I lived on Bayshore, I would go speed walking every morning down to Hyde Park, purchase a coffee from Joffrey's and speed walk back to my condo before starting my day.

This location is right down the block from Shake Shack and Ponte. It appears to be a pretty large building for a coffee shop. This is their first free standing location back in Tampa after spending so many years working with Disney, providing all their coffee throughout the parks. I look forward to seeing it finished and fully operating.

But Shake Shack wasn't the only new location drawing traffic. The expanded Whole Foods store around the block was overflowing with people. It is even built with a large garage attached and an escalator to take you and your cart grocery cart up to the garage after shopping.

There has been a lot of discussion about this new store having more features than its previous location down the street across from Total Wine. I had to go in and peruse the aisles.

For a Foodie, this grocery market is paradise. It was filled with such unique and different items you wouldn't see at any other market.

When we first walked in there were these two freezers set up I thought would hold ice cream. I was so amazed to find that one of them was filled with macaroons, in all different flavors to pluck out and put in a plastic container to take home.

There was a huge selection of fish, that could make any seafood lover drool. At the end of the display were octopus tentacles I had to show to Zack. There was also a whole selection of different Salmon and lox for bagels. One area especially grabbed my attention. Right across from the display of seafood was a small refrigerated shelf unit that just held various caviar choices. It was interesting to see all the different types. If you are a caviar lover, this is the place to go!

Zack and I ended up buying a frozen bag of cooked mussels, that can be thawed and added to pasta. Across from the seafood and meat sections was a delightful display of wines and champagnes. (of course I had to walk through that area). And I ended up buying one of my favorite champagnes, on sale, to compliment my mussel pasta!

It was a wonderful afternoon outing, exploring the new Midtown Tampa as it comes to life.

I am interested in exploring the other restaurants open up in the area. It appears that the developers have specifically chosen brands that are for health conscious people. To learn more about how Midtown is creating a city within a city you can go to their website:

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