Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Bricks of Ybor in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

When planning a trip, I tend to spend a good chunk of time researching dining options (which has more to do with my love for eating that it does my love for trip planning). I find that if I don't have some good restaurant recommendations, I'll just flounder around and retreat to the closest place because I'm so hungry. Now that we have the arrow along with us, it's even more important to do a little investigating so we don't end up at some chain restaurant or where kids might be frowned upon.

A couple of months before our trip to Florida, I started following the Tampa Bay area's tourism bureau on Twitter. Their staff often answers questions from travelers via Twitter, so one evening I filled out the form and asked for a few restaurant recommendations. I think my only parameters were kid-friendly and independent. They sent back a few ideas, one of which was Bricks of Ybor, a great spot in lively Ybor City. Our lunch there turned out to be one of our favorite meals of the trip.

Walking toward Bricks of Ybor
Bricks is an interesting spot: part bar, part coffee shop, and yet it had a very complete menu. For lunch, Bricks is a good choice for sandwiches and lighter fare. My husband ordered the Derby sandwich (our waitress said it's one of their most popular dishes), and I had the Portabelly (I have a love affair for portabello sandwiches, so I'm sure this won't be the last you hear about that on this blog). These sandwiches were delicious--healthy, yet filling, with some unique flavor combinations. Bricks has a kids menu, although there were plenty of things off the regular menu that the arrow would have loved. Bricks even has a peanut butter bar!

Derby sandwich at Bricks

Portabelly sandwich at Bricks
A big reason (besides the delicious food) that we liked Bricks was because it was "adult." Hip staff, trendy neighborhood, bar offerings, etc. In fact, I think it's owned by a skateboarding business. It was the type of place we would have gone to often pre-arrow (if we lived in Tampa, of course). But inside, it's light and airy and very casual, so we never felt uncomfortable dining with a toddler. When I got up to use the restroom in the back of the restaurant, I saw that they had a play area, complete with a few toys and games. This area appears to become a stage in the evening hours. I'm all about kids learning to behave in restaurants, but I also think that getting to play for a few minutes while your parents pay the bill never hurt anybody. So that's exactly what the arrow got to do (on a super cool rocking horse!)


Now if we could just get the arrow to start pronouncing the "r" in fork (which he proudly yells out everywhere we eat), we might be ready for 5-star dining.

If You Visit:
Bricks of Ybor
1327 E. 7th Avenue, Ybor City, FL
Opens at 11 a.m. daily
Insider Tip: I don't see it listed on their menu, but order the potato salad as your side. It was jam packed with feta cheese and I wanted to lick the bowl. Too bad my husband ordered it and didn't let me.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.