Parks & Rec: No, not the TV show

Well, at least it's not the 80's.
Parks & Rec, 2020
I'm going to start this blog with a disclaimer: I did not like this place, at all. "But Mark," I hear you shouting, "Then why should I even bother reading this?" Because I feel like there is a market for it. And a dude in his 30's who enjoys craft beer and more intimate spaces most definitely is not their target audience. 
Coins, 2020
Branching off of the popular Downtown St. Pete bar of the same name, Parks & Rec Tampa opened in (as far as I can see) 2019. The bar covers an outdoor area, mainly used for giant beer pong and Jenga, an indoor area with a handful of arcade games and a DJ, complete with TV's showing ESPN (because, of course you would), and an upstairs second story with pool tables, air hockey, and a few more games. I counted no less than four different bars, which was impressive for the size of the space used. The entrance to the bar is adorned with security who seem to be st…

The Front Porch: Not Your Mama's Porch

Seminole Heights has a lot of cool eateries. This one is my favorite.

 The Front Porch, 2017

Opening on June 14, 2002, co-owners (and husband and wife duo) Patrick and Cristi Purpura opened The Front Porch, located in a house off of Florida Ave that was built back in 1898 by a blind carpenter. The house was kept in the family's name until 1993, when it was sold to become a tea room. Purpura bought the property in 2002 and began creating a restaurant that mimicked Pepe's Cafe in Key West. It has gone on to become one of Seminole Heights' oldest restaurants. The Purpuras have defined their style of food as "New Florida Cuisine." The house, being as old as it is, is also supposedly haunted. Good luck trying to get them to take you up to that second floor, though.

Brisket & Cheddar, 2017

It's hard to say why Stormy and I went to The Front Porch in the first place. I remember really wanting to check it out, and one day Stormy and I did... And I fell in love instantly. Craft beer, good food, historic house. You can't get better than that. Stormy and I have been back many times, usually bringing others with us. The food is my favorite in the Seminole Heights neighborhood and the prices are reasonable. It's also a good place to socialize with friends, or to make new friends. On this particular night, the crew was Chris, Stormy, and myself. We had just come back to town from a brewery opening in St. Pete and went to check out Trip's Diner across from Angry Chair. Unfortunately for us, they decided that 9:00 pm on a Saturday was the perfect time to close. Fortunately for us, The Front Porch was open! Our waitress during this visit was Alandria, and she was somehow able to put up with the three of us and did so with a smile. Yes, I'm surprised too!

Baja Fish Tacos, 2017

I usually enjoy the meatloaf, but when I tell people to give it a try, they sneer at me. So, I decided to go for something else for a review. I asked Alandria what she would say perfectly defines The Front Porch, and she suggested the Baja Fish Tacos. I will say right off the bat, I was not a fan. To be fair, I've never gone out of my way to order fish tacos, and these were no better than any other fish tacos I've had. The rice and beans it came with (without cilantro! Which is a huge plus.) were the highlight of my meal. Stormy, on the other hand, got a steak medium well. Here entails another issue with The Front Porch... Their food is good, but they do have a lot of trouble with steak temperature. Her steak came out medium rare at best, but I thought the flavor was spot on. She was able to eat it, so I can't fault them too much. Chris sprang for the brisket and cheese. He didn't tell me how it was, but he was finished with his meal before either of us. I'll take that as a good thing. We also partook in some of their awesome macaroni & cheese (easily the best in Tampa. Easily.) before our meal, and that was gone in seconds (with a lot of fork fencing). 

Steak & Potatoes, 2017

Things you should know before you go:
- The seating is very limited. Expect a wait if you're going on a busy night.
- The building is old, and used to be somebody's house.
- The kitchen is small, and food may take a while.
- The staff is incredibly friendly, and even during a busy period, you wont be neglected.
- They do karaoke on Saturdays around 10:00. We found out the hard way. It becomes hard to talk then.
- This is my favorite reasonably priced restaurant in Tampa.

What is your favorite meal at The Front Porch? Do you prefer to sit inside or outside? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!


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