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…

Hao Wah: A South Tampa Buffet

A buffet? In South Tampa? Yes, but hear me out...

Hao Wah, 2017

It's no secret that I delivered for Uber Eats for a very short while. In that short while, my run was mainly down Gandy, up S. Dale Mabry, and around Manhattan. There was one restaurant that I was guaranteed to get a hit at every time I passed. That restaurant was Hao Wah. Stormy was with me one day and we realized there had to be something special about this place. You could order from anywhere, and I was getting deliveries to Downtown and Seminole Heights. What is going on with this place? So, we decided to try it out. Then went again. Then went again. But you didn't come here for that.

Inside Decor, 2017

There is almost no information about them online. Their website is good for little more than telling you that they also double as an event space and listing the prices of their menu. They have two locations (South Tampa and Pinellas Park), I can't tell you which came first. What I can tell you is that the decoration inside the South Tampa location is spot on and fits the theming perfectly. The dining room itself is huge, and they have tables that can accommodate some pretty large parties. "Hao Wah" apparently means "gorgeous" in Chinese, and the inside shows it. The greenery, the dueling dragons, the wooden walls and tables, the paintings... It all works well within this building. I'll even give them credit for their industrial looking ceiling. Overall, the interior provides a nice mood for dining.

Buffet, 2017

I've been to many, many Chinese buffets, and I know that the overwhelming majority of them are... Lets just say sub par. Hao Wah is in that rare category of having the New York style Chinese food that we've all grown to love, fresh, and it tastes good. I tend to stick to rice at most buffets because I don't particularly care for the noodles. That said, Hao Wah's lo mein is some of the best I've had at any Chinese restaurant, not just a buffet. The common issue of food coming off the buffet dry also doesn't seem to be an issue here, unlike most other places. They do so many things right that it's hard to find a negative. The one and only real issue I have with Hao Wah would be their egg rolls. I don't know what it is about Chinese buffets and egg rolls, but I have yet to find one that does a decent egg roll. I'm still on the hunt. With that said, it is a small negative in a sea of positive. 

Buffet, 2017

Things to know before you go:
- The pricing changes not only on the time of day, but also day of week. If you want to save some money, go on a Monday-Thursday. 
- They do have sushi, though I've never tried it (and thus, it not being in the review).
- The parking lot is INCREDIBLY small and fills up quickly. I don't have a solution for that.
- Try to go during peak hours to ensure the food is at its freshest.


What is your favorite buffet in Tampa? Have you found the perfect buffet egg roll? 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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