Howl-O-Scream 2020: An Experiment in Social Distancing

But was it really necessary? Lets weigh the pros and the cons. Howl-O-Scream, 2020
2020 has put us into some... Interesting times. A global pandemic has managed to bring the entire country to a halt and we're having to adapt to the new precautions and safety measures. Add to that, there is seemingly something new happening every day. With that said, Busch Gardens has decided to go ahead and run their yearly Halloween event, despite the pandemic, no doubt to try to cash in on Universal's lack of Halloween Horror Nights. They have taken away the free ticket for top tier passholders (so yes, we paid) and you are required a reservation to get in. Lets go over the event!
Howl-O-Scream Band, 2020
Alright, once you get off the tram, you get your temperature checked, then you go through security, then you go to the gates. If you get there before HOS begins, make sure the let the gate person know so you can get a wristband that will allow you to stay in the park during the transition. They…

The Hall on Franklin: Dining Redefined

You two can never agree on what to eat? Well, how about a selection?

The Hall on Franklin, 2018

Tampa is a city that is growing. When populations start to rise and areas start to become more populated, new businesses start to open, and some take chances. The Hall is one of those types of places. Located in Tampa Heights (between Seminole Heights and Downtown Tampa), The Hall is one of the newest additions to an area that's quickly becoming known as a foodie paradise. You have Ulele, The Heights Public Market, Hidden Springs Ale Works, and many other cool little hangouts all around the area with Waterworks Park to keep the area green. But you didn't come here for that.

Inside The Hall, 2018

So, to give you an idea of how this place is set up: The area has a handful of bars, which are open seating. Then you have a massive dining room that's divided up into smaller areas to give off an intimate-ish feel to it. Along the back wall are the various restaurants that are set up. The biggest downside to the building itself is that it gets busy, it gets crowded, and there's nowhere for people waiting on a table to sit while you wait for them to call your name. Getting a table is actually a pretty big hassle. Luckily, that seems to be the only struggle here. The tables are all unique to the area of the dining room that they're in. Stormy and I, for instance, sat at a raised table with a very interesting piece of old timey equipment holding it up. I saw another area that looked like it had a couch with a coffee table as the table, etc. Needless to say, it's an interesting experience. There are five different restaurants at The Hall with a one page menu at each restaurant (Bake'n Babes, North Star Eatery, Poke Rose Healthy Fresh, Heights Fish Camp, Heights Malt Shoppe). There is a nice variety among places to eat as well, though I will say that I don't remember seeing any vegetarian or vegan options (if that's your thing). This is also one of those places where chefs are encouraged to be creative. Picky eaters beware!

Burger, 2018

Our waitress on this particular occasion was Chelsea and she strongly suggested this burger. I was skeptical. Pickled onions... Really? Alright, fine! If I can't be open minded then I should stop coming to places like this. This burger came from the Heights Malt Shoppe and, I must say, it was surprisingly good and deceptively filling. I wasn't expecting much when I ordered it, and the pickled onions did freak me out, however, the onions added just the right amount of tang to the burger. The fries I remember being decent, but not extraordinary. Overall I'd give the meal a solid 3.5/5. The one thing that I wish I had thought about before coming here: These are all separate restaurants on separate timelines. My burger came out a GOOD 10 minutes after Stormy's food. This is fine, as Stormy and I have been together long enough for that to not bother us. If this is a first date idea... Well, it might be kind of awkward. 

Chicken Sandwich, 2018

It's 2018 and I told Stormy that I need to start keeping better track of the restaurants we eat at... And I screwed up already. I can't tell you which restaurant this was from, I can only tell you that it wasn't from the Heights Malt Shoppe. Her meal came complete with the same lovely fries that mine did, and the chicken was nice and moist. Stormy states that the sandwich was, "small and nothing extraordinary," but that the sauce bar they have was exciting. And they do have a bar for sauces. Off the top of my head, I don't recall what the sauces were, but I remember them having a bunch of different BBQ sauces, some mustard mixes, and some ketchup mixes too.

Inside the Chicken Sandwich, 2018

Things to know before you go:
- Ordering from different restaurants means that your food will come out at different times.
- There is no convenient way to wait for your seat.
- The restaurant is divided up into different looking sections. Makes for a cool little effect.
- Parking is a pain to find.

Have you been to The Hall? Do you like the concept of multiple restaurants? 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!