What is it about fresh baked bread that is so intoxicating to so many? It may be the warm, yeasty fragrance when it first comes out of the oven; the soft, doughy interior surrounded by a crispy golden crust; or it could be the crackling sound it makes when the first bite is torn off. Whatever way you slice it, bread is the ultimate comfort food. As if it wasn’t enough all on its own, round bread loaves can also add a whimsical and delicious touch when used as a bowl for soups, salads and dips. Visit any one of these Tampa restaurants to satisfy that fresh baked bread craving.
Hours: Mon to Thurs -11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri and Sat -11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun -5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
717 South, named after its street address, offers a casual but classy dining environment suitable for catching up with old friends, celebrating an anniversary or holding a business lunch. With menu items that range from mixed salads to porterhouse steaks, there is a tasty meal to fit every palate and price range. Not surprisingly, one very popular item – offered only on the lunch menu – is the Tuscan bread bowl. Move over, only Paul’s chicken and broccoli alfredo can fill a bowl like this. Creamy alfredo sauce is generously poured over tender pieces of chicken breast and crunchy broccoli florets and nestled in a warm, fresh bread bowl for a delicious midday treat.
Hours: Mon to Fri -6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Moxie’s Café, located in downtown Tampa, all started “on a dream:” a dream that guests would be welcomed with delicious food and an escape from the frenzied routine of everyday life. With a friendly atmosphere, premium coffee and fresh bread baked daily, you can expect quality ingredients and a tasty meal or snack. Moxie’s serves a variety of soups, which change from day to day. For an additional price of $1.69, customers may opt to have soup served in a sourdough bread bowl. Served on a daily basis is Bronco Bob’s chili, a secret recipe topped off with chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese. Ask for some chili in a bread bowl and you won’t even want to eat the rest of your meal.
Hours: Open 24 hours daily
Perkins currently has three locations in Tampa. With a full bakery right inside the restaurant and breads and pastries baked throughout the day, guests can expect only the freshest baked goods that Perkins has to offer. Five meal-sized salads are featured on the lunch and dinner menus: the BLT chicken, chicken and spinach, honey mustard chicken crunch, chef deluxe, and grilled chicken chimi salad. There are also a variety of dressings available to complement these wildly flavorful salads. To complete the experience, ask to have your salad served in a warm, fresh bread bowl. Eating your veggies never tasted so good.
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Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Crispers currently operates two locations in Tampa. With emphasis on fresh, natural, healthy ingredients, Crispers is an ideal choice for vegetarians, health-minded individuals and people who love intense flavor packed into a smaller amount of calories. With a healthier take on the popular “bread bowl,” Crispers created the “flatbread salad.” Warm meat and cool greens are served over fresh, crispy wheat flatbread to boost nutrition and cut back on calories without sacrificing flavor. In the spirit of being vegetarian-friendly, any salad can be made without meat upon request. This is a delicious, crispy way to get your greens.
Hours: Mon to Sat -9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Love bread bowls, but didn’t see anything you can get your picky kids – or your picky spouse – to eat? No problem; with a rich variety of bakeries available in the Tampa area, you can easily buy or make your favorite soup, salad, or pasta and create your own dinner-time delight. Simply buy small, round bread loaves, cut a small slice off the top, and remove most of the interior to create a bowl and still have bread on the side for dipping. If you like your bread bowl crusty, pop the loaves in the oven for a few minutes to warm them up and create a crusty exterior. Cesarina Italian Deli & Bakery in nearby Largo bakes up fresh, round bread loaves that will serve as the perfect bowl for your favorite soup, pasta, salad or dip recipe. Get creative and let your taste buds take the lead.
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Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.