Tampa Bay's Road to Gameday Restaurant Week runs December 4-13, 2020.By Andrea Alvarez

(CW44 News At 10) – Super Bowl LV is just around the corner and dozens of local eateries are getting their shot at making an early impression for visitors. December 4, 2020 marked the start to a week-long “Road to Gameday” Restaurant Week and a chance to showcase the best meals at each restaurant. Business owners tell CW44 News At 10, with the drawbacks of COVID-19, they couldn’t be more anxious for the opportunity.

Established by the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee and in celebration of Super Bowl LV, the Business Connect program is hosting a one-of-a-kind restaurant week. They called on all friends and foodies, “Road to Gameday” Restaurant Week to highlight 40 diverse-owned restaurants in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco County.

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Café con leche and a Cuban sandwich are two of the top picks at Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine in downtown Tampa. “We put the time in, put a lot of love in whatever we do,” said Owner, Michelle Faedo. Longtime customer, LaKendria Robinson confirms, “By far one of the best Cuban sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.” Robinson also serves as the Director of Business Connect & Community Outreach for Super Bowl LV.

Owner of this hidden gem, Faedo and her family have been feeding Tampa Bay for nearly three decades. “For way over 25 years… Yeah it’s been a while,” she said. And now, she’s getting her chance at making a big impression ahead of Super Bowl Sunday happening in February. In celebration of the big game coming to Tampa, over 40 restaurants across the bay area have been selected to participate in a “Road to Gameday” Restaurant Week, highlighting the diverse cuisines weeks ahead of gameday.

Robinson says this list was assembled with visitors in mind. “When fans and the NFL leadership and the teams all come back in January and February, then they have a list of really great [and] diverse restaurants that they could patronize.” Faedo echoed those sentiments, remarking, “If you’re coming to visit Tampa, come and visit the hometown spots because that’s where you’re going to find your heart and soul. That’s where you’re going to find people that are going to put everything they got into the investment they made.”

Locals, including those overseeing the program, had no hesitation telling us why Faedo made that list. “She is a Tampa institution, she is a business that people need to know,” said Robinson. After opening her new Tampa location in February 2020, Faedo quickly shut their doors because of the pandemic. But after reopening just months later, she says this opportunity came knocking at the perfect time. “We’re just excited and honored to be part of it, you know, this is our city, we want to impress the people who come visit us,” said Faedo. “You know, a lot of businesses just started. A lot of businesses just opened their doors not too long ago and it’s been very, very tough.”

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So when fans begin converging on Tampa Bay… “We hope that they come and visit us and eat and then when they leave, they remember and want to come back and check us out again,” said Faedo. She, her husband and their daughters aren’t just prepared, but excited to take on the large crowds. “We cannot wait to let our hair down a little bit and be able to scream and yell and eat some good food and have fun,” said Faedo.

The Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee says “Road to Gameday” Restaurant Week is their commitment to supporting the needs of our community. A portion of the proceeds from “Road to Gameday” Restaurant Week ($1 per meal) will be donated to Feeding Tampa Bay in support of the fight against hunger in Tampa Bay. To see what other Tampa Bay favorites made the list, click here.

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