My service therapy dog Ruby and I were equally thrilled to hear about a unique “Yappy-Hour” sponsored by the amazing locally based volunteer organization Paws for Friendship (www.pawsforfriendshipinc.org.)  Ruby is always up for some “people food,” and I had a canine-like “Pavlovian” response to a hot new venue at the Winthrop Town Center. I had previewed the menu before their recent opening and had already developed a “short list” in my head.  Quickly becoming an iconic venue since their 2010 South Tampa opening, EATS! is known for classic American influenced comfort food taken to an art form. I can’t wait…Who let the dogs out?

 The feeding frenzy started with a generous serving of complimentary house-made chips with an addictive dip. I initially thought I was getting “special treatment” based on my “status” as an Osprey Observer contributor and Paws volunteer until I noticed everyone else got them too. I’ll get over it. Not too surprisingly, the Rib and Mac Sandwich caught my eye.  Our terrific server maneuvered my meal past 30 drooling canines and my life changed for the better. The slow cooked pulled- from- the- bone rib meat paired with a heaping portion of EATS! Homemade Mac-n-Cheese was an amazing marriage of comfort foods that will have me coming back to this altar time and time again. If I had tragically dropped my sandwich, I would have had no issue battling it out with some nimble greyhounds eyeing it (and even my own dog.)  I was allowed to sub out real garlic mashed potatoes for fries and found a new “go to” source for one of life’s underrated culinary necessities. If I elected to write about the Fried Oreo Sundae, I would eliminate your ability to fantasize about it until you experience one for yourself. I’m too kind.

No worries you pet lovers as the dogs had their “day in the sun” too. Personal water bowls and a cooked to order “doggie burger” were available to the four-legged guests. Ruby was clearly disappointed when I declined the waiter’s surprising suggestion for a “bacon add-on for $.50.”  Clearly, the team at EATS! doesn’t miss a beat.

Be it dogs, or foodies, or kids, or carnivores, or the “healthier inclined” folks eyeing about a dozen salad options as well as leanly prepared grilled protein selections, EATS! has you covered. Beer snobs will enjoy the 30 brews on tap featuring your local favorites as well as a changing rotation sure to set the next trend. Flat screens TV’s strategically adorn the walls and bar area so that you can “creatively watch/check scores” while still look like you are giving undivided attention to your guests without made up bathroom visits. That is pure genius! Bring the pooch and “Get your EATS! On,” or stay in the comforts of your own home and allow the TakeOut Butler Delivery Service to comfort you with some amazing American comfort food.