Tampa’s newest unique outdoor space is Sparkman Wharf.

When I moved to the Tampa area nearly 30 years ago, downtown Tampa was seriously lacking in fine and independent dining options. Today, with the opening of Sparkman Wharf in the Channelside District, Tampa is becoming a true foodie destination. This fact is brought home with the recent articles in Bon Appetite Magazine and Food & Wine featuring Sparkman Wharf, Armature Works and the Hall on Franklin.

Sparkman Wharf is located at 615 Channelside Dr. in Tampa. There is ample parking in either the Garrison Lot or the Tampa Port Garage. If you park in the latter and spend more than $10, you can get your parking validated.

Sparkman Wharf consists of nine pop-up style restaurants and an outdoor Biergarten featuring over 24 taps. There is ample seating and lots of space for children and dogs to play and enjoy Tampa’s waterfront. On the weekends, there is live music offered.

The pop-up restaurants have been created by some of Tampa’s outstanding chefs and popular eateries. On the day we visited, we started with a delicious latte from Foundation Coffee, a crispy spring roll from BT In A Box, tacos from Gallio Taqueria and finally pizza from The Corners.

The restaurants include Boat Run Oyster Co. serving freshly harvested oysters, BT In A Box serving French Vietnamese Fusion and Flock & Stock Chicken and Burgers serving roadside favorites such as burgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders and fries.

Other vendors include Foundation Coffee which is a local favorite and Gallito Taqueria, a twist on Mexican Street Food. This was created by Chef Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez of the Rooster and the Till. Montados Tapas and Wine by Mise en Place offers Spanish tapas style food. Edison’s Swigamajig is created by Edison: Food and Drink Lab chef, Jeannie Pierola. The Corners offers Detroit style pizza and comes to us from the chef who introduced Tampa to Ramen, Noel Cruz of Ichicoro Ramen. Whatever Pops and Bowls is locally owned and serves handcrafted ice pops and bowls.

Jacob Seace of Riverview was lucky enough to experience Sparkman Wharf on opening day. Seace said, “Sparkman Wharf is the new hot spot of Tampa serving the best beer and coffee the city has to offer.”

Sparkman Wharf is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is open on Mondays and Tuesdays when there are events at Amalie Arena.

For more information, please visit www.sparkmanwharf.com.

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