Unless you’re packing a sack full of bolgna sandwiches, you’re going to want to think about how to fuel that precious little human body of yours while you’re out at Tropical Heatwave. With the addition of street food vendors to the already stacked roster of Ybor City eateries, there will be dozens upon dozens of places to do your little “nom nom” thing at Tropical Heatwave, and since man and woman cannot survive on beer alone (more on that directly below), we’ve put together a short list of places you should grub on Saturday.
CIGAR CITY BREWING’S TROPICAL HEATWAVE WHEAT ALE
(9.4 FL OZ / 5.4% ABV)
To commemorate the 31st installment of Tropical Heatwave, Cigar City Brewing’s head brewer — Wayne Wambles — has created an American Wheat Ale brewed with a rare New Zealand hop called ‘Kohatu.’ Some of you may have tried it when the beer debuted at Mermaid Tavern last month, but the rest of y’as are going to put your sweet lips to the juice on Saturday. Have a a look at Wambles dropping knowledge in this video, and peep the label at the top of the post.
THE BRICKS OF YBOR (1327 E. 7TH AVE.)
When they’re not busy celebrating May The Fourth or hosting the best Thursday night party, The Bricks of Ybor is busy being the best little cafe on Seventh Avenue. Only two things on their food menu break the $10 mark (blackened and kinky tuna), which is a wonder because it all tastes so f—ing good. They’ve also got a slew of vegetarian options, and the drink menu is divine. The Bricks is also an official venue for Hewatave, so we recommend grabbing a bite here way earlier in the day as it’s bound to get packed as the night rolls on.
When it comes to comfort food, there aren’t very many things that can touch Pizza. And while it’s essentially just red sauce on bread topped with melted cheese and assorted toppings, Pizza has been elevated to near holy status. On two opposite ends of the taste/experience spectrum are New World Brewery and that little hole in the wall on Fifteenth Street.
On one hand you have New World where love is seeming placed into each and every pie that comes out of that kitchen (yes, that IS fresh-picked basil you’re smelling). Whether it’s the “North Star” (buffalo chicken), “Dark Side Of The Moon” (onion, artichoke, feta), or any one of the other 13 celestially named pizza pies, you cannot pick a loser. New World is also an official Heatwave venue, so just like The Bricks, we recommend getting there before music starts to set your day off right.
This place on Fifteenth street, however, should be reserved for that moment when a slice of cheesy, gooey, street pizza is all that is in order. I personally can’t say that I’ve ever tasted this pie sober, but I will say that it’s almost always the last thing I talk to before I hop in a cab after a long night out.
HOT WILLY’S (1604 N. 17TH ST)
MENU (EVERYTHING UNDER $10)
Since Mema’s Alaskan Tacos closed its doors back in October of last year, the royal highness of late night cuisine now resides in the same shack that Mema’s once occupied years ago. The king’s name is Hot Willy’s, and man is it good. With tots and fries cut from every cloth, and twenty different takes on franks, weiners, wursts, and sausages all priced under $5 (add an extra $2 to make it a basket) this is a win, win, win no matter what kind of place. It’s a bit off the beaten path (not really, just half-a-block south of Seventh Avenue), but well worth the trot.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DO NOT FORGET TO TRY THE PASTRIES ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CUBAN CLUB…
….we don’t have any pictures of that because we’ve always got our hands and mouths full of yummy-ness.