Finally a place that is hip, alternative and chill has hit the scene in Tampa Bay. A restaurant / bar / art gallery / hangout spot that is also family friendly like The Bricks is long over due in this area. And the fact that it is vegan/vegetarian friendly just takes this place over the edge!
Dave and I discovered The Bricks a couple weeks ago when we went to Ybor for a Latino Festival. Dave speaks Spanish, so we are always hitting up that scene! “That scene” wasn’t really happening that day, so after getting some free cans of beans and bags of plantains, we went strolling through Ybor.
Ybor City really is a unique place. Though I recommend going to explore it during the day and early evening as late night bar scene seems to attract some riff-raff.
Ybor City (pronounced “EE-borh”) is a historic neighborhood in Tampa, Florida located just northeast of downtown. It was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Spain, Cuba, and Italy. For the next 50 years, workers in Ybor City’s cigar factories would roll millions of cigars annually.
Since restaurants seem to come and go in this day and age, we aren’t too surprised to see a new face in town (or sadly an old face gone). It is surprising though when that new place is over flowing with people. You know they must be onto something good.
We dubbed The Bricks the “biker spot” right then and there since there were tons of hipsters with their road bikes chilling outside. We had Lucky girl with us, so we couldn’t stop in for a snack. Instead Lucky looked on as I popped in to check out the menu. When I saw “VF” vegetarian friendly next to many items on their menu, I knew we would be back. Plus, Come on? Any place that has a A Peanut Butter Bar on their menu is a keeper in my book. (You can view their food menu here and their drink menu here. )
After my race (Suncoast Triathlon which was a great race – more on that later though) and a much needed nap, Dave and I headed out for a date night. When thinking of places to go or things to do, the “biker spot” came to mind. We couldn’t remember the name of it and a google search wasn’t turning anything up, but we knew where to find it. Luckily after digging through my beaten up moleskin journal I found where I had written down the name when we originally passed it – The Bricks. Off we went.
For $24 plus tip, we got an excellent meal that was healthy and light, yet still very filling.
For an appetizer we had chips & salsa. The salsa was homemade and the multicolored tortilla chips helped hit the spot. It was no frills with lots of taste and a pretty presentation.
My husband had the portabelly sandwich – balsamic roasted portabello cap, spinach, shallots, peppers on a toasty baguette which he said was “good” (I couldn’t get him to elborate much more than this – sorry folks). I had the goodness – house-made hummus, greens, roasted red peppers, onion, cucumber, sprouts, tomato with no feta and subbed in mixed grain bread (vegans always have to change something up). We both had a side of mixed greens which was topped with a very tasty house dressing.
For dessert we had the brickin’ nuggets – sliced apples, sliced bananas, dipped in smooth organic peanut butter, crusted in tasty granola drizzled with agave nectar and a strawberry vinaigrette – off the breakfast menu. WOW! It has all of my favorite foods wrapped into one decadant dish. Dave said it was very rich in PB, but that just meant more of the goodness for me. I would have licked the plate if I wasn’t in public.
Outside the food, the atmosphere was chill. There was a DJ playing music that isn’t really my genre of choice, but I appreciated it because it fit with the whole skateboard/punk rock/alternative scene.
The waitress was on her game bringing us water as needed and clearing our plates after they were scrapped clean. She even called me out on being a vegan. She is one too so she could recognize it by the way I ordered my food. What? Is it that obvious?!? She was also the one who suggested the brickin’ nugget! Great suggestion!
So, if you are looking for a place with great food, a chill atmosphere, and just the coolest restaurant to hit the Tampa scene in awhile… then head to The Bricks in Ybor City.
By the way, if you have an extra mugs laying around, recycle them at The Bricks.
Happy Vegan Dining!