No Car No Problem: New Spots to Grab Food Near Campus

By: Erin Robin

The University of Tampa is surrounded by tons of great places to sightsee, eat, walk, and study. We are lucky to have many of these places within walking distance from campus. Some of the new places that have opened nearby are Craft Kafe, the Pantry, and Babushka’s.

Craft Kafe

Craft Kafe has opened a new location, right across from campus, next to Oxford Exchange at 422 W Kennedy Blvd. This is one of the most highly rated gluten-free restaurants in the area. It has two other locations in St. Petersburg, at 200 central ave, and 6653 Central Ave. All three locations are owned by Teddy Skiadiotis and Ed Briones.

With the gluten-free diet becoming more and more common, Craft Kafe is the perfect addition to our university neighborhood. The menu consists of a variety of coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads, pastries, breakfast foods, and more. They feature limited-time seasonal goodies, so check out their Instagram @craftKafe to keep up to date. 

“Craft Kafe Tampa has opened about a month ago and since then we have really taken off,” said student and Craft Kafe employee, Kathryn Maull. “Each week we see growth in our sales and already have many regulars.” 

Maull recommends the breakfast pizzas for the meal and the carrot cake cupcake for dessert. 

“Things are going great. The business has been very steady since opening and everyone who comes through those doors is blown away by the amount of gluten-free baked goods and fantastic coffee and tea beverages we provide,” said Tate Turner, Craft Kafe manager. “My goal is for everyone to feel like they’re walking into my living room and slow down for a minute in this fast-paced world we’re in. It brings us so much joy to see the smiles we continue to put on people’s faces every day.”

The Pantry

A new convenience store opened on 508 W Grand Central Ave, right outside of the Atis apartment complex. This is about a five-minute walk from campus, giving students easy access to the store. 

The Pantry is an aesthetic-looking convenience store with a beige brick outside, and a modern P logo. 

“This shop is conveniently located across the street from campus. They have a huge variety of snacks, drinks, and other basic necessities,” said UT student Carryanne V.  “Every time I go in there the staff is always so friendly and helpful.” 

Babushka’s Russian Cuisine 

A Russian restaurant called Babushka’s recently opened at 901 W Platt Street, about a 14-minute walk from campus. It’s perfect for students who are looking for something new, other than the UT Dining Services. 

Babushka’s also has another location in Temple Terrace that has been quite successful. 

The interior of the Hyde Park location gives customers a cozy, at-home feeling with their antique-looking wood furniture, maroon-colored theme, and throw pillows on the booths.

Babushka’s offers both a brunch and dinner menu, both consisting of classic Russian dishes such as Golubtzy, a stuffed cabbage dish. They also have a Fall 2022 menu with a variety of delicious grilled dishes that are all prepared on a charcoal grill.

“Babushkas is delicious. It’s a close walk from campus and the food is a taste of Russia,” said UT student Lauren R. “I come from a Russian background so it is nice to see that Tampa has a Russian restaurant to offer.” 

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