Exploring Tampa’s Vibrant Dining Scene: Spotlight on Top Restaurants

January 30, 2024
3 mins read

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Welcome to the latest entry in our series of articles highlighting businesses headquartered in Tampa, Florida, which are making significant contributions to the restaurant industry. From long-standing chains renowned for their bold flavors and remarkable service to innovative newcomers offering specialized technological solutions, Tampa is home to numerous enterprises that are adding richly diverse flavors to the local food scene and far beyond. This time we are focusing on companies whose influence is as appetizing as the meals served on their tables; each adding a unique flavor to the restaurant industry in Tampa and beyond. Let’s explore these substantial contributors to the Tampa culinary scene.

Putting the spotlight on these companies, one realizes the considerable diversity within the restaurant industry, not only in terms of the food that is served but also in the way these businesses operate and contribute to the local economy. Some businesses are traditional restaurants serving thousands of customers daily, while others provide the much-needed technological infrastructure to ensure smooth operations. As varied as their operations and contributions may be, all share a love for food and an unwavering dedication to enhancing the industry.

To truly understand the role that Tampa plays in the restaurant industry, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most noteworthy businesses headquartered in this vibrant city. We realize that behind every great company, there are founders who had a vision and the commitment to turn their dreams into reality. Therefore, we’ve also included brief bios of the companies, sharing their beginnings, achievements, and the people who laid their foundations. Now, let’s dig into the savory details!

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants

Known for its iconic drive-thru chains and its bold flavours, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants was founded by Mike Burkhardt. The company is based right in Tampa and operates both Checkers and Rally’s restaurants. It is a steadfast brand that is expanding aggressively and is known for its top-notch franchises and commitment towards creating opportunities for employees and franchisees.

Bloomin’ Brands, Inc

Being one of the world’s largest casual dining companies, Bloomin’ Brands, Inc was launched by Chris T. Sullivan, Robert D. Basham, Tim Gannon, and Trudy Cooper. With more than 1,500 restaurants across the globe, it remains a dominant player in the restaurant industry.

Caspers Company

The Caspers Company is another prominent name in Tampa’s food and beverage sector. Although the founders’ details remain undisclosed, their dedication towards serving quality food is clearly evident.


Founded by Jim O’Connor and Mani Kulasooriya, CAKE is a unique company that uses technology to simplify restaurant operations. The firm provides front and back of house restaurant solutions, including point of sale systems, reservation systems, guest preference tracking, and others to smoothen restaurant operations.

Columbia Restaurant Group

The Columbia Restaurant Group is a well-known player in Tampa’s restaurant industry, offering customers delicious meals and catering services. Although the details of their founders are not disclosed, their unmatched service and tasty offerings speak volumes about their dedication to the culinary arts.

Restaurant Magic Software

As the name suggests, Restaurant Magic Software, started by founder Steve Roberts, deals in information technology. Leveraging the power of IT, this company has developed a back-office restaurant management application, helping restaurants adapt to the rapid technological changes in the industry. Their innovative application, Data Central, has proven to be an indispensable tool for many in the restaurant business.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, founded by Bill Allen and Paul Fleming, is popular among customers who love prime steak and wine. The restaurant offers inspired service and is known for its excellent selection of wines for customers to explore.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

Founded by Jim Mellody, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is another popular name in Tampa’s restaurant industry. The brand is a lively sporting pub offering delicious food and beverages to its customers.


PDQ is a fast-growing brand in the restaurant industry. With several outlets spread across the country, it is known for its unique recipes and snack food items which perfectly cater to the taste of quick-eats enthusiasts.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

For those seeking authentic Italian cuisine, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is the go-to destination. From their mouth-watering pasta to their sumptuous meat dishes, every flavour speaks of their commitment to serving Italian culinary delight.

Caspers Service Company

Last, but certainly not least, Caspers Service Company specializes in building maintenance, providing its services to several restaurants in Tampa and creating comfortable dining spaces that enhance customers’ experience. With their commendable work, they’ve managed to carve a niche for themselves in the industry.

This concludes our tour around some of Tampa’s hidden culinary gems and the companies powering the boca-smackingly delicious scene of the city’s restaurant industry. With their dedicated workforce, relentless contribution, and ceaseless innovation, these companies continue to reinvent the Tampa food scene. Each bears testament to the city’s dynamic culinary landscape and its continued centrality to the restaurant industry at large.

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