Ybor City

My first visit to Tampa was only two days, and considering that I usually like to spend up to two months on trips,  it was more of a drive by. I heard about Ybor City so I took the trolly, which is free by the way, from downtown Tampa to Ybor, a 20 minute ride at most. As interesting aside -in 1885 the first steam engined streetcars operated downtown between Tampa and Ybor City. In 1893 the line converted to electrically powered streetcars. The line changed owners a few times, last owned by Tampa Electric company with over 50 miles of track, the line carried 24 million passengers in 1926. It was shut down after World War II and the tracks were pulled up. The current line. which went into service with replica streetcars is 2002, is just under 3 miles of track. 

I got to Ybor long before lunch so I couldn’t sample the many restaurants. The most interesting looked to be Ybor Seoul, a fast casual Korean restaurant serving everything from Bulgogi Kimbap to a Korean Corn Dog. There were plenty of other choices as well; Carmines, known for Deviled Crab, fresh fish and Italian dishes, The Coyote Ugly Saloon - think Hooters for drinks, Bernini for Italian and the Big Easy for Cajun cuisine among many more.

Cigars are a big thing in Ybor, I am guessing due to the strong Cuban connection, the fragrance of cigars flows out to the sidewalks. There are several lounges and cigar shops, some rolling them in the front window, plenty of opportunity if you want to indulge in the locally rolled cylinder of tobacco (that’s the dictionary definition of a cigar).  

I’m unsure, is this cultural appropriation?

La Faraona

An Ybor staple, Cuban Coffee & Cigars

La Faraona Lounge, decidedly testosterone fueled

Customer enjoys cigar and coffee at La Farina

Cigar rolling

More cigar rolling

If Ybor has nothing else, it has notable local color with its feral roosters, hens and chicks roaming the streets. They have been in Ybor for over 100 years, are protected by law and many residents consider them free range pets.

Feeding feral rooster potato chips

I plan a longer visit to Ybor City next year. First on the agenda will be a Korean Corn Dog. 

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