For Folk’s Sake

No man may be island, but Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café definitely sets itself apart in a sea of usual Tampa dining standards. Situated in heart of Seminole Heights, the red brick-colored building stands out as blatantly as the Seminole Heights Baptist Church.

Upon walking along Ella’s bowling ball edged path and stepping foot into the restaurant, its eclectic sensibility is evident by the art in the yard and its collections hanging on the walls.

Even the bar is a work of art.

In true Southern style, we were welcomed by everyone from the hostess, the bartender, the chef, the owner and lastly our server.  With his recommendation, we started our meal with hummus pesto spread drizzled with a balsamic reduction and served with warm soft pita.

Rumor has it that Ella’s organic Angus beef burgers are bar none.  My oldest daughter tried The Boring minus the toppings as she didn’t want them getting in the way of the meat.  I stole her beer-battered zucchini fritters so she wouldn’t have to subject herself to another veggie in the way of her burger.

Hubby ordered The Stuffed, a half-pound organic raised Angus beef patty stuffed with caramelized onion, gorgonzola and bacon served on a bed of arugula.  A name very fitting for this burger since Allan could only finish half of it.  So, I helped myself to his sweet potato waffle fries.

Even with food made fresh daily and all natural, organic ingredients, I steered away from the Angus beef burgers and ordered The Good, which may seem silly with menu full of interesting twists on soul food favorites.  But I couldn’t resist a homemade veggie burger and my decision didn’t disappoint me.  With a chickpea flour base, Ella’s veggie patty was chockfull of whole beans, such as black bean and garbanzo.   I made The Good even better and healthier by ordering a side salad to accompany my burger.  Besides, I needed to balance out the fried foods I pinched off my family’s plates.

Plus, my guilt-free meal allowed me to indulge in a true Southern summertime classic, Peach Cobbler.  Bourbon soaked peaches served warm with homemade vanilla ice cream was a sweet ending to a fantastic meal.

We’re planning another visit to Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café very soon, especially for Soul Food Sunday or a Friday night for the live music.  But we’ll certainly visit again in cooler weather to enjoy our meal on Ella’s darling outside dining deck which spotlights another work of art, a huge old oak tree.

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