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When a restaurant celebrates 35 years in the industry, you would think highly of their food. Let us take a step back and also notice what makes me approve a family friendly dining in Tampa establishment. Customer service. Kindness. Attentive. Then menu. Food comes last when it comes to kids because frankly, they could eat off my plate if need be. However, Too Jay’s Gourmet Deli goes above and beyond in each of these categories!
When we were invited to visit Too Jay’s Gourmet Deli at International Plaza Mall Baystreet, I had never heard of it before. Which is a bit crazy since I have lived in Tampa nearly my whole life. Tucked to the side of a main entrance before entering the mall, stands a heaven of fresh tasty food for the whole family. The inside is much bigger than one would assume from standing outside.
When you walk in, you see a case of scrumptious desserts and a case of deli freshness! Humble decor and comfortable seating makes me already want to make this a new family dining favorite (before the menu was even in front of us!) We were greeted by a wonderful waiter named Joey. He explained the menu, made sure our son had a drink within moments, and answered any questions we had. The menu selection was HUGE!
We started off with the potato skins which were out of this world! My son and husband agreed. I could go in and order just a plate of that and dessert and be satisfied. (Just wait until you see dessert!)
My husband played it safe and went for a hot Philly Cheesesteak which he was impressed with. My son had a burger, fries, and cookie with the tastiest apple juice! Both men were very satisfied with their selections.
Being the total foodie I am, I could not settle on just one thing so I ordered from the Choose Too! Menu. This let me get a half gourmet sandwich and half a salad (which was more like half a garden!) I chose the Strawberry Citrus Salad with grilled chicken which came with a raspberry dressing, mandarin oranges, strawberries, red grapes, gorgonzola, and toasted almonds. This was joined by the Turkey Avocado deli sandwich that included slow roasted turkey breast, fresh avocado, arugula, tomato, and a lemon aioli. If that was not enough I also had a side with it, potato salad that rocked my world!
The portions and presentation of everything was exceptional. The taste was hands down something that all chain restaurants need to step up their game to! To top it off, between dinner and dessert we got the pleasure to meet the Manager of the Downtown Tampa location, E. T. is what he called himself. He entertained our son while we were able to eat and enjoy the meal without him running off. They played games and chatted. I hope to pop in to his location one day to visit! He certainly made dinner relaxing and fun for us.
Then came dessert…..this was the end of everything I had ever thought about not having room for dessert. Next time, I just may order it first! I have to first say, they can’t be beat compared to other chains on their dessert prices. You get more bang for your buck in size and quality! The husband and son shared a brownie. It was good.
What Joey and E.T. both egged me on to try…was beyond amazing. The Banana Dream. Normally a banana belongs in bread, cereal, or out of the peel in my mouth. It is not a typical flavor I associate with dessert. My mind has been changed and I still can’t stop thinking about the Banana Dream. I fear with my next pregnancy I will be begging for a slice often! Moist banana cake, rich banana cream, chocolate chips, walnuts and milk chocolate icing. I wish I could have finished it!!!! Even my husband took a bite and agreed it was sensational. Nice and cold and melts in your mouth. I dare you to shrug it off after one bite!
Family vote: Family approved! Kid friendly environment and menu. A MUST visit if you are in the area. If you live here, RUN as fast as you can to try them out as you will not be sorry!
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.