Jun 9, 2022 - Business

Tampa Bay gets Michelin honors but snubbed for stars

Illustration of a first place ribbon with a gold plate at the center.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Michelin stars have aligned in Florida — but visibility is hazy in Tampa Bay.

Driving the news: The Michelin Guide awarded its first stars in the Sunshine State Thursday, adding 15 spots in Miami, Orlando and Tampa Bay to its 2022 guide.

  • Florida is Michelin's fifth U.S. destination after New York, D.C., Chicago and California.

Why it matters: The honor certifies Tampa Bay as a tourist hot spot for more than just its beaches.

But, but, but: Tampa Bay didn't actually get any stars. Three Tampa restaurants — Ichicoro Ramen, Rocca and Rooster and the Till — were given the Bib Gourmand designation, which recognizes great food at a great value.

  • These are spots that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for under $49.
  • We guessed Rocca and Rooster would be honored, but Ichicoro was a surprise.

Point of intrigue: Florida's tourism boards are paying about $1.5 million over the next three years to get the honor.

Between the lines: Even before Tampa was shirked from getting stars, restaurant industry folks told Creative Loafing they were feeling deflated.

  • Pinellas was skipped by Michelin inspectors since Visit St. Pete/Clearwater wasn't part of the deal.
  • Some have surrendered their stars because of the pressure they bring on restaurants to maintain the status.
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