Tampa Bay gets Michelin honors but snubbed for stars
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.
- And it keeps Florida on the foodie map, since the James Beard Awards snubbed the whole state this year.
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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