If you remember my post about Grandview Public Market, then you know I love food halls. As great as that one is, this Tampa spot blows it out of the water! On my recent visit to the Gulf Coast, I visited Armature Works for a spectacular lunch on the waterfront.
Over in Tampa Heights, you will find this renovated warehouse, that once stored TECO streetcars. As if the history wasn’t perfect enough, they were able to keep the original exposed brickwalls and turn it into the downtown hangout spot it is now.
Obviously, the main reason to come to Armature Works is for a delicious meal. There are almost twenty different dining options with seriously something for everyone. However, this versatile space, also has a big lawn where they host events in addition to nighttime music and lawn games, as well as a communal work area. I even have a friends considering having their wedding here because it has become such a popular spot for ceremonies and receptions! Armature Works is one of the most exciting spots in Tampa and I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance.
Location and Atmosphere
Armature Works is on the Hillsborough River in the Heights District. It’s a green space near the Water Works Park, and other popular spots like Ulele. This was a 10 minute scooter ride from where we were staying at the Aloft Tampa Downtown.
The designers were able to retain a lot of the original look, in that you can tell it used to be a streetcar garage. Inside the Public Market, there are large glass windows that are clearly where the streetcar doors were. Here, the different food vendors are spaced out well, among tables for people to eat at. There is also a courtyard with tables and a grassy lawn and picnic tables outside.
Besides the market, there are a few restaurants with their own spaces. This includes the rooftop bar at M. Bird where you can get an amazing view of the city. There are also event spaces and a communal work area with a similar theme of a modern warehouse. Throughout the area, the atmosphere was buzzing, even with it just being lunch on a Friday when we were there. They have done a great job making use of the space in such a fun way.
Vendors at Armature Works
There are quite a few different food options to choose at Armature Works! I have listed each one below, including market counters and sit-down restaurants. There is even a store with home goods and a couple bars I mention below too! You would have to come here at least a dozen times to experience everything!
- Ichicoro Imoto – Contemporary ramen of many different flavors, as well as rice bowls.
- Union by Commine + Co. – A bar serving coffee, tea, beer, wine and some breakfast snacks.
- BAR at Armature – Handcrafted cocktails along with beer and wine.
- A.W. Mercantile – A general store that sells all local and mainly handmade goods.
- BnB – Short for Butcher and Barbecue, this stand serves house smoked eats on their own or part of a sandwich creation.
- Graze 1910 – All day breakfast and brunch including chicken and waffles, tartines, salads, grain bowls, mac and cheese, and sandwiches.
- AVA – Authentic pizza with classic toppings like ricotta, sweet peppers, and sausage, as well as vegan pizza options.
- SOHO Juice. Co – Acai bowls, pressed juices, smoothies that can be infused with CBD and a small selection of waffles.
- Cress – One of the healthiest spots here with seasonal salads, bowls and fresh soups.
- Cru Cellars – An insanely large selection of wine by the glass, bottle or flights, as well as cheese and charcuterie platters and their famous steak frites.
- Astro Ice Cream Co. – 12 signature flavors of ice cream served on their own or as part of a sundae.
- Zukku Sushi – Unique sushi rolls, bowls and burritos, each with a create-your-own option as well.
- Hemingway’s – Cuban food served for breakfast lunch and dinner, including sandwiches, cuban bowls and classics like rellenos and chicharrones.
- Empamamas – Florida style empanadas and tacos, with flavors like cheeseburger in paradise and buffalo solider.
- Dixie Dharma – Southern comfort food like barbecue, mac and cheese and biscuits and gravy, made entirely out of plant- based ingredients.
- Pane Rustica Due – A selection of hand-crafted pasta, sandwiches and other baked good treats.
In addition to these market stands, there are also three sit-down style restaurants. These include:
- Steelbach – A southern kitchen and chophouse open for lunch, weekend brunch and dinner, serving up grass-fed steaks, fried chicken and more.
- Oak and Ola – A Euro-American restaurant open for lunch and dinner, making everything from Spanish Roasted Octopus to Bregenwurst.
- M.Bird – A rooftop spot where you can find tropical cocktails and Spanish style tapas with a twist.
Andrew, my sister Nancy and I arrived for lunch on a Friday and we also brought along my pup, Charlie. Armature Works is dog friendly in the grassy perimeter, so we figured this would be a fun spot to take him. It was slightly challenging logistically though. The food stands are all located inside, where dogs can’t be, so we took turns sitting him with him while food was being ordered. There are a lot of tables inside, but plenty of picnic tables outside as well, so we found one with an umbrella shade.
For food, I was torn between sushi or some sort of southern food. Sushi won out with one look at Zukki. As intriguing as a create your own roll sounded, I went with what sounded like the perfect combination, the Shrimp Volcano Roll. This masterpiece was made with tuna, avocado, cream cheese, cucumbers, and eel sauce and had tempura shrimp and masago on top.
For $14, it is a small meal for the price, but the roll was heavenly! I savored every bite and could have eaten at least another roll still. Luckily, I also got a taste of comfort food because my sister went to Graze 1910. They were the opposite, with crazy large portion sizes.
From here, she ordered the fire braised tartine which was toast topped with guacamole, chicken, corn relish, jalapenos and and a cilantro-lime crema. She also got a side of salad and of mac and cheese, and everything looked equally good as my sushi! I had a few bites of the mac and cheese and really liked it, even with the odd shaped noodles. However, I also tried the tartine, and this was probably the best avocado toast I have ever had. It was just so flavorful, and I loved how the crema balanced out the spiciness. The only thing we did not like from here was the Bloody Mary, which was just too tangy in my opinion.
Since we had taken turns watching Charlie, I didn’t get any pictures of Andrew’s meal. However, I am pretty sure he had the pork belly rice bowl from Ichicoro Imoto. He clearly liked it because he ate it before I even got back! Their ramen looks really good too, but it was a bit hot outside for that.
After lunch, we walked Charlie around by the water and took pictures for a bit. It was a super relaxing place to hang out. My family even came back here the next day while I was on a boat ride and had another great experience. It is a lot more lively in the evening as well, but I truly feel you can find whatever you are looking for here, whenever.
Events at Armature Works
In addition to the excellent food day and night, Armature Works has also became a hub for local events. It seems there are all sorts of things going on every week here. In September alone, there were three yoga classes, a flea market, a run club meetup, a group paddlebording league, a free movie night, a cupcakes and cocktails cooking class and more!
Currently, you can find a DJ every Friday night as well the Brew Bus that takes patrons from here to other bars in the area. There are also paid events, like the recent Beer & Bow Ties event. A ticket to this included craft beer tastings and small plates from all the best local businesses, as well as entertainment. They also have annual events, like a Derby Day and other holiday celebrations.
Know Before You Go: Armature Works
Armature Works is exactly the type of place I love to hangout at! I seriously wish we had something like this where I live. The food options were plentiful and delicious and the unique events are exciting as well. This is a great way to experience what Tampa has to offer and I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area. Here’s a few things to know before your visit.
- Armature Works opens at 7 AM Monday through Friday, 8 AM on Saturday and 9 AM on Sunday. It closes at 10 PM Monday through Thursday, 11 PM Friday and Saturday, and 9 PM Sunday.
- There’s a variety of food for any appetite or diet.
- There is free parking Monday through Friday, and it costs $5 to park Friday nights and all day Saturday and Sunday.
- There is plenty of seating indoors, outdoors in the courtyard and outdoors on the lawn.
- Armature Works allows dogs around the perimeter and the lawn.
- There is live music every Friday night.
Have you been to Armature Works! Let me know what you ate if you have! If you like food halls, check out my full Tampa Food Hall Guide or for more info on the Tampa area, check out my best breweries post and my St. Pete Travel Guide!