TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — We all have a favorite restaurant that we are loyal to, but unfortunately, those favorite restaurants sometimes close.
WFLA has compiled a list of some fan-favorite restaurants that are no longer open, but are still near and dear to our hearts.
Lee Roy Selmon’s
Lee Roy Selmon’s was a local sports bar chain founded by the defensive end himself, who played on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for nine seasons.
The restaurant had locations around the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Bradenton, and Sarasota.
The original restaurant was located on Boy Scout Boulevard in Tampa and was open for 17 years.
The last location of the chain closed in 2018, as the family told news outlets that it was hard to continue following Selmon’s death in 2011.
Chubby’s was a sandwich and pizza shop located on Bayshore Boulevard. The restaurant permanently closed on June 30, 2023.
The shop had been open for over 40 years
On a Facebook post announcing the closure of the restaurant, one customer wrote, “When my wife and I went on our honeymoon, I brought her to eat here. I will miss coming back to eat here whenever I come back to Tampa.”
Chubby’s has rebranded to “Reziero’s Authentic NY Style Pizza,” where they still serve pizza, with a new and remodeled space.
Kapok Tree Inn
Kapok Tree Inn was a dining experience in Clearwater with a stunning backdrop of the Kapok tree and its offspring.
The Inn opened in 1957 and was well-known for its fried chicken, broiled steak, and baked ham. But guests don’t just remember the food; they remember the experience, as the Inn was surrounded by gardens, fountains, and landscaping.
Although the restaurant closed in 1991, people can still visit the grove at the Sam Ash Shore, 923 McMullen Booth Road.
In 1988, the Chicago Sun-Times named it the number 15 restaurant in the nation with $10 million in sales, according to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
“I always loved eating there. As a child it was magical,” a former customer wrote on a Facebook post dedicated to the history of the Kapok Tree Inn.
The Colonnade was a seafood restaurant that opened in 1935, offering a Colonnade original- an olive in Coke.
Located on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, this restaurant was a hotspot for teens over the years before closing in April 2016.
Owned by the Whiteside family for five generations, they said they had been blessed to be a part of Tampa and its history. Although they had a good run, they felt it was time to move on.
“Heartbroken. Sooooo heartbroken,” a customer wrote on their Facebook page.
The restaurant was sold for $6.2 million after closing its doors in 2016.
Datz and Dough
Datz and Dough was a hotspot for out-of-this-world creations like doughnut ice cream cones and Wonder Woman burgers.
The restaurant closed on Aug. 27, 2023, due to the building being sold for over $6 million.
The shop had been open since 2009
“We’re not just a restaurant, we’re a place where ‘remember that time at Datz?’ became a regular phrase among friends,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post.
One customer wrote, “I learned how to cook and make all your hit items. So thank you for the recipes and memories.”
Although the Tampa restaurant closed, the ‘Datz’ party is still going on in St. Pete (180 Central Avenue) and Riverview (6264 Winthrop Town Centre Avenue), where they are still serving those delicious treats.
Ponderosa Steak House
Ponderosa Steak House was a Tampa favorite located on East Fowler Avenue.
The steakhouse had an “all you can eat” buffet with more than 100 items to choose from and was well known for its variety of steaks.
A customer on Yelp said, “The food was great and so was the service. We miss the two we had in Hillsborough County that I grew up going to.”
The steakhouse chain has another Florida location in Kissimmee on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Other locations are mainly in the Midwest and Northeastern United States, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan.
Tony’s Ybor Restaurant
Tony’s Ybor Restaurant was perfect for anyone looking for good, local Italian food.
The restaurant closed Sept. 2, 2022, after 93 years in Tampa. It was located on North 22nd Street.
“I absolutely love this place…so many, many memories and such amazing homemade food! I’ve been coming here for 20+ years,” a customer said. “I’ll miss you guys immensely when you close next week. Thanks for the great meals and friendship.
Although the restaurant has closed, the catering business is still going as customers can still order from Tony’s Ybor Catering, now run by the original owner’s grandson, Larry Scaglione, a third-generation owner.
The catering service delivers food for weddings, corporate events, and private parties, and can accommodate up to 500 people.
Little Leon was a restaurant that sold salads, bowls, and a variety of gluten-free options.
The restaurant was located on Henderson Boulevard in South Tampa and officially closed on Dec. 23, 2022.
“We have absolutely loved serving our Tampa community fresh bowls and good moods for the past two years,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post. “We are so thankful for every one of you that joined us for lunch and dinner.”
Little Leon opened in December 2020 and was known for offering gluten-free options.
“I am so sad that you’re closed – hands down the best bowl place in Tampa. I hope you reopen in a new location,” a customer wrote.