Want to try the food at a bunch of restaurants in Tampa Bay but don't want to visit them all? It’s always great to visit a local taste event and sample dishes from many of the restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. You'll get to taste samples of signatures dishes, tantalizing desserts, delicious and diverse offerings from the top participating restaurants.
The Ybor City Culinaria Experience from May 18-27 takes this opportunity a step further and offers you the chance to actually meet the Chefs at various Ybor restaurants and even participate in a cooking seminar with them! The goal of the 10 day event is to emphasize the history of Ybor City, the many dining opportunities there, and increase foot traffic into and around the district.
Laughing Cat - Monday, May 21 at 9am - - Join Chef Franco and learn how he creates his famous Lunch Buffett!
The Laughing Cat’s Chef Franco has more than 50 years of experience in Europe and the United States, ranging from Italy, France, England, New York City and Long Island, among other areas. In the year 2000, he opened up the Cat here in Tampa.
“We started off as a small pizza joint with Italian food and grew into a bigger restaurant after 2 years, with a location across the street and now in our new location that we moved into less than a year ago.
Opening up the restaurant was a lot of work but with my skills and experience, it took off. The way I look at it is that you either know it or you don’t. It’s like music -- you either know how to play an instrument or you don’t. You know how to fly an airplane or you don’t. As with anything, you have to be good at it, and I’m good at what I do.
I used to come to Tampa on vacation and when I was looking to make a change, it was back when Ybor used to close 7th Avenue. That attracted me and I thought it would be good for business. I’m also one of those guys who when I have an idea, I make a plan, and turn it into reality. As a result, the Cat has enjoyed years of success thanks to my skill, my perseverance, the fact that I am honest with people, that I work hard, am humble, and can figured out what people like and give them the food that they want.
With this line of business you have to be flexible, you can’t be strict. People don’t need you, you need them and have to adapt to what they need. I’ve fed hundreds of thousands of people in the Tampa Bay area and most are repeat customers. I feel satisfaction with that; if you treat people decently and give them quality, then they trust you and know what to expect and will come back.
We buy high end, quality food and are willing to spend more for that. After all, when customers go out, it’s all about having a good meal, and not about how much money they can save. If you want to save money, you stay home. Dining out is about the experience.
The Laughing Cat was a popular place in Venice where I used to hang out all of the time. It was my favorite spot; the name meant something to me and I wanted to carry it on.”
RESERVE NOW! Seating is Limited to 15 attendees!