When a former chef of the famous Bern's Steakhouse, and its SideBern's spin-off, opens another culinary effort, people in Tampa tend to take notice. So the foodies of Tampa have been following chef Jeannie Pierola's career since she left Bern's in 2007. After a couple of false starts, her newest try is the science-themed Edison Food + Drink Lab on Kennedy Boulevard across the street from the University of Tampa.
Just like any good lab, the industrial surfaces are dimly lit — Photo courtesy of Edison Food + Drink Lab
To say Edison is unique in the Tampa food-sphere might be an understatement. We can start with the decor, which surrounds diners with beakers, test tubes, and electrical diagrams. Even the menu is presented in the scientific method, which takes a little getting used to and might take a warm-up read before you visit.
The menu is presented in the scientific method — Photo courtesy of Edison Food + Drink Lab
Or we can talk about the food, which is a cacophony of tastes arranged in a nuclear reaction. Starters include jalapeño-flavored homemade Cracker Jacks and a chicken liver mousse. You move from there to buttermilk-fried chicken and a butternut squash waffle or a corn flake and sweet corn hogfish. The menu does change seasonally, and sometimes even more frequently than that depending on the "hypothesis" chef Pierola can come up with.
There simply aren't too many truly original places to eat in Tampa. A stop at Edison during your visit guarantees stories to tell your friends back home.