Tampa’s farm-to-table trend continues with Rooster & the Till. Located in the up-and-coming hipster neighborhood of Seminole Heights, the restaurant is quickly taking its place among the city’s best. In fact, it received "Tampa Bay’s Best New Restaurant" reader’s choice award by local publication Creative Loafing in summer of 2014, after being open just a few months.
The explosive popularity of this restaurant is perhaps not surprising, considering that Owners Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez have experience at two of Tampa’s most popular restaurants: Mise en Place and Café Dufrain. This experience has clearly influenced the philosophy of their new restaurant, which includes the farm-to-table concept, fantastic service and smaller portion sizes.
Rooster & the Till features innovative farm-to-table dishes — Photo courtesy of Rooster & the Till
In keeping with its ultra-fresh, ultra-local philosophy, Rooster & the Till is diligent about sourcing its meats and produce locally. They purchase produce from Tampa’s Urban Oasis, pork from Pasture Prime in Summerfield and locally roasted Buddy Brew Coffee, just to name a few examples. They're also dedicated to making everything possible from scratch, and they don't use any corporate brands.
The inventive menu rotates every few weeks or so to keep up with new ideas, new products and changing seasonal produce, so frequent diners will always find something new to try. The menu is also quite small, consisting of raw and cured items, charcuterie and cheese slates, a variety of small plates and a few slightly larger plates. Even desserts change frequently.
Some more notable dishes include the pork belly, cornbread and pickled apple small plate – where the pork is crispy and the pickled apple is tangy sweet – or their delicious chicken liver plate that's served with collard greens and a 74-degree egg. The menu also features several vegetarian options.
The food is so delicious that you may be left wanting more. This is just as the owners planned. With portions smaller than the average American is used to, it's hoped that the high point of flavor will remain with the diner, making the dish that much more memorable. The smaller plates are also great for sharing!
Many times, even the best restaurants serving the best food are tripped up by spotty service. This is not the case at Rooster & the Till. The service here is superior and the result of weeks of training. Solicitous and knowledgeable, the waitstaff strikes just the right balance.
After all this, you may be left with the impression that this is a big restaurant with a large kitchen to create all this culinary magic. Not so. This restaurant is tiny, with only about 40 seats and a miniscule kitchen. However, they've recently signed a lease for the space next door. They expect to complete renovations that will almost double their space in late spring 2015.