It’s a special double-header weekend! Marek and I had the day off so we went and had breakfast again. We went to The Gold Ring at 2510 N. Tampa Street. This was our first visit to The Gold Ring. They have a web site at http://goldringcafe.com/. I drive by The Gold Ring on the way to work every morning and it looked like a warm, homey, greasy spoon diner. It does not look like any picture you will find on their web site!
Inside is just a small little diner that seems to mostly cater to take-out. The menu is on the overhead and is pretty short and straightforward. Eggs. Toast. Hashbrowns. Grits. Bacon. Sandwiches. Coffee. Looks like some Cuban influence. Sort of Havana meets Down-South. The menu actually reminded me of the kind of truck-stop diner I used to favor when I was a lot younger and used to drive between Nashville and Inglis or Biloxi and Ocala all the time.
While I was looking at the menu, Marek grabbed a seat and pulled out some cars. He had two special cars, a “Race Car, dada” and a “it’s Green Car!” These two cars saw a lot of action both on and off the table-top.
We took a look around while we waited. Just a small diner, looks like it’s been here for at least three decades (the web site says they’ve been catering for 30 years, so there you go!).
We played more cars! There was a steady stream of customers, almost all of whom were getting take-out. While they waited they watched us. Most of the folks waiting started out sort of grim-looking. But after just a few minutes of watching Marek work his magic with race cars they warmed up. Marek got quite a few waves and hand-shakes by the time we were done!
Then breakfast came! You know how we feel about breakfast! Marek had pretty much all the bacon and a little toast. I had the eggs and hashbrowns and rest of the toast. It was a pretty filling meal, though the eggs were a little runnier than I personally care for. Marek chowed down on that bacon, though. He’s got a new passion.
Marek asked for orange juice. He got hooked up just right.
I had the large coffee. I had a choice of American or Cuban. I went with the Cuban and I was not disappointed. This was really delicious coffee. This alone is worth the stop. As you can see, even Marek liked it and he’s been off his coffee kick for months now. Some new-age diet of his, I think. You know how kids are these days, with their all-bacon/no-caffeine diets.
So here’s something interesting. The bill was $7.25, which I thought was pretty reasonable for a good-sized breakfast and a great coffee and a juice. I stuffed the two dollars in the tip jar at the counter and kept the three quarters. Whenever I get a pocket of change I always look for bicentennial quarters because I think they’re neat. So I look at these three quarters and notice that the dates on them are 1966, 1967, and 1980. They gave me three coins and one of them is 30 years old and the other two are over 40 years old. How odd is that?
When we were done we walked outside, after saying goodbye and adios to everyone. Marek had a new group of fans! We stopped to take a picture together because, honestly, we’d forgotten to take one inside!
The Gold Ring is really more of a take-out joint than a sit-in diner, which is sort of at the edge of the kind of breakfasts we tend to review (Especially since they don’t have pancakes!). The web site certainly counts as the “unique factor,” that and this corner is the only place in Tampa where I have ever actually heard gunfire. The price is reasonable and the place is full of regulars who don’t start out overly friendly but still end up that way. The food is pretty good, but the coffee is really excellent. We give The Gold Ring a Tampa Bay Breakfasts three-pancake rating.
You really should have docked them another 1/2 pancake for rhe upside-down G that causes me angst every time i drive past. Maybe then they’d fix it.