The Loading Dock

Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all our service members. This morning we’re bridging the old and the new in Tampa. It’s nice to be home from our recent exotic breakfast.

We visited the Loading Dock at 100 Madison Street on 11 November 2010. They have a nice web site at They’re only open Monday through Friday so it’s taken a long time for us to get here. Our usual breakfasts tend to be on the weekends, which is a clear case of work getting in the way of the important things, like pancakes.

Also, we have to tell you up front, they didn’t have pancakes.

We have plenty of nice things to say about the Loading Dock, but none as jaw-dropping as this door. No kidding, the door is at least 12 feet tall!

Did I mention that there’s no pancakes? Now, it’s not really the Loading Dock’s fault. This is clearly a grab-n-go breakfast for downtown Tampa’s business set, and grab-n-go pancakes are just, well, lousy. But all three of my morning breakfast partners had a “what, no pancakes?” reaction. Shown here: Ivo, simply distraught that he’s not going to get a bottle of high-fructose corn syrup this morning.

Can you spot the three beautiful elements in this photograph? Look at that massive brick work. Look at those heavy timbers up top. Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom surely is beautiful!

As we’ve already hinted, the menu is very grab-n-go oriented. Wraps, sandwiches, and the like. Nothing wrong with that so long as you’ve not got your heart set on pancakes, which both Heather and Marek did. One thing I can say is that the midday menu looks really robust; I bet this is a really wonderful place for lunch or an after-work beer-and-a-snack. If only I worked across the street, I’d be able to tell you more on that.

Here’s something we look for: Mom-n-pop-ness in a restaurant. Mom is obviously Karen and pop is obviously Sean, right on the menu. Now seriously, we don’t really want to be having breakfast in someone’s living room with dogs and cats and dirty laundry and toys and I’ll-vacuum-next-week, but we do really want to feel like we’re in a place that matters to someone. When the proprietors put their names, emails, and phone numbers on the menu, it tells us right out that this is a labor of love and they actually care about how we feel: That’s what defines the “mom-n-pop” concept. This little corner of the menu is worth a half-a-point bonus on the final rating.

Marek was minding his own beeswax and along came some hairy old freaky guy who mugged him with kisses. Shown here: Marek trying to stop giggling long enough to get away.

Breakfast was delivered in accordance with (in military jargon, that’s just “IAW”) the sandwich shop mentality. Baskets, to-go cups. Plastic ware. Marek had the hashbrowns, which he refused to try because he’s sometimes like that (| sed -e ‘s/sometimes/always/’) (That last one is a special joke that only the nerdliest 1% of our readers will get, but they’ll get it 99%’s worth).

Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom had an egg sandwich.

I had a spicy breakfast wrap. I’m not here to brag or anything, but I taught this wrap a lesson. It was delicious!

This nice lady came by and scooped up Ivo. She had a case of “baby-itis.”

The “scooping up” turned into “abducting and putting him to work in the kitchen.” Hey, that’s how Marek got started. This was Ivo’s first official breakfast abduction.

Marek had juice today instead of his usual coffee. Look at those timbers in the ceiling! The Loading Dock was, actually, the loading dock for the department store that was in this building in 1907. The 100-year-old features are everywhere in this space, but most notably in the ceiling. The care to preserve these historical aspects really make this a fascinating space.

13 clams for three breakfasts. That’s not bad at all.

Marek paid the bill. He doesn’t have his own credit cards yet, and I didn’t have 13 dollars to give him, and he didn’t have his own cash either. I had to take this picture twice as the first time would have broadcast my credit card number across the Internet in a blaze of stupid. Marek pointed this out to me.

This was pretty hilarious. Marek knew she was up there but she didn’t know he was down there. It’s not every day that a 3-year-old sidles up to the bar to pay the bill ’round here. Our main man Marek got the job done, as usual.

And then he came back with this enormous cookie. Really, it’s like a snack for a whole family (which, honestly, is exactly what happened to it!).

This photograph has absolutely no breakfast-related value at all. Unless you think that Ivo’s so cute you could eat him up. But if you think that and you also think “breakfast” then you’re really sort of thinking about actually consuming him in a dietary sense, which is very perverse. I’m going to assume when you think “eat him up” that you’re thinking in metaphor, as I am.

After breakfast we took full advantage of today’s holiday status. As an authentic veteran, I did what every veteran really wants to do on Veterans’ Day: I took my three year old to Dinosaur World.

Where he and his mother were promptly eaten. Easy come, easy go, I guess.

The Loading Dock was a very unique, interesting, and friendly place. I don’t think we can say that breakfast is really its core competency, at least not breakfast in the traditional sense. The price was right, the chow we had was delicious, but it’s really the friendly folks, the heartfelt sense one gets from the menu and web page, and the 100-year-old building that tip this breakfast over the edge from a 3 or 3.5 to a 4. We’re pleased to give The Loading Dock a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Loading Dock Sandwich Pub on Urbanspoon

1 thought on “The Loading Dock

  1. kayte

    hello from a percentage of your nerdiest 1%, who is pretty sure you taught her that sed statement.
    happy thanksgiving!


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