My South: Fox Sports Broadcaster Erin Andrews on Tampa

The Florida native reflects on growing up in the Sunshine State and shares some of her favorite food spots in the city


Illustration by Colleen O'Hara

I had a great childhood in Tampa, but I think I really developed an appreciation for the city after I moved away. I just love the low-key, super-chill vibe of it all. It’s totally different from what you get in Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale, let alone what I experience living in Los Angeles. Everything is simple and based around being outside by the water. All the beaches are obviously fantastic, with Siesta Key being the big one in the area. The sand is honestly like sugar, and the water is so warm, it’s like bathwater. Hyde Park Village is a nice area with good restaurants and fun bars. I love the food in Tampa—especially the Cuban food. The Columbia Restaurant is famous because it’s so old—but you’re not going to get a low-calorie meal! I order the original “1905” Salad; it’s got lettuce, ham, tomato, olives, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic dressing, and they toss it all at the table. I also love the Cuban black bean soup and the chicken with yellow rice, green peas, and onions. I put butter all over the Cuban bread. Even the red sangria is fire. On Swann is a nice little spot with great contemporary American food. They have delicious cheeses and amazing starters like tuna crudo. Always get the seafood in Tampa because you know it’s going to be fresh. I took my parents to On Swann a few years ago for New Year’s Eve, and we’ve had a lot of crew dinners there when we’re in town for NFL games. Tampa is a huge sports town with ride-or-die fans. It’s fun to go to a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game downtown. On Saturdays, fans hang out at bars to cheer for their favorite SEC college football team and then head to Raymond James Stadium to watch the Buccaneers on Sundays. Now, it does get hot in the summer and fall. Like, really hot. Florida is the “Sunshine State,” and you feel it. That’s why all those beaches come in handy.

Erin Andrews is a Fox Sports broadcaster. She also has her own clothing line, Wear by Erin Andrews, and cohosts the podcast Calm Down with Erin and Charissa.

This article appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Southbound.