True food kitchen: by a former Panther


Luka Vaicekauskas

Opening its doors on Feb. 28, True Food Kitchen is the newest addition to the Tampa’s Midtown gastronomical experience. With Christine Barone, a former H.B. Plant High School student, and a Harvard graduate as the C.E.O, this restaurant focuses on supporting the anti-inflammatory food pyramid within their menu. This Andrew Weil- and Oprah Winfrey-sponsored restaurant is worth a visit.

On Feb. 28 the newest gastronomical addition to Tampa’s Midtown opened its doors to the public. Christine Barone, a H.B. Plant High School graduate, is in charge of the Andrew Weil- and Oprah Winfrey-sponsored restaurant. 

Christine Barone’s parents have lived in Tampa since the ‘80s. Barone was a talented Panther in math who earned mathematics and business degrees from Harvard University and worked as a financial analyst at Raymond James Financial and Bain & Company after graduation. That transitioned to a role at Starbucks, where she was in charge for the company’s food division, and is credited with expanding the food menu for the international coffee shop chain. 

“We’re thrilled to officially plant roots in my very own hometown of Tampa. There has been exponential growth since I have lived here and I’m excited to bring our brand to the community,” Barone said at an interview.

The Phoenix chain’s 40th restaurant, and fifth in Florida, feels like “a family affair,” Barone said, “so it feels really special.” 

The menu ranges from curry bowls to flatbreads and to burgers. True Food Kitchen is cofounded by integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, and under his supervision, the menu closely adheres to his anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which focuses on eating foods that help maintain optimal health. The restaurant offers a variety of flavor-forward dishes and beverages for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. 

“We firmly believe that food should make you feel better, not worse, and the entire menu is based on that,” Barone said to FOX 13’s Charley Belcher. 

True Food Kitchen has locations in Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Naples and West Palm Beach. The first Tampa area location is at Midtown Tampa, guided by the chain’s slogan- “eat optimistically.” 

True Food Kitchen is open for lunch- a sandwich or salad, dinner- a salmon or flatbread, and weekend brunch- banana pancakes or avocado toast, at Midtown Tampa, 3645 Midtown Drive, Tampa. It is operating Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

If you wish to give this place a shot, make sure you make a reservation beforehand. A little over a week opened, this restaurant is full of customers. However, based on the Google reviews, this health cafe has improvements to do, as many customers complain about the sizes, the taste of the food, and operation of the servers.

Lastly, the fact that the investors of this restaurant are well-known celebrities, this place attracts people all over the U.S. With over 180 thousand followers on Instagram, this restaurant might be the newest trend in Tampa. 

“We’re grateful to be welcomed into Midtown and look forward to sharing our mission with this new community as we inspire people to eat better, feel better, and live better.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by True Food Kitchen (@livetruefood)