TAMPA, Fla. — It’s become a global benchmark for many in the restaurant industry: the Michelin Guide. While local restaurants in the Tampa Bay area struck out in gaining star ratings, they know the awards will have a great impact on the region.
"Ichiro Ramen," "Rocca," and "Rooster and the Till" all earned "Bib Gourmands" which recognizes great food at a great value. Specifically, Michelin said these restaurants are ones where "one can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for under $49."
“It’s a very big honor,” said Ferrell Alvarez, a chef and owner at Rooster and the Till in Tampa and with Proper House Restaurant Group. “It’s the epitome of any awards in our industry, in my personal opinion.”
Ferrell shared they were invited to attend an award ceremony Thursday night with Michelin Guide in Orlando, where starred restaurants will be revealed, as well as Bib Gourmands and other Michelin Guide distinctions.
“I think if you’re able to get any type of recognition, it very much changes your stance within your community, within your city, your state, and the industry in general,” said Ferrell.
While looking at the potential for wide-reaching impact, Michelin said according to a 2019 study by Ernst & Young, 61% of frequent travelers would choose to visit a destination with a Michelin Guide presence over a comparable location without one. It said 57% of these travelers would extend their stay if a Michelin selection is offered, and 71% would increase their spending.
“That’s what we think the Michelin awards brings to our state is to let people know that we’re more than the tourist state with attractions and beaches,” said Carol Dover, the President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “That we also have beautiful fabulous hotels, and we have amazing culinary cuisine and restaurants and chefs and sommeliers.”
Santiago Corrada, the President and CEO at Visit Tampa Bay, explained how this is a way for Tampa to join some exclusive company. The expansion into Florida represents the Michelin Guide’s fifth destination in the US after New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and California.
“An acknowledgment, a recognition by Michelin means you’re a world-class restaurant in a world-class city, and the Michelin Guide has its share of fans that will travel to experience Michelin recommended recognized restaurants,” said Corrada.
With or without the recognition, local restaurants will keep innovating to stay on top of the culinary scene.
“We do what we do because it’s a true passion of ours,” said Ferrell.
The highest-rated restaurant in Orlando, Miami, or Tampa, according to the Michelin Guide, was in Miami. The French restaurant, "L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Miami," earned two Michelin stars.