YBOR CITY, Fla. — If you're interested in Ybor's rich history and like good food, we found just the tour for you.
Ybor City Food Tours will take you around the city introducing you to key landmarks, historical figures and how Ybor came to be.
In between all of that, you'll stop at various restaurants that highlight Ybor's German, Italian, Cuban, and Spanish immigrants.
"There is a lot of history involved, but it's fun. And what I found is a lot of people, and I'm just one of them, and I was born and raised here, don't know a lot of the history of Ybor City. So they're surprised and delighted to find out exactly what we include in our tours. So it's fun for me as well," explains tour guide Cindy Hewlett.
Raymond Miller was the very first tour guide for Ybor City Food Tours and says the history is just as special as the city itself.
"I learned how fantastic the city of Ybor City was. It's very unique. When you think about the cities in the United States that are unique, I think of New Orleans, maybe San Francisco, maybe Key West, but Ybor City is more unique and more fascinating than any of those. And I like to communicate that to the tourists," explains Miller.
Ybor City Food Tours has seen an uptick in visitors since the beginning of the Pandemic, as well.
Nadina Taylor, Director of Operations for Ybor City Food Tours says, "I think the Pandemic brought us into an arena of feeling like life is short, and it could go anytime. So now when you're out you enjoy more things and just being out taking it for granted. And we bring that to them. We allow them to sit down have fun, eat, enjoy us and all of that."
Now they're looking towards the future. First, is the Matinee Food Tour which will launch this Summer.
"It was something that was to be sought after on the map. And so with that we want to express to people to be able to kind of relive that era without walking away just hearing the history, but be in the history for the moment," explains Taylor.
The Matinee Food Tour will be a full dinner at the Columbia Restaurant followed by a historical adventure with live characters from the 1900s. Plans are still being finalized but ABC Action News got a sneak peek as history came to life.
"The secret of Ybor is that he believed in his people, not just his own race, but all races that came in and worked with him. And he created a community where families found ability and their children were celebrated. I'm sorry, my train is here. I have to go it was wonderful meeting you. Please take the time to enjoy the taste, the sights, the sounds, visit the Columbia. But watch out. I hear that Jose Marti might be in a bad way and he might be hidden. I'll talk to you soon. Bye friends," as portrayed by Zachary Hearst.
To find out more about the tours, click here.