TAMPA, FLA.- — Four Tampa Bay restaurants are competing on Super Bowl Sunday for a chance to win a $10,000 grant.
Mercari presents the SHAQ Bowl, a three-hour live special hosted by Shaquille O'Neal.
It will feature "Pepsi's Stronger Together Restaurant Battle."
The four restaurants competing include Datz, 7th + Grove, Bubbaque's and Harpoon Harry's Crab House.
Each restaurant will make a signature dish and the winner will receive a grant.
The owner of Datz, Suzanne Perry, said she received a call asking if she wanted to participate.
"We just got a phone call one day and said you're invited to compete in the SHAQ Bowl as one of the restaurants competing in Tampa Bay. We were flabbergasted. We weren't expecting it. It was a huge moment for us," said Perry.
Perry said her restaurant will be making its best-selling item on the menu, the Cheesy Todd.
"Todd was a customer, one of our original, regular customers who came in all the time. We use to sit at the bar and talk about what would be fun to do. It was his idea. His name was Todd," said Perry.
"It is basically a giant hamburger with Mac and Cheese buns."
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Pepsi, and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation will award $10,000 grants to Tampa restaurants. It was designed to help struggling Tampa Bay restaurants. The recipients will be announced during the SHAQ BOWL.
Perry said the pandemic crushed business. Her revenue dropped nearly 85% at the start of the pandemic. She sold anything she could including the restaurant's inventory of bourbon so she could pay staff.
"When the pandemic first hit, we sincerely did not think we were going to make it," said Perry.
She said it would be an honor to win the competition. She would use the money to "pay it forward."
"Should we win, we're going to pay it forward so we'll take the grant and we'll pay it forward to a cause that people who have helped us in the past year....to a cause that was important to them," said Perry.
The three hour live special begins Sunday, February 7 at 3:00 PM ET.
It will be streamed on more than 20 platforms including YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.
For more information visit: https://shaqbowl.com.