TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa staple closed during the pandemic is preparing for a comeback just in time for the Super Bowl.
Pop’n Sons, located on North Dale Mabry Highway, was a family-owned diner for more than 40 years, until the coronavirus forced its closure.
Now, the retro-themed restaurant is getting a modern face lift under a new owner.
“We’re picking up a restaurant that’s 45-years-old and I don’t think we could have a better opportunity to serve this community than doing that,” said new owner Richard Hales.
Hales has built a successful culinary career in Miami. Hales was even featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Hales’ Grateful Hospitality Group operates Society BBQ and Blackbrick Chinese in Miami.
The Tampa-native is ready to serve up a south Florida twist on an old favorite.
“I just sort of fell in love with the history of it and we’re going to keep the theme going of a diner,” said Hales. “I am going to add things like chicken and waffles, we’re going to add our BBQ, we’re going to put a smoker right here in the front of the restaurant.”
Barbecue won’t be a tough sell as Tampa welcomes legions of football fans from Kansas City for Super Bowl 55.
Pop’n Sons is conveniently located less than one mile from Raymond James Stadium.
“The former owner, Jerry, was excited to pass down the torch,” said Jenny Hales. “He has full faith in Richard and I think he knows that we’re going to carry the legacy but also put our own little spin on it.”