If it wasn't before, it's official now. Tampa loves Taco Bus.
The famous 24 hour taco stand in Seminole Heights took top honors in Creative Loafing's 2012 edition of Best of the Bay in three categories: Best Mexican/Tex Mex Restaurant, Best Late-Night Restaurant and Best Bargain Restaurant.
"We're very honored because it's all about our customers," Taco Bus' director of marketing Aviva Bowman said. "We are all about the customer and we definitely feel when we get an award like this that we're doing the right things. I think our growth has a lot to do with the recognition because we're in St. Pete, north Tampa and downtown now and through that we've got a lot of new fans."
Between Readers and Critics choices, The Refinery took six awards as well: Best Chef (third year running), Best Server (Peter Font), Best All Around Restaurant (second year running), Best Best Food-Meets-Music Tradition, Best Restaurant Tag Team for the work of husband and wife duo Greg and Michelle Baker and Best Social Media Food Moment of the RNC when former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni tweeted about the restaurant.
"It means a lot," co-owner and chef Michelle Baker said. "It means we are doing something right and it's very flattering, but Greg and I are humble people. We are always looking for the mistakes we have made so that we can try and make it better. Our crazy, genius, hard working, amazing staff is a big part of it because they pour dedication into what they do and take ownership and pride in the restaurant."
Rounding out the Seminole Heights honors were:
Critics Choice for Best Neighborhood Bar-Tampa: The Mermaid Tavern
Best Carrot Cake: Reservations Gourmet To-Go
Best Fusion Dessert: Domani Bistro Lounge
Best Daily Bread: Mauricio Faedo's Bakery
Best Eatery for Well-Behaved Children: Cappy's Pizzeria
Best Diner: Three Coins Diner
Readers Choice for Best Neighborhood Bar-Hillsborough: The Independent
Readers Choice for Best Pizza: Cappy's Pizzeria
Best Southern Cooking: Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe
To see the complete list of winners, visit the Creative Loafing website.