The way Ty Rodriguez sees it, there isn't much sense in holding a music festival featuring local musicians and then feeding the audience food that was interchangeable with any other large event.
So Rodriguez, the Gasparilla Music Festival's executive director, stacked the day-long event with top-notch local restaurants.
The move toward more local food is linked to Rodriguez's work in the restaurant industry. Before overseeing the festival, he was general manager at Café Dufrain on Harbor Island and, before that, general manager at Mise En Place on Kennedy Boulevard.
"Great music and great food go together," Rodriguez said. "People who love music also love to eat good food."
Leading the diverse menu of food options will be the award-winning restaurant The Refinery from Seminole Heights, which will serve Thai-flavored pulled pork tacos.
3 Suns Bistro plans to offer organic nachos, curry and pulled pork. The Independent from Seminole Heights will serve bratwurst, German pretzels and grilled cheese and Tun-du-ree Indian restaurant will offer curry platters and wraps.
Restaurants which rarely do festival events also plan to serve. Ella's Americana Folkart Café has chicken and waffles with Key lime pie cups for dessert. Malio's Prime Steakhouse is selling Steak Sandwiches. And because it wouldn't be Tampa without Cuban food, Café Hey in Tampa Heights is serving Cuban sandwiches and Pipo's Cafe will feature mojo-marinated pork sandwiches, Cuban tamales and rice and beans.
Even the beer vendors are local for 2013's festival. Cigar City Brewing and Yuengling of Tampa will pour along with Saint Somewhere of Tarpon Springs, which has brewed a special beer for the event called "Hella." Brewmaster Bob Sylvester will be tapping the beer at 1:30 p.m. at the festival's beer garden.