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Ella’s Folk Art Cafe has served the best brunch, art, and tunes in Tampa for 13 years

exterior of a restaurant with a red brick facade

Time flies when you’re listening to good music and enjoying soul food. Ella’s Folk Art Cafe is a Seminole Heights staple for art admirers, audiophiles, and foodies alike. The marvelous Folk Art Cafe has been in the Tampa community for 13 years. In that time the restaurant and gallery and music venue has grown into the eclectic haunt people from across Florida seek out.

“We are an eclectic independent eatery, music venue and art gallery that is dedicated to nourishing your stomach and your soul!” write the restaurant owners. Ella’s art collection has been curated over many years by owner Melissa Deming. Her passion and love for found object & outsider art provides for a one of a kind unique dining experience. Many of the items are for sale and commissioned space is available. 


Ella’s Folk Art Cafe itself is a work of art, with large scale murals surrounding you in the quaint parking lot out back. Firefly lights, and a spacious outdoor courtyard also offer a dreamy dining experience. In addition to feeding their community, Ella’s also loves its neighborhood’s history. 

Their Soul Food Sundays are now legendary in Seminole Heights, as well. My personal favorite menu items include:

  • Seminole Heights Strong: Pan Seared, Butter Basted Chicken Breast stuffed with Parmesan, Mushroom & Garlic Confit. Served with Fettuccini Alfredo, Sundried Tomatoes, Pancetta, & Portobello
  • The Good Burger: Ella’s Fried Veggie Patty with Sweet Mustard, Guacamole, Lettuce, Tomato & Fried Onions 
  • Sulu’s Curry: Vegetable Panang, Jasmine Rice, Tamari & Cilantro slaw, fried Garlic. Choose 2 Proteins: Shrimp, Fried Pork Belly, Mushroom, Tofu

Here’s how the Ella’s kitchen staff describes its approach to food: “Indulge in our award-winning Soul Food Sunday Brunch (Praise the Lard!) for all your beloved southern staples, or explore our unique, made from scratch, modern twists on your favorite comfort food dishes for lunch and dinner during the week. By including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options that mirror our diverse clientele, our kitchen aims to please everyone at the table.”


Ella’s expansive bar program includes craft and barrel aged cocktails, a collection of over 100 rare and small batch bourbons, locally sourced craft and classic beers, and an extensive wine list. On Soul Food Sundays, their award-winning Bloody Ella (garnished with a smoked BBQ rib), giant mimosas, and their breakfast of champion shots are sure ways to help you, as Ella’s says, “praise the lard.”

No one should leave this restaurant without having at least one slice of Ella’s Key Lime Pie. 

See a full menu, and order online on Ella’s Website. Follow Ella’s on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their music calendar.

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