Lona by Chef Richard Sandoval, the renowned Fort Lauderdale-based Mexican restaurant, is delighted to announce the grand opening of its newest location in Tampa, Florida on July 18, 2023. The highly anticipated restaurant – a space formerly occupied by Garrison Tavern – is in collaboration with Chef Pablo Salas and will be housed inside Tampa Marriott Water Street, bringing its vibrant flavors and authentic Mexican cuisine to locals and visitors alike.
Situated in the vibrant Water Street Tampa neighborhood, Lona is set to become a premier dining destination, showcasing an elevated but approachable expression of Mexican fare. With award-winning Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef Pablo Salas leading the culinary team, Lona’s arrival in Tampa marks a significant milestone for the restaurant brand, known for its warm hospitality, innovative cocktails, and a menu that is driven by contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes.
“The addition of Lona to our culinary portfolio comes at an incredible time as the expansion of the Water Street development culinary scene continues to rapidly evolve,” says Ron McAnaugh, Area General Manager for Tampa Marriott Water Street. “Our longstanding relationship with Richard Sandoval Hospitality has flourished and with the addition of Chef Pablo Salas, we will have the opportunity to showcase their heritage.”
In Spanish, the word lona means “canvas” and the team behind the brand has effectively curated a space that intricately incorporates design to brilliantly enhance the dining experience. As guests enter, layers of colors and textures weave a visual tale of the craftsmanship found in Mexican culture. Wall tapestries give way to large pottery lining up shelves along the hallway that lead to an indoor dining and redesigned patio area that opens up to Water Street. Fans of Richard Sandoval’s Garrison Tavern, the beloved restaurant that formerly occupied the space, will notice that the popular private Top Golf suites remain available for them to take their best swing at inside the revamped location.
“We are thrilled to bring the flavors and essence of Lona to Tampa,” said chef Richard Sandoval. “Our team is dedicated to crafting unforgettable dishes using the freshest ingredients, and we look forward to sharing our passion for Mexican cuisine with the community.”
Chef Pablo Salas, who has gained additional acclaim as owner and founder of Mexico’s celebrated The World’s 50 Bestrestaurant Amaranta, echoes Sandoval’s excitement. “Our vision is to create a dining experience that celebrates Mexico’s rich traditions and contemporary influences,” says Salas.
The menu at Lona offers a range of authentic specialties. Guests can choose from a selection of Guacamole (Traditional, Crispy Bacon or Lump Crab); Appetizers like Lona’s famous Ahi Tuna Tostada, Queso Fundido, and Street Corn on the Cob with mayo queso fresco, lime and chili powder; a variety of Quesadillas (Lobster, Roasted Chicken, Brisket, Mushroom); and Tacos options like Baja Fish Tacos with beer-battered mahi mahi, refried beans, crema fresca, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli, and sweet peppers; and Carne Asada Tacos made with grilled skirt steak, refried beans, white onion, and avocado. Heartier dishes include grilled options such as Pablo’s Fajitas, Chef Pablo Salas’ take on the mouthwatering classic fajita made with roasted sweet pepper, blistered cherry tomatoes, guacamole, pico de gallo, crema and a choice of corn or flour tortilla; and Chef’s Specials like Steak Tampiqueña, grilled skirt steak, refried beans, corn enmolada, and rajas; and a variety of Enchiladas topped with salsa verde, mole or ranchera sauce. Highlights of the dessert menu include traditional Churros made from scratch in-house and Spiced Mexican Chocolate Cake, made with ancho chili and served with drizzled salted caramel sauce and a generous scoop of chocolate ice cream.
Lona features an impressive beverage program with an expansive menu of over 200 mezcal and tequila options, and Lona’s private selections of Maestro Dobel Diamante and Maestro Dobel Añejo. Imbibers will revel in the restaurant’s specially designed private tequila lockers, where they can enjoy access to their own private stash of bottles from Lona’s vast collection of spirits.
Lona’s opening inside the Tampa Marriott Water Street adds a new dimension to the hotel’s commitment to offering an unparalleled experience to its guests. With its chic setting and enticing menu, Lona provides a distinctive dining option for both hotel guests, visitors and Tampa locals.
Lona is located inside the Tampa Marriott Water Street at 505 Water St, Tampa, FL, 33602. The restaurant will be open daily providing guests with a vibrant and immersive Mexican dining experience. Available Monday – Friday, lunch is served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., while dinner hours are 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday all day dining is available from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Happy Hour is available daily from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. 3 hours of complimentary valet parking is available for all Lona guests. Guests may park with the Tampa Marriott Water Street valet team and tickets will be validated at Lona. Weekend brunch programming is expected to be launched later this year. Lona is also available for private dining and events. For more information, please visit www.lonatampa.com. Follow Lona on Instagram and Facebook.