Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Ulele New Restaurant Waterworks Park Downtown Tampa


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Ulele New Restaurant Waterworks Park Downtown Tampa – an arrival long anticipated is now building a great reputation as a Tampa destination for food lovers, especially famous for unique oyster dishes. It is located along the Riverwalk on the Hillsborough River overlooking downtown where the beginnings of a new lifestyle development are taking shape. This eatery was created as a labour of love by a family who is a pillar of Tampa’s unique Ybor City community – The Gonzmart’s. They are the founders of The Columbia a Spanish Restaurant that is iconic here as it retains its authentic ways – now so sought after for its food and Flamingo Dancer experience.

In a Spanista mindset, returning to Tampa after days on the road, I looked forward to enjoying a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends we adore I had not seen in months – at this destination Ulele.

The ambition for Ulele was to restore an old waterworks warehouse that had excellent bones but was left to ruins for years. The setting along the river held great potential as a lovely Riverwalk Park was now completed as you can see from the pics – the architectural design turned out splendid with a true urban vibe with a refined sensibility to the details.

They describe Ulele, as native inspired food and spirits, celebrating the vibrant fusion of ingredients from Florida waters and land once home to many native Americans, including the young princess Ulele. Expect intricately flavored, visually appealing dishes prepared on the 10 foot diameter barbacoa grill.

As Valentine’s Day approaches I love to share this back story story about Ulele discovered on the menu cover – so romantic.

“The Legend of Ulele. In 1852, the young daughter of local Tocabaga Chief Hirrihigua, pleaded and threw herself over 17 year old Yuan Oritz as he was about to be roasted alive in revenge for the tribe’s previous hostile encounters with explorers. Oritz, a member of the Spanish Narveaz Expedition, was spared. Whether love or pity prompted Ulele’s actions we will never know. But we prefer to believe it was love – just as we prefer to believe that the all-to-similar Pochahantas – John Smith story 80 years later is really based on this one.”


 In the above pic you can see the stained glass windows on the top left that immediately draw your attention. The Art of Ulele is noteworthy. These fantastic stained glass panels are just one example of the thoughtfully curated art collection on display in the restaurant gallery. They deserve attention.

The 1789 signed French stain glass panels over the kitchen doors were purchased by Cesar and Adela Gonzmart at a 1972 auction in Atlanta for a house they hoped to build. They eventually designed and built their Davis Islands home around their prized panels. When the house was sold in 2003 after their deaths, the panels were moved to the Columbia Restaurant’s Centennial Museum in Ybor City before installation at their new home at Ulele over the doors to the kitchen. See more about our other Art of

Ulele New Restaurant Waterworks Park Downtown Tampa is a relaxed yet refined destination that adds yet another dimension to the unique lifestyle we enjoy here  that so aligns with the Spanista way of life. Won’t you come to visit for Self Care Time?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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