A place for edible cookie dough in downtown Tampa? You bet

Metropolitan Ministries' Dough Nation is slated to open in September.

click to enlarge Something tells us you're gonna want to check out Dough Nation when it opens in fall. - Metropolitan Ministries
Metropolitan Ministries
Something tells us you're gonna want to check out Dough Nation when it opens in fall.

Metropolitan Ministries is bringing raw, edible cookie dough — which technically wasn't edible straight from the refrigerated Toll House package when you were a kid — to downtown Tampa. The cookie dough shop, dubbed Dough Nation, is an extension of the local nonprofit's Inside the Box Cafe and has a debut slated for September.

Spearheaded by chef Cliff Barsi, Dough Nation will take over the former location of Inside the Box (the cafe is relocating nearby to Tampa Heights for Armature Works' Heights Public Market) at 505 N. Tampa St. The space was donated by Metropolitan Ministries board member Bob Basham, who's also a co-founder of Outback Steakhouse and PDQ.

Downtown got its first taste of the new concept during Gasparilla Music Festival in March. After receiving a great response and seeing the success of New York City's DŌ, another spot specializing in cookie dough, Metropolitan Ministries decided to go all in with its dessert-driven eatery.

click to enlarge There it is. - Metropolitan Ministries
Metropolitan Ministries
There it is.

Menu items include edible cookie dough in flavors like s'mores and dark chocolate, ice cream, shakes and coffee drinks. The shop's unbaked cookie goodness can also be incorporated into any coffee or shake.

Like Inside the Box, Dough Nation is set to staff the nonprofit's Culinary Arts Program students, providing them with hands-on vocational training as they transition out of homelessness. Proceeds from every sale go toward the programs of Metropolitan Ministries (get the name now?).

Guests are welcome to enjoy their cookie dough orders on-site, or take them to go for baking at home. No vegan cookie dough has been announced, but, hey, we'll take what we can get.

Update: Rejoice! Dough Nation does plan to serve up a vegan-friendly flavor — coconut macaroon, which chef Barsi calls "delicious."

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