According to the owner and experienced restaurateur John Cristen, Himes' menu follows three guiding principles: large portions, great prices, and fresh ingredients.
Christen worked closely with his friend Chef Jason Dame—executive chef of CMX Cinébistro and Café Dufrain—to create unique breakfast offerings that you can’t get at home.
Syrups infused with coffee beans or blueberries, citrus, and poppyseed add a lofty twist to hearty breakfast favorites. And you can even ditch the sausage and bacon, and opt for the large slab of crispy pork belly to accompany your eggs and home fries instead.
This new breakfast spot opened out of a recently revamped 2,500 square-foot building that previously housed Potbellies Family Restaurant— its logo was a cartoon pig at a BBQ grill that definitely caught the eye. The South Tampa breakfast staple was only closed for 21 days before the Himes team took over late last year.
Christen—who also owns and operates various Shells Seafood locations throughout Tampa Bay—was close friends with Potbellies’ owners, and quickly acquired the building when they decided to move to Tennessee. Before making the switch to Himes Breakfast House, Christen and his team actually operated Potbellies for its last two months, hoping to really hone in on the direction they wanted to pursue.
“Everyone loved what Sam and Val (owners of Potbellies) did,” Christen tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “We wanted to get to know their regulars and really find out what South Tampa wanted.”
And don’t fret— Potbellies is still serving up fat breakfast platters 619 miles away in Tracy City, Tennessee.
Only a few weeks into its debut, Christen mentions seeing the familiar faces of former Potbellies regulars now frequenting Himes instead.
And while mom and dad are snacking on crispy pork belly and a fat 12-ounce ham steak, the kiddos can be entertained with build-your-own pancake faces, which Christen admits was his wife’s idea. Although Himes is more of a breakfast spot, it also has a lunch menu stacked with soups, sandwiches and salads alongside its omelets, Benedicts, and pancakes.
Himes Breakfast House is now open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Definitely worth working into your weekly brunch rotation.