I’m betting that most Wesley Chapel residents have never eaten an actual meal at the Hilton Garden Inn Tampa-Wesley Chapel, located off S.R. 56, less than a mile east of I-75.

And, that makes me a little sad. 

For those who have never stepped foot inside this beautiful, award-winning (the year-old hotel won the New Business of the Year honors at the North Tampa Bay Chamber’s 2019 Awards of Excellence gala in Nov.), 124-room hotel, much less enjoyed a meal there, I hope this article will help you decide to go.

Even if you don’t have relatives visiting or need a night in a local hotel room yourself, the Hilton Garden Inn’s restaurant — also known as the Garden Grille — serves outstanding food and drinks at great prices and will find its way into my top-10 favorite restaurants in Wesley Chapel when I release my list of favorites for 2019 in our March 13 issue.

I also hope that you’ll sit down with the hotel’s market director of sales Lisa Moore to discuss the possibility of hosting an event for 8-to-200 (and more) people at this contemporary hotel that still has that great new hotel smell.

Lisa, an ambassador with the NTBC who also is a member of the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel, is a fellow New Yawka who will make sure that your event comes off without a hitch and will send everyone home happy afterward.

For example, when my stepdaughter Kristen’s best friend Sami needed an affordable location last month for a bridal shower, Lisa sharpened her pencil for me, knowing that I was planning to write this story shortly afterward.

Sam and her fiancé Tyler were definitely on a budget, and they knew they would have roughly 40 people at the shower, so Lisa helped them come up with a nice brunch menu — including a unique French toast casserole, fresh breads and muffins and a mimosa bar, plus fresh fruit, mini-quiches and more. And, best of all was the service — the trays and mimosa bar were all constantly refilled and everything was delicious and well worth the price tag.

The Hilton Garden Inn’s spacious ballroom (above) is easily subdividable to fit the size you need to host a variety of amazing events.

“Just tell me what you need and we can make it happen,” Lisa says. “We have a set menu for dinner, but we have an extensive catering menu and a great chef (Frank Skalitza) on the premises who can make pretty much anything you want.”

Jannah and I were on hand for the Grand Opening of the hotel in October of 2018 and we were so impressed (as was everyone who was there) with the filet mignon carving station and the four different pastas (top right) that also were created in front of the guests that we figured it must have been an outside catering company that was brought in for it.

“Nope,” said Lisa, “that was all in-house. Pretty good, right?”

Actually, I would go so far as to say excellent, and the deliciousness doesn’t end there. Although the Garden Grille only serves buffet and cooked-to-order breakfast (that I haven’t tried yet) and dinner (I wish it was open for lunch), I have to say that virtually everything we’ve sampled there has been delicious.

My favorite appetizers so far are the bruschetta (above), the spicy meatballs with fresh mozzarella and the wings “your way” (my way is extra crisp with the sweet chili & sesame sauce on the side). My favorite entrées so far are the grilled 12.-oz ribeye steak and the fusilli carbonara. The burgers and sandwiches (my favorite is the yummy bistro chicken sandwich) are great, too, as are the variety of flatbreads.

In other words, there’s a good reason why the Hilton Garden Inn Tampa-Wesley Chapel is going to make my Wesley Chapel top-10. The hotel is beautiful and has great amenities (nice pool, fitness center, etc.) and, even though we’ve never stayed there, we have toured some of the beautiful rooms, too.

For info about the Hilton Garden Inn Tampa-Wesley Chapel (26640 Silver Maple Pkwy.), call Lisa at (813) 591-6907 or visit TampaWesleyChapel.HGI.com

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