I have been a fan of Bubba’s 33, located next to its sister restaurant, Texas Roadhouse (just east of the S.R. 56 exit off I-75), since before the location officially opened at the end of 2019. We attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Bubba’s 33’s first Florida location in September of that year, and even though we didn’t get to sample any of the delicious food at that event, there was a great energy that day that I have personally seen flow through the restaurant’s management, employees and patrons ever since.

Our first sample of the Bubba’s 33 menu came in December of that year and the burgers, wings, pizza and other predominantly sports bar-oriented fare we were given that day gave us a pretty good idea of what to expect — always-made-from-scratch food at very fair prices, with great adult beverage prices, too.

New managing partner Joe Vergona has only been with Bubba’s 33 since January of this year, but as a fellow New Yorker, he and I were both excited to see Bubba’s recently expand its Italian options beyond its not-quite-New-York-style (but still delicious) tin-crust pizzas, which definitely are made with fresh ingredients and served extra crispy (the way I prefer).

“We have added an Italian-style meatball appetizer,” the native Brooklynite says, “as well as both a chicken parmigiana sandwich and a chicken parmigiana pasta option. They’re all already doing very well.”

And for good reason. The Momma’s Homemade Meatball starter offers three nice-sized beef-and-pork meatballs in a semi-spicy tomato sauce, covered with melted cheeses and served with spot-on garlic bread for dipping up the extra sauce and cheese. It definitely has been added to mine and Jannah’s ever-expanding list of Bubba’s favorites.

I haven’t sampled the chicken parm pasta dish yet, but the sandwich is a generous portion of breaded chicken strips, topped with a slightly different-tasting tomato sauce and mozzarella and provolone cheeses (I might order the pickle slices served on top on the side instead), plus a generous portion of crispy French fries (or your choice of sides, including fresh broccoli, sweet potato fries, mac n’ cheese, chili and more).

Speaking Of Favorites… 

Although we had tried several of Bubba’s pizzas before, on our most recent visit, Jannah, photographer Charmaine George and I were all really excited about The Dickie V pizza, named (of course) for long-time college basketball commentator and Tampa Bay-area resident Dick Vitale.

This zesty, flavorful pizza includes Italian sausage, a hint of cherry peppers, fresh basil, grated parmesan cheese and a garlic buttered crust. As Dickie V himself would (and the menu does) say, “It’s awesome, baby!” 

And, for every Dickie V “Pizzas for Victory” sold, Bubba’s 33 donates to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, so it’s a super-tasty way to support a worthy cause.

Other Italian-oriented items on the Bubba’s 33 menu include strombolis (the “Super” version includes pepperoni, salami, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, mozzarella, provolone and marinara; there’s also a meatball stromboli), garlic knots (with marinara and cheese dipping sauces), “Crooked” fried cheese, really good lasagne and even an Italian chopped salad (with salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, smoked turkey and mozzarella).

Other great pizzas on the menu include an Italian margherita (with smoked tomatoes and basil), the Meaty Meaty, the fresh veggie and the pepperoni. There’s even a goat cheese arugula option I’ve never tried.

And, I also really love both the grilled ribeye and the Signature ribeye Texas Roadhouse-inspired steaks. The Signature is marinated in a Starbucks® espresso blend and both steaks are hand-cut and served with two sides.

Our other favorites include the crispy traditional and boneless wings (try the raspberry chipotle or Habanero Heat sauces), the California chicken (grilled chicken with avocado and pico de gallo), bacon grind double-patty and half-pound Angus beef burgers, the bacon mac n’ cheese and Charmaine also offers a happy shout out to the chipotle chicken and shrimp pasta.

A True Community Partner

Bubba’s 33 also is one of our area’s best community partner eateries, offering fund-raising events to local PTAs and other nonprofits, and working with the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County, where there’s a Bubba’s 33 MVP of the Month board honoring young athletes, as well as AdventHealth Center Ice and more.

“We really do have something for everyone,” Joe says proudly, “so come check us out!”

Bubba’s 33 (26340 Silver Maple Pkwy.) is open Mon.-Thur., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.; and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sun. For more info, call (813) 522-5090 or visit Bubbas33.com.

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