Opened in 1969 by Charlie and Ann Fischer, back in the day we spilled suds at Charann's Tavern on Courtney Campbell Causeway. With little to no ambiance, in an old cinder block building, with no indoor bathrooms, Charann's, was the place local fishermen and carnival workers stood shoulder to shoulder with the doctors, lawyers and high-rollers, each after the same thing, the Best Cheesesteak in Tampa!
813 Spotlight | This Old Tampa Tavern Continues to Charm
Charlie and Ann transplanted to Tampa Bay from their home in Chester, PA. Opening Charann's they began serving a unique version of the legendary Philly Cheesesteak from their humble kitchen. Way before Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, when word of mouth either made you or broke you, lunch at Charann's Tavern quickly became a standing room only situation. On weekends, fishermen pulled up in boats to load up on sandwiches before heading out to shrimp or fish. Forty-seven years ago a legacy was born as Charlie, and his sweet wife Ann, ran a booming business on the bay based on good service and great food. Longtime fans of football, they embraced the Bucs as they arrived on the scene in the seventies. Painting 'Buc Bruce' on either side of their front door to show their pride, it wasn't long before Buc players found their way to this delicious door. Do you remember when the Cincinnati Reds played Spring Ball in Tampa? Housed in a hotel on Kennedy Boulevard it wasn't unusual for management to place an order for the entire team. It was all about the food then, no frills, heck they didn't even have an inside bathroom!
Charann’s Tavern moved in 1995 to Hillsborough Ave. When Charlie and Ann learned about plans to redo the roadways surrounding the tavern they decided to move. While the new location has indoor bathrooms, the charm of this old bar and grill is still in place, as are the recipes and technique handed down over the decades. Charlie passed first, then in March 2000, at eighty-five years of age, Ann sold the business to Karin Juhl, six months before she too passed away. Karin, taking over the reins, vowed to maintain Charann's long-time customers and to continue serving the best Cheesesteak Sandwich in Tampa Bay. I'd say she has succeeded!
A family-friendly Charann's is a place where you can nosh on the "often imitated, never duplicated", Charann's Cheesesteak sandwich or choose from a huge menu including Grouper Tenders, my fave the Patty Melt, a classic BLT or Fried Bologna sandwich along with Wings, Butterfly Shrimp, and more. Eating on the lighter side? Try Charann's Portobello Mushroom sandwich or opt for the Chicken or Turkey Cheesesteak. My husband, a connoisseur of the Bacon and Blue Burger swears by Charann's!
Word of mouth and consistency started and maintain this amazing Tampa tavern at the corner of Hillsborough and Memorial Highway, if you have never had the pleasure, and it IS a pleasure, grab a friend and go today! Post photos and spread the word, Charann's Tavern is a wonderful piece of Tampa foodie history, and one everyone should experience time and again!