VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant – Treasure Island
Popular Gem Tucked Away
If you are new to the area, here's what you need to know about VIP:
- The food and atmosphere are addicting (watch out, waistline)
- It has a cult-like following (do they put something in the food so I can't stop?)
- They don't take reservations or call ahead orders (who wants to wait, right?)
- It's a TI landmark that is hard to find at night (maybe you shouldn't be driving at night?)
- VIP has an insane number of "regular" patrons (will there be any room for little ole' me?)
- Parking may be tricky. Free parking impossible really. (I thought the best things in life were free?)
- It's small so best for smaller groups (But I want to go with all my Facebook friends?)
Why You Should Go
However, if these things sound like reasons not to go, think again:
- Tomorrow is always a great day to start a diet.
- Yeah, they do put stuff in the food. Spices. Peppers. Cheese. Tortillas. It's a restaurant, not a grocery store.
- If you don't want to wait go in the afternoon! You are on vacation so your day probably started late anyway.
- I bet your Uber or Lyft driver can find it. Better yet, put the address in your GPS map app and then just stop your car in the middle of the road when she says you have arrived. Take your time looking around while you hold up traffic. Its cool - everyone does it.
- VIP is friendly but not clique-y. It isn't high school all over. You'll be welcome.
- Free parking? Even love isn't free. There are diamonds, Tinder subscriptions, diapers...
- All 12 of your real Facebook friends will fit. For those of you with thousands of Facebook friends, they're probably already at VIP. You don't really know all those people anyway.
The chips are so good you don't need the queso and guac, but get them anyway
Because VIP has been around since the 70's, locals and visitors who have been coming here for years have grown with the restaurant. It's a true Rapisardi family affair, and one that's focused on making your experience here as memorable as possible.
So here's one thing I always forget between visits to VIP: The food can be spicy. Really spicy. So much so that your beverage of choice will become your BFF. And if that BFF involves a VIP margarita, you may need a "Lyft" or Uber home. Even items that aren't labeled spicy are spicy, so you know if they mark an item "Spicy" AND mark it "No Returns Please", they mean it..
Can't handle spice? Then ask your server about the menu item you're considering or eat from the Gringo menu. Gringo food includes the mandatory chicken tenders loved by children everywhere, along with hot dogs and hamburgers.
insider tip: Better for small groups
It's pretty small inside and very popular.
I've heard the fajitas at VIP are phenomenal. I've only smelled them, and always too late when I've already ordered. (If you've had them feel free to leave a comment below and tell us what you thought.) Having lived much of my life in Texas, I have a thing about fajitas. The best place in Austin for fajitas used to be the Hyatt Regency on Town Lake. And it was THE place for runners to go post Cap 10K. Then Pappasito's arrived on the scene, with garlic butter poured over tender, sizzling fajitas. That's the bar VIP fajitas have to beat.
I've also heard folks get quite emotional talking about their Wet Burrito. It's actually the Tinga Chicken tacos that make me cry.
If only you could sense the heat this dish packs
So more about parking. Because let's face it, you're at the beach so parking is limited to begin with. But then you put it in a tiny little center next to Ricky T's Bar & Grille and Sweet's n' Treats ice cream shop, and put it right on Gulf Blvd where Central Avenue comes over and you can imagine the difficulties.
Paradise parking has a large lot located behind VIP, where Park Place dead ends at 106th Ave. It's paid parking but unless you have a parking fairy on your shoulder this will be your only shot.
However, if you park back in this lot and walk in through the back entrance (through the patio section), you'll likely see cars parked 3 deep. Don't be tempted, dear tourist. This is not for you. This is for those locals I mentioned earlier that frequent VIP so often that other frequent patrons know who's car is whose and therefore who they can park behind and block in. I only wish I could drink margaritas and eat Mexican food so often that I could be a regular there.
Anyway, walking in through this entrance also means you will walk through the kitchen to get to the dining area.
insider tip: One small bathroom
Don't wait until the last minute to go. It's all fun and games until there's a line for the potty.
VIP Mexican American Cuisine - 10625 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, Florida 727-360-5062. Enhance your visit to the VIP by visiting their website, Facebook page and Trip Advisor!
Visit the news page of the website to find out about special events (Cinco De Mayo is one) and daily specials.