Old fat Tampa Florida guy needs it today

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What are the dishes that define the region? But there was little to no mention of the places that came before — the restaurants that paved the way for the ones we enjoy today. The landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade: Fine dining restaurants have made way for trendy food halls and fast-casual concepts, while an explosion of immigrant-fueled cuisine continues to influence creative tasting menus and new restaurants. But as a newcomer to the area, and as a journalist always looking to put the present into historical context, I needed more.

I wanted a way to understand the restaurants of today by learning about the relics and landmark eateries of the past. Suddenly, the s flooded in. What makes a restaurant iconic?

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I asked myself this question plenty of times as I worked on this list. Longevity certainly was a big factor — the restaurants here have all been open for at least a decade, and most have been around for much longer than that. But an iconic restaurant is also one that has made an impact on our community, one that has informed the current dining scene. If a place has been around forever but nobody really eats there anymore, it was hard for me to justify its relevance.

To keep it as geographically and economically diverse as possible, we tried to cast a wide net. In the process, we had to shave off a few spots to make room for others. For instance, though tiny in comparison to cities like Tampa or St. Petersburg, Dunedin has a huge culinary footprint — but we chose to narrow it down to just one contender from the city, to make room for other spots on the list. Ten years from now, this list might look very different.

And it will probably highlight fast-casual concepts like Fresh Kitchen and contemporary comfort food hub Datz, as well as food halls like Armature Works, the Hall on Franklin and Sparkman Wharf. Like this list, it would be a reflection of who we are today, and how and where we choose to dine. There are plenty of ways to make a night of it at this classic Tampa steakhouse.

You could start with a glass of bubbly while savoring the complimentary crackers that arrive right around the same time, or go for the house-made potato chips with black truffle creme fraiche. If you opt for dinner, things really start rolling: French onion soup, served under a melted cap of cheese; a garlicky and anchovy-rich Caesar salad prepared tableside; steak tartare flavored with harissa, topped with quail eggs and served with rye toast.

You could marvel at the encyclopedic wine list, or better yet, ask senior sommelier Brad Dixon or wine director Eric Renaud for a tour of the wine cellar. End the night by taking a walk up the stairs to the fabled Harry Waugh Dessert Room, where a scoop or two of the rich macadamia nut ice cream will have your sweet tooth singing for days. Consider the relish tray. Robert Heilman Sr. A incarnation was started in Lorain, Ohio, in the s.

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The restaurant was destroyed in a fire in but quickly rebuilt, and the space still oozes the elegance and glamour of a bygone era. The menu falls in line with the theme. Where else are you going to find a Harvey Wallbanger and Clams Casino on the menu? Dinners start with salad and a choice of vegetable, fries or baked potato.

Prime steaks are dry-aged and come with classic accoutrements ranging from a buttery bearnaise sauce to a light yet sultry demi-glace. Fat, golden crab cakes are plump with lump blue crab, and jumbo gulf shrimp are tossed into Old fat Tampa Florida guy needs it today hearty pasta primavera and served Rockefeller-style: baked with spinach and topped with a creamy Mornay sauce.

There are a few areas in which you can dine, including the Mad Men -esque main dining room outfitted with low ceilings and an intimate atmosphere. Chris Ponte has been very busy lately. Olivia, his highly anticipated Italian newcomer, recently opened in South Tampa, and the celebrated local chef has been diligently prepping for his newest concept, a restaurant in the massive, still-to-open Midtown Tampa development. Dinners can and should start with the velvety wild mushroom soup, topped with a frothy truffle cream and chives.

Even the dessert menu nails the classics with contemporary touches, like the burnt orange-tinged creme brulee, flavored ever so subtly with cardamom and honey, served with a crisp and sugary almond tuile. Inproprietors Javier and Tina Avila started hosting Dia de los Muertos celebrations, an homage to the Mexican holiday that features altars decorated with incense, sugar skulls and photographs, and a giant puppet procession that traverses downtown Dunedin. The parade was canceled in due to rising costs, but they hope to seek sponsors to the tradition this year.

Dining here is like stepping into a multisensory Oaxacan wonderland, outfitted with colorful artwork, dangling star lanterns and the occasional aerial performance artist. The restaurant is among a group of trailblazers in the downtown Dunedin dining scene, including nearby Black Pearl and the waterfront spot Bon Appetit. The couple have been heralded as community leaders, hosting fundraisers for various causes throughout the years, including community schools and charitable organizations.

The restaurant recently upped its prices, and you should know that just the first round of chips is on the house. Roasted chiles rellenos are charred and stuffed with melting cheese, while the showstopper plate of chiles en nogada features a traditional dish from the Puebla region in Mexico and comes draped under a creamy brandy walnut sauce and a shower of pomegranate seeds. There are a lot of things that point to this south St. Pink bathtubs double as flower beds, a wooden walkway stretches over a koi pond and a singer belts out cover songs from beneath the fronds of a thatched tiki hut.

Owner Helen Lund bought the restaurant inbut the building got its start back in the s, when it was a general store with a gas pump. The Chattaway cheeseburger is messy and delicious — a fairly straightforward rendition of the American classic, and great when paired with a side of greasy, crispy battered onion rings.

Fish and chips are made with cod, while local grouper is served fried, blackened or grilled with a wedge of lemon and tartar sauce. Get the plump shrimp, battered and fried and served alongside fries, with the Cajun seasoning. S, St. Petersburg; ; thechattaway. The menu is a static collection of time-tested dishes, some that live up to their original inspiration better than others.

Prepared tableside, the famed Salad provides a punchy entrance to a meal, thin strips of baked ham and Swiss cheese tossed with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, briny olives and grated Romano cheese, all dressed in an oily, tangy dressing. The flamenco shows held every night except Sunday are a captivating form of entertainment, a cacophony of clacking heels and castanets punctuating the choreographed colorful swishes of fans and skirts. Everybody just looks better at Donatello. Romance is definitely in the air.

The menu has settled comfortably on a regional Italian theme and plucks inspiration from all over the country. Bruschetta topped with a tomato medley, punchy with garlic and basil, is a nice way to start the meal, as is the fantastic Caesar salad, slick with anchovies and Parmesan.

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Pastas, most of which are made in-house, are simple and straightforward, and include the tortellini Aurora, a creamy sausage-filled tortellini with ham and peas, and an excellent linguine draped in a velvety pesto sauce. This is a monster of a patty — thick and juicy with a solid sear from the flattop — sandwiched between two buns smeared with mayonnaise and topped with melted cheese, beefy tomato slices, onions, lettuce and pickle spears. The Fourth Street restaurant, a pillar in St. The clientele is a healthy mix of young and old — longtime regulars bellying up to the bar, college kids taking a break from studying or gearing up for the night ahead, families stopping in before or after a Rays game.

She and her husband Frank took over El Cap 40 years ago from his parents, who bought the bar in There are no separate checks, and no free refills on soda. Corn dog bites are exactly what they sound like, great for soaking up a beer or two, and weekly specials, including the popular chicken salad sandwich served on Mondays, offer a slight change of pace from the usual bar food staples.

All of them tout that same Key West feel, with brightly colored beach decor and an almost exclusively flip-flop-wearing crowd.

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Dishes will vary from location to location, but the streamlined list at the original features a collection of longtime standbys. The creamy she crab soup is a thick and viscous medley plump with crab morsels, similar in flavor and consistency to a West Coast chowder. Meaty grouper cheeks are battered and deep-fried on a stick, served with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Do you sit at the bar and stare at the bass holding a golf ball in his mouth beneath a garland of red hot chile pepper lanterns? Or at the taxidermied alligator? What about the boar with a badminton racket, or the suspender-wearing moose decorated with Mardi Gras be?

If it feels like the innards of this t were salvaged from around St. Owner Dan Harvey Jr. Pete restaurant inplucking items along the way from historic local hotels — the Vinoy, the now-closed Albemarle and Soreno — to add to the mishmash of decorations, which includes doors from the historic Sunshine Old fat Tampa Florida guy needs it today in St.

Pete Beach. Petersburg residents — and often, politicians — for the past 35 years. People swear by the fresh grouper sandwiches and the scallops, the latter of which can be ordered broiled, fried or sauteed in a buttery sauce with mild Cajun seasoning, served with tartar sauce and lemon.

N, St. Petersburg; ; harveys4thstreet. Some of us are introduced to the wonders of jerk chicken later in life. For Andrew Ashmeade, it was more of a lifelong calling. The Jamaican-born chef brought his ature jerk-style chicken to Tampa Bay diners inwhen the year-old started cooking out of a small kitchen in the back of a heavy metal bar on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa. He opened his first location of the Jerk Hut in on Nebraska Avenue and moved the flagship several times before settling at its current home on Fowler Avenue.

The namesake chicken boasts a smoky, spicy and almost fruity heat. For a large appetite, the escovitch snapper features a pan-fried red snapper topped with a colorful medley of sauteed onions, red peppers and carrots under a bright vinaigrette.

The restaurant on busy W Columbus Drive has been a Tampa mainstay in some shape or form sincewhen the Capdevila family opened their original grocery store across the street. The restaurant also offers a window into the life of local diners. Construction workers fresh off their shifts. Families with children. Couples on dates. A group of somethings heading into the night or winding down. Thursdays through Saturdays, the cafeteria stays open 24 hours, and at 2 a. Inthe late chef and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain stopped by La Teresita for a snack while he was in town promoting a book.

He sat at the counter and ordered roast pork with yellow rice and a side of plantains. To drink, he got a mamey batido. Glancing at the menu, Bourdain told a then- St. I really want this. Thirty years ago, people knew Lorene Office from the barbecue truck she worked on around town, popping up outside garage lots in Pinellas Park and in front of Tampa nightclubs. Things looked a lot different then, Office said. She went through bankruptcy, had to get a job on the side to keep the restaurant open. But 25 years later, her customers are still here, lining up on weekdays around noon for her garlic chicken wings; Big Boy hamburger; mussel and shrimp boils full of corn, sausage and potatoes; and fried pork chop dinners served with sides like mac and cheese, smothered cabbage and collard greens.

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Regulars swear by the fried grouper sandwich, though Office herself prefers the tilapia, battered in a light cornmeal crust. For years, she sold boiled blue crabs, but a shoulder injury forced her to stop.

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Next year, her son will help take over the business. In the corner, a table full of ladies celebrating a birthday lunch had decided on their order.

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Though the menu changes daily, a somewhat reliable roster of rotating favorites can be expected: creamy tarragon chicken salad, served on its own or sandwiched between two layers of a croissant; and the pecan flour-crusted grouper, tucked under a crumble of crunchy pecans and served alongside two sides, like snappy green beans and eggplant casserole. A day trip to this north Pasco County city is the way to go. Stroll along the historic main street, pop into the antique shops and end up at Lunch on Limoges.

What does it take to sustain a contemporary fine dining restaurant for 33 years? The duo opened their Tampa restaurant in and moved to the current location on W Kennedy Boulevard in

Old fat Tampa Florida guy needs it today

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