Restaurant Reviews

  • Restaurant Reviews’s
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grille in South Miami
  • Arrived for a late lunch with family recently, nearly empty when we got there but they trickled in while we were enjoying our stay. We were led to our table as soon as we walked in and everyone got a menu. A tray with bread plus small side dish with olive oil promptly appeared.What would you like to drink? Do you need more time? Yes. He was back again in two minutes to take our order. I decided on pork tenderloin with mashed potato. Ordered Coca-Cola while others ordered wine and sangria. Instead of re-filling my glass, he brings a new glass and takes away the half-use one, that’s new to me. Our meal order arrives in less than ten minutes, although the place was nearly empty so that may be unusual.My nephew ordered Tiramisu for dessert ( am I spelling it right?) so I did the same. This is a rich ice cream cake with a wine taste and chocolate frosting, quite delicious.
    Highly recommended.

Kenny Corner Restaurant  Redington Beach Florida

  • First published September 2014
  • Had lunch at Kenny’s Corner restaurant in Redington Shores  a few days ago. As soon as I walked in, the lady that apparently manages the place asked if I wanted a counter seat or a table, I said a table and she pointed to one. Menus are on the table by the window.A kind gracious waitress followed me to the table and asked what I wanted to drink. Coke please, and she immediately brings a glass full of ice, a straw and a can of coke. Open and pour yourself. Have you decided what you want? I’ll have a fried fish sandwich? Cod or flounder? Not having had either one, I chose flounder. Tasty choice. Would you like potato salad or cole slaw? Slaw it is.This is a welcoming down-home come as you are place, where many older folks come to. Framed drawings of pelicans on the wall, along with colored fish, palm trees and other ornaments. A big thank you sign, plus another that says ” You are entitled to my opinion” good vibes.The flouder sandwich and fixins appears in a few minutes, quite filling and delicious. Including the coke it came to just under ten. Considering it’s right on the beach with little competition, prices may be a bit high perhaps.Glass of coke still half-full when getting ready to leave, and the same waitress asks if I’d like a cup to take it with me. Yes, and she brings a cup with cap. They get an A+ in customer service.
  • Biff Burger at 3939 49th St N in St Petersburg Florid 
  • First Published August 9 2014
  • After passing this gem for years, came in for a late breakfast around ten last week. The friendliness here is real, laid-back and casual. Just walk in and sit anywhere. I sat in one of the small booths on the corner by the order and take out windows, not the main dining hall on the other side. The restaurant is on the north side, then there is an open bar in the middle, divided from the restaurant, then a barbecue place on the other side of the bar.Friendliest waitress ever, deserving of a good tip. Ordered coffee plus my usual ham omelet with home fries and rye toast, which appeared in less than five minutes. Coffee cup reloaded four times, which may be a new record. As soon as I had a couple of bites she asked, what’s the verdict? Fantastic I replied. They managed to add a spicy aftertaste to the omelet and home fries, which made it more satisfying.

 

  • First published on August 1, 2014
  • Parkside Cafe at 8200 49th Street North in Pinellas Park Florida
  • First time here around 11AM a few days ago. Stood at the door, not sure if I should just sit anywhere. A kind lady appears from the kitchen and asks if I wanted table or booth. Booth please, she leads me to one and a waitress is there asking if I wanted breakfast or lunch. Breakfast please. Would you like some coffee? Yes, which was reloaded three times.Ordered their Country Omelet with home fries and rye toast, which appeared in about five minutes. This large dish contains sausage, onions, peppers and cheese topped with gravy. Delicious and quite filling. Toast a bit dry, no biggie. Just over $9 with the coffee.Large dining hall with plenty of ornaments and large TV screen showing my favorite station, Bay News 9. High shelf along walls adorned with beer steins. Planters with overflowing vines and big brightly varnished wood fish sculpture flanked by giant spoon and giant fork. Quite pleasant friendly atmosphere.

 

 

  •  First published on July 16 2014
  • The Hangar Restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport in Downtown St Petersburg – Last week I decided to try a new restaurant in the Tampa Bay area, as I enjoy doing from time to time. The Hangar Restaurant at the old Albert Whitted Airport in Downtown St Petersburg Florida has been around for four years now, so it was long overdue that I paid a visit. It’s on the second floor of the airport administration building, open all day for breakfast, lunch or dinner.Got there at mid-morning, so only two tables occupied. A sign said we will be right with you when you get to the second floor, then I noticed people just came in and grabbed any table they wanted. I sat by the panoramic glass window overlooking the flight line, but there is an open balcony beyond that for those desiring outdoor dining.One wall is covered with photos describing the history of National Airlines, which was born at this airport in the 1930s and merged with Pan Am in the 80’s. There is a small home-built airplane hanging from the ceiling and the tail section of a small Cessna in a corner of the ceiling. The menu has aviation-themed names on all items. Two large pancakes for six bucks, then rises from there.  The dinner for two plus chopper ride for over a hundred is the top offer. A unique place where the cheerful kind waitress calls you hon when reloading you cup. A separate bar also available. A big thumbs-up.

 

  • Published on June 15th 2014
  • The Busy Bee at 4900 Park Boulevard in St Petersburg Florida
  • Came in for a late breakfast two days ago. No pretense whatsoever, come as you are and sit wherever. As soon as i sit, the swift waitress brings menu and what would you like to drink? Coffee please.The ham omelet plate arrives in less than five minutes. With home fries plus rye toast and jelly for about five and a half, quite reasonable. Coffee cup reloaded three times. Steady crowd moved through while I was there, tables cleaned quickly. Tiny rest room quite clean. Pay the friendly cashier at the counter at this welcoming family diner. Parking lot behind building, not on 49th Street.

Tyrone Restaurant at 7815 38th Ave N in St Petersburg FL

  • Published on April 24th 2014
  • Dropped in yesterday about lunchtime, nearly half full. The counter is directly in front of you as you walk in. A waitress-cashier was talking to a customer seated along the counter, but told me to sit anywhere.Picked one of the three tables to the left of the counter, she quickly comes over and asks what to drink, coffee please. Would you like the breakfast or the lunch menu? Breakfast. A minute later she returns, do you need a minute? I’ll have a ham omelet with home fries and rye toast, $5.50 on the menu.Another waitress brings my order in less than five minutes, a large omelet and chunky potato cubes that was quite filling. Coffee reloaded twice, once more would have been nice but not complaining after checking the bill and noticing 39 cents for coffee. Senior citizen discount?
  • Many older faithful customers it appears. Walls adorned with historic pictures of nautical themes. Did not sit at the larger dining hall on the right side. A pleasant family diner where everyone feels welcome, enjoyed it. Originally published April 24, 2014.

 

  • New York Bagel & Deli 6590 Collins Avenue Miami Beach

First time here over the Thanksgiving weekend as I wandered down Collins Avenue. It’s set off from the street in a little strip mall, so easy to miss. Two tables outside and high-density seating inside this small place. The set-up is like an old-fashioned shop, with walls full of whimsical advertising.

Extensive menu on wall behind tall counter was confusing at first, good thing the pleasant young African-American lady there took my order, an everything bagel with cream cheese. Pay at end of counter to man who runs the place.

A pleasant neighborhood spot where former New Yorkers and locals chat and read the paper. In front of the counter is bread chopped in small pieces plus spreads, which people can munch on while awaiting their order, a unique feature that makes people feel at home.

  • El Tenampa at 1800 16th Street North in St Petersburg

Did brunch here this morning December 14th 2013, breakfast is served all day apparently. This is a Mex-American blend menu. Long breakfast menu is nearly all typical American, then at the bottom they list Mexican Breakfast # one, two and three (uno, dos y tres) .

Might go Mexican next time, but today went with my usual ham omelet with home fries and rye toast plus coffee. Generous size and done just right at $7.49 before tip. Two American waitresses, recognized mine from the late St Pete Diner, pleasant lady reloaded my cup twice.

Their decor is definitely different, with colorful Mexican sombreros hanging on one wall, while a wall-sized painting depicting a matador waving his red cape at a bull  on another side. Statues of Native Americans scattered around.  Plastic fruit clusters hang from the ceiling, and vintage light fixtures also hanging.

TV on Fox News 13, good choice. Large dining area with central group tables and booth tables along two walls. Cashier by front door with business card rack. Newspaper available to all. Good food and good service with a unique personality.

  • Gulfport Cafe at 5808 28th Avenue S in Gulfport Florida

Got there late morning today December 13th 2013 and did a pancake brunch. An older couple was walking out so held the door for them, and two young guys were at a table. First time here, so asked the kind waitress where to sit and she said anywhere.

Good thing I ordered only two pancakes, they are gigantic. Sausage on the side plus coffee completed the order that came to $7.12 before tip. About ten minutes later the order arrives, done just right. She asked twice how I was doing and if I wanted more coffee, fantastic service.

It’s a compact space so small tables with two chairs each, yet enough room to get around. Front row view of the park fountain across the street. Walls covered with vintage Florida pictures plus Christmas décor. Colorful Florida map on the paper tabletop covers. Soft rock oldies playing. A casual down-to-earth place.

A few blocks away from the Gulfport waterfront, but well worth visiting.

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill at 780 4th St N in St Petersburg FL

First Chipotle ever, so may be biased or inconclusive. Just wanted to experience the ambiance and wasn’t that hungry yet, so just ordered the chips and salsa plus a small drink. The attendant sent me to the cashier at the head of the line to get it from her. You get some chips in a too-big bag, then a tiny container of tomato bits. Felt like where’s the salsa.

Chips a bit salty, and load your own drink just like lowly fast food. All their entries are over six bucks, in a Subway-type assembly line where you choose what to add. Their featured item is the burrito bowl at $6.29, may try that someday.

Bare metal motif throughout, such as all walls up to waist-high, the tabletops and the waste-can holders. Huge bare metal tubes above hold the AC vents. Metal pipes painted burgundy just below the ceiling. Rustic wood chairs and tables. Whimsical wood and bare metal art pieces adorn the walls. The decor gives the place a warehouse look, not sure what it’s supposed to invoke if anything.

Loud rap rock music annoying, but there’s outdoor seating. For a place that calls itself a Mexican Grill, it’s devoid of Hispanic-ness. Detected one or two that might be Hispanic. I’ve tried to find relevance here, but can’t. Could have enjoyed a real lunch at Taco Bell for less money.

  • Good Fortune Buffet at 1018 58th St N in St Petersburg FL

Dropped in for lunch today November 25th 2013 after being long gone, nothing has changed. Don’t remember the artesian gargantuan central fountain with that soothing babbling sound, so maybe that’s a change. The lingering attitude problem has not changed unfortunately, as you are greeted by the ice queen who doubles as cashier on your departure. Don’t expect a thank you here. Maybe the standoffish-ness comes from too many guys coming on to their girls, or they have been the sole Chinese buffet on the Tyrone area for so long.

Large seating areas on either side of extensive buffet. Their rice with vegetables is good, so is potato, sweet potato slices, plantains, egg drop soup and egg rolls. Their food is just right and tasty. Did not do dessert or salad. $ 7.49.

My glass of water was not refilled, used plates removed quickly. Waitress forgot to bring my bill, so headed to cashier without it but not before leaving a tip. When I approach cashier she speaks to waitress in Chinese, who almost runs over with my bill. Detect a reluctance to speak our language, and TV programming in their language only.  Glad tuhe Teppanyaki Grill on 34th is now offering some competition.ne

Update – Good Fortune Buffet is now Closed

 

  • Teppanyaki Grill at 391 34th Street North in St Petersburg, FL

Dropped in for the lunch buffet around one today, October 16th 2013. Although the exterior of this old Social Security Admin building looks the same, the interior has been completely redone. Quite impressive is the huge chandelier plus the fountain surrounded by plants near the entrance. You first enter a foyer lined with little vending machines, too many actually. Then you enter a second door that faces the reception area.

A lot of tables on either side of the huge buffet area, I wonder if they are ever filled to capacity. Padded seats along the wall. The sushi bar is in the rear by the restrooms. So much food to choose from, it takes time to decide what to pick. Did not try any salad or dessert. The fried fish, plantains, and fried rice are quite good, and kept at the right temperature. Crab rangoon, pepper chicken, meat pie, chicken kabob, potatoes all quite tasty. Garlic toast too hard, not good.

Oriental art on the walls, American music for a while, then it seemed to change to another language since I could not understand the singing. Amazingly efficient service, as plates picked up quickly and tables wiped immediately as people leave. Constant tending of the food containers. My glass of water was not refilled. You pay server and she brings your change back. She took her tip off the table even before I left, that’s a new one.  Plenty of parking. One TV facing one side of dining hall, another facing reception area, don’t know why.

  • Golden Corral Buffet and Grill at 10050 Ulmerton Road in Largo, FL

Stepped in for the first time today September 29th 2013 around one, having no idea what the Sunday price was. Long wheelchair ramps welcome the handicapped, good idea. Your drink is included in the buffet price in this gigantic smorgasbord place. Long row of several buffet partitions, each with a distinctive name such as Hacienda for the Mexican food, green something for the salad bar, and there is oriental food, a pizza and pasta bar, a dessert section, plus a meat bar. Above each food item is a sticker telling you it’s name, quite helpful.

High-density seating area with at least three glass partitions. Within each area are wood tables and chairs, plus tables with cushioned seats along the sides of each partition. Artsy drawings on posters depicting food items adorn the walls. Stacks of dishes and tableware near the cashier and on back wall by restrooms. Several cleaners and servers constantly at work, friendly and helpful. Manager said hello.

The place was nearly full and the continual coming-and-going went on for the hour I was there. Chose several food items, and all were quite tasty. Their Oriental rice and fried fish plus little egg rolls are tops. Still, I was floored at paying over $12. They have a 6.99 senior special 11-4 weekdays, and the breakfast buffet at 7.99 including drink is not outlandish. Many families and seniors this Sunday. They are definitely doing something right if this was a typical lunch day.

  • Central Deli at 660 Central Avenue Downtown St Petersburg

Walked in for a cup of coffee to go, $1.59 for a pretty good size cup is less than Starbucks. Convenience store by front door where friendly cashier is, rear is a small diner with a few tables in front of kitchen. Right by several eclectic little shops and eateries along Central. Sidewalk sign out front advertises two buck breakfast special, may try that next time. Also serve lunch menu such as pizza and sandwiches.

  • Steam at 7410 Gulf Blvd in St Pete Beach FL
Was there this morning September 13th 2013,  completely unfamiliar with the complete makeover since the previous tenant. It’s bar on one side and restaurant on the other. Came in on the bar side expecting a coffee shop, and as it turns out it’s both. Ordered a decaf, and the gracious bartender served a big cup quickly plus brought a little tin cup full of cream and a little stack of sugar packets in a tiny tray. Another waiter arrives and asks if I had ordered. Before serving, he asked where I wanted to sit, so I said I would sit on one of the tables outside. He offered to carry my cup outside, so gets a medal for service. When I got the cup, I decided to sit on one of their luxurious plush seats indoors and watch one of their two TVs.

The plush seat is surrounded by plush chairs and has a small table along the wall. Small ceiling fans whirring above. Wood paneling all around the bar, which apparently is a popular meeting place for office workers and laptoppers. You can order your food at the bar and eat on the counter with your drink if you wish.

Art inside the restroom, impressive. May try the restaurant side next time, which has it’s own entrance. A great place to sink into comfortable surroundings and de-stress while sipping your favorite drink and listen to pleasant music or watch ESPN.

  • Bruegger’s Bagels at 501 E Kennedy Blvd Tampa

Had never seen this name before as I got off the bus along the Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa yesterday morning, October 22 2013. They are right on the corner with a handicap ramp. This is the Subway assembly line adapted to breakfast bagels served all day.

A pleasant order-taker and preparer was patient with me as I scrutinized the menu,  settling for a ham and swiss cheese garlic bagel. These are $3.99 no matter what you load them with. Served in a small basket, wrapped and sliced in half. Came to $6.18 with a small decaf. The coffee condiment station is a Starbucks clone, with jugs of milk including skim. Among lunch items offered are soups, salads and wraps.

There are several plush seats behind a divider along the order area, offering a panoramic view of the downtown ambiance, plus three outdoor tables with seats. No parking here, pedestrians only. Another attendant wished me a nice day as I was leaving, an always appreciated customer service plus

  • Moxie’s on Tampa Street in Downtown Tampa

My first visit to Moxie’s was mid-morning yesterday. The breakfast rush was over, as there were two other people there. Apparently a lot of downtown office people phone in their order for later pickup. Order and pay at the counter when you come in, then you are given a number to slip on a holder on your table. The cashier/order-taker that appears to be in charge is so friendly to all, asking how my day is going and telling me about the weather

A friendly waitress brought my Cuban breakfast in about five minutes. This is a long pressed flatbread with cheese, quite tasty. Should have ordered ham with it. Before that, another kind waitress had brought my coffee in a gigantic cup so heavy it was a chore to hold. This cup is as big as a soup bowl, definitely not for children as I envision a spilling mess.

Front TV screen on one side, another screen alongside displaying local and Moxie’s ads. Another TV screen in rear dining area. Coffee condiment stand to your left as you come in, resembling Starbucks. They are definitely doing something right here, an all-are-welcome atmosphere.

  • Seminole Family Steak and Seafood at 6864 Seminole Blvd

It suddenly hits you as you approach the door, that feeling of emptiness as you walk into a deserted restaurant. Not a soul here this morning about eight-thirty. Did I miss the breakfast rush or it never happened? Still empty when I leave at nine. The waitress attendant and presumed owner hovered over me every five minutes, understandable since she had nothing else to do, the sweet lady.

Ordered a ham omelet with home fries and rye toast, which arrived a few minutes later. Before that I was served a cup of lukewarm coffee, no wonder no smoke billowing from the cup. Four reloads of the same lukewarm coffee, the third one being just a tad warmer. Panoramic street view on one side or watch TV.

Their version of home fries is new to me, round fried potato slices difficult to cut with a fork. The omelet was thankfully just right, and she brought me a tiny tray with butter and jelly for my toast. Neat country-style decor, the place also doubles as a bar on the opposite side of the central cashier counter.

They serve a breakfast buffet on weekends plus a soup and salad buffet for lunch, hope that brings somebody in. For over eight bucks before tip, three stars seems generous. Wonder why Mama’s Kitchen down the road is so crowded.6864

  • Spring Garden Restaurant at 1018 62nd Av N in
  • St Petersburg

Got there about nine this morning, only a few people there so the breakfast rush was apparently over. A favorite with the mature crowd, of which I’m one so felt at home. When walking in the cashier lady was gabbing with a customer and did not acknowledge me. Someone farther back said sit anywhere, so sat behind the cashier counter. Almost five minutes later the gabby cashier said to a waitress, “you have somebody here.” Awkward.

Things improved quite a bit, as someone brought me coffee quickly. Ordered my usual ham omelet with home fries and rye toast. The same mature waitress reloaded my cup four times, plus brought me a sizable omelet. As she was putting the toast on my table she accidentally dropped a piece of toast, so brought me more. More people arrived as time wore on. At $7.49 before tip it was reasonable.

Lots of plant decor, artificial or otherwise, hanging from shelves. Several pumpkins and sunflowers. All that plus huge floor planters with plants almost reaching the ceiling definitely captures that garden feeling. Constant cleaning of empty tables and clean bathroom, so good service here makes up for the slow intro.

  • Banyan Coffee Company at 689 MLK St North in St Pete

Walked in about nine this morning September 26th 2013, my first visit to this distinctive little restaurant/coffee shop. Read the menu, order and pay at the front counter when you come in. Breakfast menu limited to three items, from which I ordered a cup of decaf and their breakfast burrito with spinach and bacon. This big fat burrito comes in a tray, cut in half and with drops of hot sauce around it. It was quite tasty and filling.

The friendly smiling cashier said my coffee was back in a table waiting for me along with silverware, and asked where I wanted to sit. I said the single table by the door, and she brought me breakfast less than five minutes later. Quite good service considering the place was packed, which the small dining area with high-densite seating magnifies.

They also have scones and turnovers at the front display, which you can order with coffee and enjoy at one of several outdoor tables. No coffee reloading here. Many people continued coming in, some for take-out orders.

They have two large wall murals depicting Cuba, don’t know what the Cuba connection is. More art pieces adorn the place. Servers and customers are mostly a young friendly crowd. There is a wood display counter with reading materials by the door, encouraging people to linger. Above the door there’s a big star-shaped light fixture with the bulbs inside it, another unique feature. My bill came to just over $10, but I enjoyed the experience. Golden oldies music playing over much conversation, They have a winning formula here.

  • Central Coffee Shop at 530 Central Avenue Downtown St Pete

Finally walked into this delightful retro gem on September 16th 2013 after living here for years. This is The Place for Marylin Monroe fans, as the walls are covered with her. Also a Gone With The Wind poster and a drawing of James Dean. Two TV’s, with specials listed on a board below the rear TV and next to restroom door. Square tables with four chairs in the middle and with two chairs along the walls. The cashier is by the front door, then a long counter with circular seats retro-diner style. Monroe’s nude portrait is quite impressive.

The young waitress said to sit anywhere, then appears at my seat in less than a minute asking what I wanted to drink. Ordered coffee, which appears in less than a minute and was then kept reloaded every two or three minutes. May be a new speed record, considering another four or so tables were occupied. The owner, who I assume is her father, also came by serving coffee and let me know I could pay up front anytime. They get a medal for warm friendly service.

Ordered ham omelet with home fries and rye toast, which arrived in less than five minutes and was just right. Menus, creamers, jelly cubes, ketchup plus salt and pepper all kept at your table. Golden oldies playing on the radio. Appreciate the uniqueness of the place, which complements the art and antiques venues along Central Avenue.

  • Mama’s Kitchen 5885 Seminole Blvd in Seminole FL

First time at Mama’s, arriving at 10 this morning. Full house, give your name and wait in line. Constant coming and going of the after-church brunch bunch. I’m seated about 20 minutes later, a comfortable booth along the wall. A waitress appears with the menu less than five minutes later asking what to drink, coffee please. The cup appears a minute later, and was refilled three times by two people.

Constant chatter was deafening in a good way. Ham omelet and fixins appear in less than five minutes in this capacity crowd, impressive. Their two Hispanic helpers clear,clean and re-arrange a table in 60 seconds, masterful. The four TV screens don’t show TV, only a loop of local merchant ads. Two dining halls separated by the cashier counter facing the entrance door, plus small outdoor dining area with five tables.

On the wall behind the cashier is a hanging burlap bag that says terrorist body bag, with pictures of Osama and Saddam crossed out in red. An American flag plus photos of what I assume are military family members. The most patriotic display I’ve ever seen in a restaurant, applause. Several wall paintings of tropical scenes plus other artwork. Upon leaving there was an even bigger crowd waiting, I assume other days are different. Generous portions and fantastic service during the rush, they deserve top honors.

  •  Dairy Inn 1200 MLK Street North, St Petersburg FL

This welcoming Old Florida gem is always a pleasant stop, no matter how you get here. Bicycle rack at the corner. A happy bubbly cashier took my order yesterday November 2nd 2013, a bagel with cream cheese for about two bucks. Order on the left side, pick up order on the right.

Hadn’t been here in a while, prices have changed. The 99 cent large fountain drink is apparently gone forever, but you get free refills with any drink. A hot dog at 1.79 is still a bargain. A nice neighborhood to enjoy outdoor dining, just a few blocks from Crescent Lake Park.

  • Golden Wok Chinese Buffet at 1410 N Missouri Avenue in Clearwater FL

Did the lunch buffet this afternoon on October 7th 2013. The cashier is squarely in front of you as you enter, and she immediately asked if I was alone, then led me to one of the comfortable padded seats along the wall. A waitress was right behind me and asked what I wanted to drink. Just water, thank you, which was refilled.

Did not try the sushi or salad bar or dessert, as I got too stuffed with their delicious General Tso Chicken, vegetable rice and sliced potato. The egg drop soup is quite good. They also have a white-greenish pizza. Their string noodles have no taste. They have oriental artwork on the walls, including a gigantic Chinese fan fully opened. A rooster sculpture sits above the sushi bar.

Several people of all ages were there, and kept coming and going while I dined, seems like the go-to place along Missouri Avenue. It’s so easy to overeat here, so don’t come too often. The place is not overly fancy, and at 6.99 it’s the typical Chinese buffet price these days. They bring your check to your table, then pay the cashier when leaving.

 

  • Bob Evans Restaurant in Tyrone

Still packing them in after all these years, and I not surprised. Did the Sunday church crowd breakfast after leaving church this morning October 20th. Was lucky to get in ahead of a wave so was seated immediately. Constant coming and going, yet only waited a few minutes for four buttermilk pancakes.

A cup of coffee with a container of  cream alongside were served quickly after I ordered. They leave a jar of coffee at your table for self-reloading. At $4.99 for the pancakes it was reasonable, although it was about the lowest price on the menu.

My pleasant waitress asked if all was well about midway, then wished me a nice day upon leaving. They get a medal for five-star service. It was nice to see several servers of all ages, including a few within retirement age.

Bob Evans is an American success story and deservedly so, an enjoyable experience.

 

  • Emily’s Downtown Family Restaurant  101 South Garden Avenue    Clearwater Florida
Had a late brunch here August 9th. Gracious hospitality even during the busy lunch rush. As soon as I sat in one of the few empty seats by the glass wall, a kind young man rushed over and asked what I wanted to drink. A minute later a gracious waitress asks the same question, then gave me a menu. When she brings a cup of coffee a minute later, I ordered a ham omelet with home fries and toast.

This is an old-style diner with a long counter where several people can sit, plus tables along the glass windows on two sides forming the corner and both small and long tables in the middle. Small and large works of art adorn the walls, such as framed pictures of apples or chickens. Several older waitresses are constantly attending everyone and saying kind words, making everyone feel welcome and at home.

Bill came to $7.49 including tax. Directly across from the Downtown Clearwater bus depot. Outstanding service with a smile.

 

 

  •  Kahwa Coffee Shop 475 Second Street North, Downtown St Petersburg

Finally stopped at this coffee shop on July 30th 2013 after passing by often, and glad I did. Walk up to the counter, and one of two pleasant waitress-cashiers is busy getting coffee for another customer yet says “I’ll be right with you” Good vibe. Ordered just a small decaf, and got it quickly. Right on the counter in front of you they have a bottle of skim milk and a bottle of creamer, plus open containers of cinnamon, nutmeg and something else. You get a spoon to mix it all in.

There are several small wood tables inside, either with one or with two chairs. Sat there for a long time doing a newspaper crossword while sipping, yet always felt at home and welcomed. There is a small couch on one corner, big enough for two. Next to it is a vertical wall shelf with brochures. They hide their trash can so well I had to ask where it was. At $2.44 with tax for a small cup, it’s bit high considering I got a bigger cup at Starbucks for $1.77. I get the support a local business instead of a national chain effort. Still, the place was busy for a late morning, with a few people on their laptops. The outdoor seating stays in the shade during the morning hours, may sit there next time.
Quite pleasant and easy-going place.

 

  •  K Hibachi Buffet 4900 Park Boulevard Pinellas Park, FL

Did lunch here today July 13th 2013. Quite impressed with their service. You wait to be seated, then the gracious host asks if you want a table or booth. Friendly waitresses reloading glasses of water and removing used dishes immediately.

Fried chicken strips were a bit tough to cut with a fork, General Tso’s Chicken was better. Delicious fish, it said salmon on the sign but had a different taste. Also tried a fried fish with breaded covering, not sure what fish, that was over-fried a bit but still tasted OK. Their vegetable fried rice, plus potatoes, were quite good, as well as egg roll and crab Rangoon. Tasty tapioca pudding. Several more items and salad bar that I did not try.

Beautifully decorated walls and ceiling, will illuminated artwork. Seating sections partitioned by short decorative walls. A soothing piano music played continuously.
A good deal at 7.49

 

  •  First Watch 520 Tampa Street, Tampa Florida 33602

First time at this Downtown Tampa restaurant on June 28/13 , and quite impressed with their service. Ordered two banana nut pancakes on a weekday brunch. Had no idea they would be so big and filling, keeping me sated until late evening. The kind attentive waitress brought a cup of coffee right away, plus a metal container with hot coffee. Had never seen this before, letting me reload my cup whenever I wanted. The pancakes were brought to my table by a kind waiter. Upon leaving, another waiter holds the door open for me and wishes me a good day. They get a medal for above-and-beyond customer service. I can see why it’s a popular place with downtown office workers.

  • Starbucks on Tyrone Boulevard by the Mall. St Petersburg Florida

Was there yesterday around noon April 17th 2013 , several people inside and outside seated, mostly on their laptops. Was immediately catered to by a kind attendant. Four plush padded seats facing each other, separated by a table. Several outside seats arranged in twins around small tables, some with umbrellas. Pleasant music playing as always, in a pleasant place to relax and unwind from stress.

  •   Starbucks 6575 Central Avenue, St Petersburg Florida

Was there late this morning April one/2013, parking lot nearly full. Cozy interior with huge mural photos of Colombian coffee growers I assume. Three big plush stand-alone seats, plus padded seats and tables for the laptop folks. Drive-up window busy, yet I was immediately attended to and got my cup in about two minutes. Sat on one of the big seats for a long time, listening to mellow music unknown to me while sipping and admiring the wall photos. All the outdoor seating was full, perhaps they need more. Quite a pleasant place.

 

  • K. C.’s Korner Restaurant 401 49th Street South – St Petersburg Florida

Got there mid-morning today March 18/13, the early rush was over. Two tables were full, each with three people. The family in one of the tables had just walked in ahead of me, so they were being attended to first. Still, I was immediately welcomed, and in a couple of minutes a friendly lady brought the breakfast menu and asked if I wanted coffee. A cup appeared a few moments later, and was kept full throughout my visit. Radio playing golden oldies from the 70s, my kind of music. The ham omelet with home fries and toast arrive a few minutes later, worth waiting for. Done just right and kept me filled for hours. A friendly family restaurant where you feel welcome and appreciated, just north of Gulfport.

  • Starbucks Coffee Shop – 900 4th Street North, St Petersburg Florida

Was there about noon today March 15, 2013. Have no car, so their small eternally-packed parking lot does not affect me. Ideal bike-ride stop north of Downtown St Pete, at busy intersection of two bus routes. Immediate friendly service as soon as I walked in. Comfy window seating to quietly unwind with a cup while watching the world go by. Several outdoor tables with umbrellas right on the corner, a very pleasant place to read or do the laptop.

 

  • Po Folks – 2004 34th Street North, St Petersburg Florida

Had not been here in a while, but today March 7th came during the busy lunch hour and tried their fried shrimp. The shrimp was quite good with their tartar sauce. You get a choice of either fries or slaw, and I got a generous amount of tasty fries. Ordered coffee, so the gracious waitress said they were brewing some, so a cup would appear shortly. Went through the meal and and got the check, then it dawns on her I didn’t get the coffee, yet she quickly fetched it during this hyper-busy time. The place was just about full, all hands on deck, so didn’t mind the wait. All hands came out to sing happy birthday to someone, a special touch I’ve never seen anywhere. I was quite satisfied after two cups of coffee and an invitation to take another one with me. All this for about six bucks, and the best service in town.

  • Kristina’s Cafe- 3600 34th Street North, St Petersburg Florida
  • Was there this morning March 4th, the place was packed and I’m not surprised. Warm gracious service, got a generous ham omelet with home fries and rye toast. Constant coffee reloading topped off a pleasant breakfast. Great way to start the week.
  • McDonald’s-by-the-sea Clearwater Beach Florida
  • Recently took the long bus ride to Downtown Clearwater Florida, even in the same county, it’s a long ride.

My favorite public library is there, with a panoramic view of Clearwater Beach by the third floor computers.

Later took the bus to Clearwater Beach. After strolling through the vendors at Pier 60, walked farther south and spotted a small McDonald’s sign. The over-friendly cashier got the order wrong but oh well.

Sat at an outdoor table watching the sand dunes and beach across the street. Waterfront dining for the common folk.

Denny’s at 5000 34th Street North St Petersburg FL

Showed up around 11 for brunch, few people there. Walked in and stood in front of empty counter waiting to be greeted, as moments turned to over a minute a guy walking out said they were all on break as he smiled past. Just then a reserved waitress appears and leads me to a booth with a panoramic street view facing west, then hands me two menus.

Seconds later a friendly waitress with a charming accent named Rachel appears, tells me what they have to drink. Coffee, please, which was reloaded twice. When she reappears about two minutes later I ask for the senior menu I had seen at another Denny’s, she points out it’s on the last page, silly me.

Ordered the breakfast with eggs and cheese, which includes two scrambled eggs with cheese plus four sausage links and two gigantic pancakes. This combo appeared about five minutes later and kept me stuffed for hours. She twice more came by asking if everything was all right, I’m giving her an A+ on customer service.

Restroom was clean and well-stocked. Sadly that panoramic street view was marred by dirty and fingerprinted glass inside and out, somebody PLEASE clean it. This was the low point on an otherwise pleasant visit.

Park Street Diner at 8200 49th Street North in Pinellas Park FL

Another unassuming gem that I passed by for years, but recently as I was walking toward a packed Steak and Shake across the street I had second thoughts. Walked back to the Pinellas Trail pedestrian bridge, crossed and went in. Although the square footage is about the same as a big house, the place will grow on you with gracious hospitality.

Friendly waitress tells me to sit at any empty spot, so landed at rear table with panoramic view of Park Street. Menus already at the table along with all condiments, great time saver. What would you like to drink, coffee please. A huge cup appears in seconds. Do you need a minute? Yes please. Never been so let’s observe the menu.

Opted for the fish plate at $6.95, three breaded fish fillets and tartar sauce plus plenty of fries, cole slaw and two garlic bread slices. Kept me full for several hours. One refill on that huge cup was plenty coffee.

Not packed when I arrived early afternoon but coming and going steady. Split wood ceiling for that country barn look. Seats along counter plus tables in center and along windows. Subdued ornaments along wall shelf.  Two small TVs useless from rear tables. Outdoor seating.

My waitress asked four times if I all was well, a new record for outstanding customer service.  Will return for breakfast soon.

Krispy Krunchy Chicken at 364 First Avenue North in Downtown St Pete

The place for downtown chicken lunch, first time here recently. Three dark pieces of chicken and butter biscuit plus side and drink for $6.99 filled me well. Only one size drink is same as medium at Mickie D. Delicious rice and red beans, and they also have jambalaya, fried okra, corn on the cob and fries. Big breast and thigh plus drumstick in tasty krispy covering. Cajun fish also available.

Cashier there as I walked in, got my order in less than five minutes. One other customer when I walked in, then a take-out customer after that. Narrow hallway as you walk in, with bottled drinks cooler on one side. About six tables along window wall offers view of Williams Park across street.

Several chicken choices here at prices slightly less than KFC, well worth it. Unknown breakfast menu