We know that NBA games will be held at Amalie Arena. But will you be able to buy a ticket? That’s been the curiosity for weeks since the Toronto Raptors announced they’ll be playing here in Florida during the first half of their NBA season. At this point we don’t know if games will even be televised here in the Tampa area. But we now have some indication that at least some fans may be allowed in to watch. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Raptors President Masai Ujiri had a meeting Saturday to explore the possibility of letting fans come in and how many tickets would be put up for sale.
No decision was announced, but it sounds like the NBA is at least considering the idea to let fans fill some of the seats at Amalie when basketball comes to Tampa. At this point the plan is to host just the first half of the Raptors season – 17 games plus 1 preseason match up.
Over in Orlando, the Magic will let fans in according to various reports. The Times article says with the Magic being so nearby, it does complicate things a bit as to allowing games to be shown on TV here in the Tampa area. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
#GenoAteTampa: Geno’s pizza tour of Tampa Bay
Let me show you around Detroit, New York City and Chicago… without leaving Hillsborough and Pinellas County.
The newest addition to my list is a close runner up to my favorite pizza in Florida. The crust has a perfect texture. The sauce is out of this world. The cheese has the perfect level of saltiness. I don't get to Bradenton often but every time I go, this tiny intimate Italian restaurant will be a new stop for me. The penne pasta was excellent but the pizza was insanely good.
This place is rated best by many Tampa pizza lovers. I like it. It's better than Tampa's other favorite Eddie & Sam's (which I find blatantly average at best). It's in a quiet neighborhood so you have to seek it out. It's close to the 275/I-4 merge on Central. If you're in that part of town, it's a solid choice. Not my favorite in Florida, but in the Top 10 for Tampa area for sure.
I unfortunately discovered this place just as I was moving away from the Brandon area. Not the top of my list, but far from the bottom. Nothing fancy. Just good pizza from a local mom and pop shop. I love those.
This was one of my first great pizzas I discovered when I moved to Florida. Pizza lovers argue about New York vs. Chicago style pizza. Cappy's has both. Their NY style is good, but the Chicago version is excellent. They also have other locations, including one in St. Pete I've tried a few times. But the Riverview restaurant seems to do it best. It's definitely not an everyday pizza. Deep dish pizza is an event or an occasion. You will not leave hungry.
I know many who swear by Paul's being the best around. I'm not as much of a fan. I think Cappy's does deep dish way better. However their deep dish isn't bad at all. Call way ahead because deep dish takes a while to make. Paul's loyalists will tell you the REAL Chicago style pizza is the super thin crunch crust. I'm not a fan. I like chewy.
There are plenty of pizza spots in Ybor City. There's one on a side street off 7th that I can't remember the name of at the moment. But it's frustrating because depending on who's working, some nights it's awesome and some nights their pizza is terrible. But Due Amici is pretty consistent. The game changer for me was when I tried their Sicilian style.
I honestly had no idea Detroit had their own style of pizza until I discovered Pizza Squared near Busch Gardens in Tampa.
I am sad to report that Pizza Squared is no longer with us. They started going downhill and eventually went out of business about 3 years ago. They had fantastic wings too. It was my Super Bowl go to spot for years.
Listeners insisted I try this place. It's good pizza, but not great. Thing is in Florida, we have so little great pizza that places like this tend to stand out. It's not a bad pizza, just not great... nothing special to make it unique.
This place on 49th is a local favorite, but really just ok to me. But I felt I should include it since so many have told me it's their favorite. To me it's not really all that flavorful. It's thin and light. I'm a fat guy. I like something hearty.
Its in St. Pete but no hipsters it's not a place you just never noticed downtown St. Pete. It's not downtown at all. It's hidden in a cruddy strip mall on 62nd Ave. I had the chicken parm dozens of times before I finally tried their pizza. I shouldn't have waited so long. Their chicken parm is top notch but the pizza is very good.
I'll never forget when I first heard that Grimaldi's, a legendary pizza spot in NYC and New Jersey, had chosen Florida for its first franchise locations. For a few years, there was none better for me.
I normally am not a chain pizza person, but they captured the magic of the pizza from Grimaldi's locations in NYC at their Florida locations.
So is that it? Is Grimaldi's is my #1 pick? Nope! Grimaldi's style of pizza, coal oven, was eclipsed when listeners insisted I try a similar pie in Clearwater and I never looked back.
I saved the best for last. I won't even let you argue. I've lived from Maine to California. There's no better pizza in the Tampa area than Cristino's. There's not a lot of parking. It's a pain for most who live in Tampa Bay to get to. But you get rewarded with that first bite.
Cristino's, I love you. You make national lists for a reason. You're a pain in the butt to drive to but that's probably for the best. Otherwise I'd be there weekly. And I'm fat enough.
The first time I had pizza at Cristino's was right before a New York City trip. The pizza was so good that I didn't even seek out pizza when I was in NYC. That's a crime. You can not go to New York City and not have pizza. It's just wrong. But Cristino's is that good.
To get the best experience at Cristino's, go with the basic and just tell them you want TheMargherita with extra sauce. It does have cheese, but like most elite pizza spots, they know to put the cheese below the sauce. This tends to weird out many amateur pizza eaters. But trust me. It's the way pizza is supposed to be done.
Big Events at Amalie Arena Over the Years
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: Thousands of fans that couldn't get tickets, cheer as theTampa Bay Lightning score against the Calgary Flames from outside the St Pete Times Forum in game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 24: Volunteers Michael Goucher and Janice Overton stage recently inflated balloons that will be dropped from the ceiling during the Republican National Convention as preparations continue at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The Republican convention is scheduled to begin August 27, although Tropical Storm Isaac is threatening possible disruptions due to its proximity to the Florida peninsula. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: Ben Clymer #7 of the Tampa Bay Lightning pours champagne over the head of Vincent Lecavalier #4 in the locker room after defeating the Calgary Flames in game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning won the Stanley cup by defeating the Flames 2-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses with professional wrestler Hulk Hogan and daughter Brooke after defeating the Calgary Flames 2-1 to win game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
TAMPA - JUNE 2: Karch Kiraly returns a volley during the AVP Crocs Tour Esurance Tampa Bay Open on June 2, 2007 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 29: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) takes the stage during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JULY 12: The city of Tampa's downtown skyline is seen on July 12, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Tampa will play host the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30 where the party is expected to officially nominate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as their nominee to face President Barack Obama in November in the general election. The convention will host 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories as well as scores of journalists, guests and protesters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 08: The Tennessee Lady Volunteers celebrate with the trophy after their 64-48 win against the Stanford Cardinal during the National Championsip Game of the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four at St. Pete Times Forum April 8, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 9: Overhead view during a face-off in the NHL game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Atlanta Thrashers at the St. Petersburg Times Forum on January 9, 2003 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images/NHLI)
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: The Tampa Bay Lightning fans cheer their team on before the start of game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Calgary Flames on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Winky Wright (50 - 3 - 1) defeats Ike Quartey (37 - 3 - 1) at the St. Pete Times Forum Dec. 2, 2006 in Tampa. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 06: Signage is seen on the outside of the area prior to the UCONN Huskies against the Stanford Cardinal during their National Semifinal Game of the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four at St. Pete Times Forum April 6, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney joins his wife, Ann Romney on stage during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: Martin Cibak #8 and John Grahame #47 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate with cigars while Grahame readies to pop the cork on a bottle of chilled Totts champagne in the locker room after the victory over the Calgary Flames in Game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning defeated the Flames 2-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JUNE 7: (L-R) Martin Cibak #8 John Grahame #47 and Stan Neckar #2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate with the Stanley Cup in the locker room after defeating the Calgary Flames in game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning won the Stanley cup by defeating the Flames 2-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 27: A general view of people on the arena floor at the start of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene today, but will hold its first full session tomorrow after being delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 9: Exterior view of the St. Petersburg Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 9, 2003 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images/NHLI)
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 11: The veiw from above as the North Carolina State Wolfpack tip-off against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship on March 11, 2007 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. North Carolina defeated North Carolina State 89-80. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)