Geno

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It’ll be the first of its kind in Tampa Bay. While there ARE P.F. Chang’s locations in Clearwater, Tampa and Brandon, this will be the first “to go” version of the restaurant chain in our area.

Take out versions of popular restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and Hooters have become especially popular since the pandemic. It’ a smart move for P.F. Chang’s as real estate in St. Pete right now is at a premium. Although the restaurant will be smaller, P.F. Chang’s says the full menu will be offered at the St. Pete location when it opens next year.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports the location will be at 1550 66th Street North in St. Petersburg. They plan to open in the late summer of 2023. The take out stores are smaller, but will offer online and mobile ordering and delivery. Right now in Florida, the to go version of P.F. Chang’s are only in Jacksonville, Orlando, Lake Mary, and in the Miami area. [Source: TBBJ]

Geno Weighs In On The "Best Of The Bay" Tampa Restaurant Winners

A local hipster newspaper does a web poll every year to determine the best of Tampa Bay’s businesses.  In my early 20s, those free artsy college newspapers were a way to find out where the best $1 beer night could be found. But if I want a great steak, that’s the last place I’m going to look.

I tend not to take this web poll too seriously. In the radio section of their web poll, they didn’t even get the name of our radio station right. They combined half our name with a totally different radio station.  Q105 is a legendary radio station that’s been #1 for almost 50 years. Oh well. Most teenagers and hipsters don’t listen to Q105 anyway.  But what are they eating these days?

Here’s who won (in red)… and then who should have won.

  • Pizza: Madison Avenue Pizza

    I’ve heard great things about this place.  Haven’t had a chance to try it yet in person. They brought a box of enormous slices to the station for us to try and even cold it was excellent. Most big oversized slice pizzas are a gimmick to get you to not notice the pizza isn’t that good. Not Madison Avenue.  Gotta try one fresh and hot to see if they can dethrone Cristino’s on Fort Harrison in Clearwater. That’s my go to for New York style. For deep dish, you can do no better than Cappy’s in Riverview or St. Pete.

  • Fried Chicken: King of the Coop

    This looks tasty, but there are so many great fried chicken spots around here, it may take a while before I get to try this. But Guthrie’s was one of my 2 favorite chicken finger spots when I lived in Tallahassee and they’re now in Tampa.

  • Wings: Ferg's

    I’ve been to Ferg’s many times but it’s usually just for a drink.  If they can beat Hattricks or Abe’s Place, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.  The big place I miss is EATS American Grill in Riverview.  They had great burgers too.  Sorely missed.

  • Lobster Roll: Mazzaro's Italian Market

    What an odd category for Mazzaro’s to win.  I LOVE Mazzaro’s.  When I walked in for the first time, I knew Florida would be home for good.  I’ve had their lobster roll.  It’s good and priced reasonably.  But The Hot Italian (Number 20) is the sandwich to get at Mazzaro’s.  My spot for a legit Maine lobster roll (I spend 25 years of my life in Maine) is sadly now closed.  Cousin’s Maine Lobster in Clearwater is going to be sorely missed.

  • Mexican: Casa Tina

    When your selling point is being a healthy option, you already lost me.  Senor Taco in Pinellas Park for me please. It’s not fancy so it’s not an ideal selfie spot for the hipster crowd. But the Mexican food is seriously legit… and I lived in California for 6 years. It was the one big perk… discovering great Mexican food.

  • Steaks: Bern's

    Well duh.  I remember the week before I moved to Tampa, my mechanic in Boston was raving about Berns when I told him where I’m moving to. I have to cheat for my personal favorite spot for steak though… it’s not in Tampa, but in Fort Lauderdale. Chima… I love you.

  • Italian: Bella's Cafe

    Another place I’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it.  It’s not a fancy place where hipsters need food that looks good on Instagram, but my spot for Italian is Italia Mia in St. Pete.  Simple.  Basic. Delicious.  The best chicken parm in the area.  Bernini’s in Ybor (if you get there early before prices double) is also a pretty solid choice.

  • Doughnuts: Hole In One

    Never been.  I don’t think you can do better than Dough.  Even though it’s part of that South Tampa hipster scene, their doughnut case is my favorite place in Tampa.  I’ve tried Fray’s, which is usually what listeners tell me tops their list.  I like Fray’s but Dough is just on another level. And of course there are the Amish doughnuts at the Florida State Fair. But that’s a limited time thing.

  • Chinese: Yummy House

    Oh the hipsters finally got one right!  But you can’t really deny Yummy House’s dominance.  There’s not a lot of great Chinese food in Tampa.  I did a podcast for “Geno Ate Tampa” recently with my 4 picks… and Yummy House definitely made the list alongside Zom Hee in Seminole, China Wok in Brandon and Shang Hai in Tampa.

  • Cuban Sandwich: Brocato's

    For sandwiches in general, I’m way more of a Wright’s Gourmet House guy.  But Brocato’s is a very acceptable choice.

  • Breakfast: Oxford Exchange

    Oh of course the South Tampa hipster crowd loves Oxford Exchange.  It’s the best place to take a selfie for Instagram.  I’ll stick with Lenny’s in Clearwater off Highway 19.  There’s a long line every Sunday morning for a good reason.  Skyway Cafe is a close runner up.

  • Dunedin Restaurant: The Living Room

    Never been, but the only thing that gets me out of my living room to go to Dunedin is Delco’s.  No better place in the Tampa area for a legit Philly cheesesteak “wit Wiz.”

  • Burgers: Nebraska Mini-Mart

    Have never been, but looks decent.  I don’t know if they can beat Engine Number 9 in St. Pete, but again, this web poll is dominated by the South Tampa hipster crowd.

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