Geno

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You’ve probably heard the ads. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have them on Q105. I will tell you now that this review is not biased because of that. I downloaded the Upside app about 6 months ago and after using it occasionally, here are my thoughts.

Does it really work?
Yes. You really do get money back from gas station and restaurant visits.

Does it work for the gas station you go to?
Maybe. You have to check the app. Not all gas stations participate. The app will give you a list of nearby stations that participate along with the amount you’ll get credited to your account. If you have a membership to a club like Sam’s or Costco, you probably won’t use the Upside app much. But if you pay full price for gas, it can save you some money.

How much off a gallon of gas do you get?
I’ve seen offers as low as 5 cents a gallon off and as much as about 25 cents a gallon. Once you take into account the regular price the gas station charges and the discount, they all come out to around the same final cost per gallon honestly.

Do you get a lot of money back?
Not really. To me, it’s just enough to keep it on my phone. But don’t assume you’re going to get everything for free. You won’t. You get about 5 to 10% off most things at restaurants or dime or so off a gallon of gas. I don’t use it every time I fill up. But it does add up eventually.

What kind of restaurants give you money back?
It’s usually locally-owned places that I’d imagine are trying to attract new business. You won’t see a lot of big chain restaurants. For example, there’s a deli sandwich shop near Q105 where I go often and they give you 7% cash back… which pretty much means it covers the tip. Little Greek is another favorite of mine that gives customers a discount via the app.

Do you have to give them your bank account info?
No. That was my big concern. You can instead choose to get gift cards to places like Amazon or Target. But you get more flexibility on when you can cash out if you do decide to let them connect to your bank account.

Is it worth the effort?
If you’re rich, no. If you’re not, it’s worth at least having on your phone. It’s free. Even if you don’t use it often, if you’re in a part of town you’re unfamiliar with and need to fill up, this can save you a buck or two. Do that once a week and it could add up to about $100 a year.

Geno's 10 Best Lunches For Under $10 in Tampa Bay

It’s not easy to find a great lunch in the Tampa area for under ten bucks. Even drive thru meals at fast food places are about $10 right now. But these 10 really give you the bang for your lunchtime buck.

  • The Hot Italian at Mazzaro's in St. Pete

    I have to lead off with what’s probably my favorite place in Tampa Bay. This Italian market in St. Pete has a bunch of great subs in the deli that are under $10. In fact, I don’t think there’s even one that’s more than $10. The $8 Hot Italian is my usual go to with ham, salami, pepperoni, shredded lettuce, tomato, provolone, banana peppers & Italian dressing. But I’ll tell you – I’m torn now. On my last visit, I tried the #7 with Prosciutto D’ Parma, sweet Soppressata, hot Capicola, marinated sundried tomato & fresh mozzarella on Ciabatta. Just 50 cents more and a great choice when the weather is too hot for a Hot Italian.

  • Chicken Salad Sandwich Combo at Chicken Salad Chick in Palm Harbor

     

    Listener Christine suggested this one. “The Chick” includes your choice of sandwich with lettuce and tomato and a side for $8.99. Sides include broccoli salad, fresh fruit, mac & cheese, chips, pasta salad or a seasonal strawberry salad. Lots of variations of a traditional chicken salad sandwich like lemon basil, one for onion lovers, or the “Sassy Scott” with ranch, bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.

  • Pasta and Meatballs at Mama Rosa's Italian Touch in Kenneth City

    I was devastated when I found out Italia Mia closed. But when I learned that the owners had just started a new place, I couldn’t visit Italian Touch fast enough. Their $8.95 lunch specials are a steal. You can get ravioli, lasagna, pasta with a meatball, ziti with sausages… but I always have to get the chicken parmesan sub.

  • A Triple Decker Sandwich at Stein's Deli in St. Pete

    The triple decker sandwiches here are enormous. I’m 6’4 and about 300 pounds and I can’t finish one. Yet they’re priced under $10. Go with the Broadway. It’s roast beef, turkey, ham, salami and Swiss cheese topped with some cole slaw and Russian dressing. There are about a half dozen similar options that switch out 1 or 2 ingredients. But the Broadway is my jam.

  • The Cuban at Latin Touch Spanish Grocery in Brandon

    Listener Sharon says this is the best Cuban sandwich in town and the drink is included for under $10. She likes their Spanish bean soup too.

  • Tacos at Don Pancho Villa in Clearwater

    Living in California for 5 years spoiled me. It’s tough to find great legit Mexican food in Florida. But this spot in Clearwater is a gem. A steak burrito for $9.99 just barely lands them on this list. But I usually go with a couple tacos.

  • A Philly Cheesesteak Delco's in Dunedin

    There’s no good reason this cheesesteak only costgs $7.25 It’s worth double that. Please don’t tell them though. By the way, bring cash. They don’t take cards. These cheesesteaks are Philly legit. Too few places in Tampa offer cheesesteaks “wiz wit.” If you know, you know.

  • The Honey Garlic Chicken at China Wok in Brandon

    If I had to pick a favorite from this list, it’d probably be this place. The Honey Garlic Chicken lunch special is the biggest thing I miss about living on the Hillsborough side. You’d easily miss this hole in the wall takeout place across from Brandon Ford. Comes with PLENTY of chicken, fried rice, and an egg roll. Easily feeds two.

  • Midianoche at Maikel's Kitchen in Tampa

     

    Listener Jim says this place has the best Midianoche. He says you can add in 4 croquettes and a bottle of water and you’ll still pay less than $10.

     

     

  • Slices at Eddie & Sam's NY Pizza in Tampa

    I’m reluctantly going to include this place because honestly I have never been wow’d by Eddie & Sam’s pizza. But I’m pretty much the only one. Everyone seems to love their slices. They say the secret is using New York water. You can get two slices with a Coke for about $8. The big pain is finding parking. You either have to find a metered spot or pay $15 at the nearby lot.  Tampa loves Eddie & Sam’s but I still say the best pizza is found across the bridge over at Cristino’s in Clearwater.  And you can get their 12″ personal Margherita with tomato sauce, fresh sliced mozzarella, fresh basil and oregano for $9.99.

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