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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foster's gastrointestinal meet-and-greets a hit with restaurateurs



ST. PETERSBURG -- It's one of City Hall's most coveted lists, with a waiting list of about 20 deep.

The names on it are owners of restaurants who want to host a monthly breakfast where Mayor Bill Foster discusses issues with residents.

On Wednesday, Foster made his latest stop at The Hangar, the new restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport. Owner Steve Westphal requested the event when he read about it in the paper.

"It's a great economic development tool," Westphal said. "But it's also a great way for residents to get to meet the mayor."

City spokeswoman Beth Herendeen helps choose which restaurants end up on Foster's tour. Initially, Foster wanted mom-and-pop restaurants across a wide geographical spectrum throughout the city.

The first one chosen was Shirley's Soul Food at 1789 34th St. S, Herendeen said, because the owner knew Foster and they had talked about the event as being an economic spur. The restaurant didn't last, however, and closed. Herendeen said the owner is working the city's economic development department in opening a new restaurant.

Other restaurants to host breakfasts include Kopper Kitchen on Central Avenue; Tick Tock Restaurant on 4th St. N; Dairy Inn on MLK Jr. Boulevard; Tyrone Restaurant on 38th Ave. N.

Atwater's Cafeteria in Midtown is scheduled for a breakfast in mid-October. Those who want to be on the list are asked to call the mayor's office at 893-7201.

"We only do it once a month, so it takes awhile to get through," Herendeen said. "But I think we'll do it."

--Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 11:10am]


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