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Date night on a dime

It's the date-night fallback: dinner and a show.

Treating your honey to some entertainment and a bite to eat is a no-brainer, but it isn't exactly cheap. With movie prices pushing $10 and restaurants nickel-and-diming you for every french fry, it's nearly impossible to make it through a night on the town without stopping at an ATM.

Lest you be relegated to frozen pizza and a DVD, entertainment venues are getting creative. Discounted dinner-and-show packages are popping up across Tampa Bay, turning neighborhoods into self-contained resorts. Check out these offers.

The Ritz Ybor

The entertainment hall has partnered with five Ybor City restaurants to create Ybor City 222 package: That's two dinners, two show tickets and two drinks for one fixed price. The deal kicks off Friday when New York rapper JoJo Pellegrino plays a 7 p.m. show at the Ritz with special guests DJ Spank and Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Lounge Lo. Tickets to the all-ages concert are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, but with the Ybor City 222 deal you get two show tickets, two drinks from the Ritz's full bar, and two dinner vouchers for any of these Ybor restaurants:

• Gaspar's Grotto: 1805 E Seventh Ave., (813) 248-5900; $50.

• Streetcar Charlie's: 1811 N 15th St., (813) 248-1444; $50.

• The Laughing Cat: 1820 N 15th St., (813) 241-2998; $50.

• Bernini: 1702 E Seventh Ave., (813) 248-0099; $60.

• Teatro on Seventh: Centro Ybor, 1600 E Seventh Ave., (813) 248-9400; $60.

Order from a select menu that features four to six entrees, including vegetarian options. Some of the dinner packages include soft drinks. For a single ticket, one entree and one drink, cut the price in half.

The Ritz Ybor is at 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, (813) 247.2555;

American Stage

Subscribers can take advantage of the theater company's Restaurant Partners program. A six-show subscription is $92 to $173. Enroll anytime. Present a day-of-show ticket and get a special at any of these eateries:

• Bella Brava: free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entree. 515 Central Ave, St. Pete, (727) 895-5515;

• Cafe Alma: $5 off lunch and $10 off dinner when you buy two entrees. 260 First Ave. S, St. Pete, (727) 502-5002;

• CD Roma's: $3 off lunch and buy one dinner, get one half off. 1280 66th St. N, St. Pete, (727) 344-3837.

• Craftsman House Cafe: free dessert when you buy an entree. 2955 Central Ave., St. Pete, (727) 323-2787.

• The Garden: two-for-one dinners excluding specials. 217 Central Ave. St. Pete, (727) 896-3800;

• Gratzzi Ristorante: buy one entree, get the second at half price. 199 Second Ave. N, St. Pete, (727) 822-7769;

• Madeleina Cottage Restaurant: 10 percent off your check. 357 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach, (727) 367-1727;

• Pacific Wave: 10 percent off your check. 211 Second St. S, St. Pete, (727) 822-5235;

American Stage is at 211 Third St. S, St. Pete, (727) 823-7529;

Mahaffey Theater

Through the Mahaffey Gourmet program, any day-of-show ticket is good for deals at these restaurants, which are all within walking distance of the theater in downtown St. Pete.

• Gratzzi Ristorante: buy one entree, get the second at half price. 199 Second Ave. N, (727) 822-7769;

• Bella Brava: free appetizer or dessert with a same-day ticket stub. 515 Central Ave, (727) 895-5515;

• Central Avenue Oyster Bar: free glass of Muscadet wine when you buy an entree. 249 Central Ave., (727) 987-9728;

• Cafe Alma: 10 percent off your bill. Not valid on holidays or with other specials or discounts. 260 First Ave. S, (727) 502-5002;

• Pacific Wave: 10 percent off your bill with same-day ticket stub. 211 Second St. S, (727) 822-5235;

• Parkshore Grill: 10 percent off your bill with same-day ticket stub. 300 Beach Drive NE, (727) 896-9463;

• Marchand's Bar and Grill: 15 percent off your lunch or dinner check. Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, (727) 894-1000;

• Tangerine: buy one regular-priced entree and get a second entree free. Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 First St. S, (727) 894-5000;

The Mahaffey Theater is at 400 First St. S, St. Pete, (727) 892-5798;

Belleair Grill and Wine Bar

Bring a day-of-show ticket from Francis Wilson Playhouse (302 Seminole St., Clearwater) and get a free glass of house wine — merlot, cabernet or pinot grigio, a $5.40 value — or serving of chocolate sin cake, a $3 value. 1575 S Fort Harrison, Clearwater, (727) 449-2988;

Side Splitters Comedy Club

For $50, get two general admission tickets and any four drinks on the menu — CYA for the club's two-item-per-person minimum and a savings of about $30. The package does not include dinner, but food is available. 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, (813) 960-1197;

St. Petersburg Nights

This Russian and Eastern European-themed restaurant regularly hosts cultural entertainment and food nights, including the following:

The Russian Accents Christmas Spectacular includes song and dance, a performance with live bears, a three-course traditional Russian dinner and coffee or tea for $49.50. The next show is Friday at 6 p.m. Get the full schedule online.

Every Thursday it's dinner and a movie. All chicken entrees are $9.99 while you catch a Russian-themed, English-language flick on the restaurant's big screen.

Catch the Dec. 19 performance of The Great Russian Nutcracker at Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Pete, then after the show have dinner with Moscow Ballet dancers at St. Petersburg Nights. To reserve a $100 all-inclusive ticket, contact the restaurant or [email protected]

Check it out at 6800 Sunset Way, St. Pete Beach, (727) 363-3832;

More all-in-one destinations

These venues don't offer food discounts, but they do serve more than popcorn and sodas.

CineBistro at Grove 16 Theatre This cinema's upstairs level features a full restaurant, whose menu includes crab cakes, Greek salad, prime rib and more. Entrees are $9 to $23. Folks 21 and up can actually eat while they watch the movie. Waiters will bring dinner, drinks and your check straight to your leather rocking chair. Dine-in movie tickets are $12.50 Monday through Thursday and $14.50 Friday through Sunday and on holidays. 6333 Wesley Grove Blvd., Wesley Chapel, (813) 948-5444;

St. Pete Times Forum The Forum's restaurants range from upscale buffets to boxed meals and pizza. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, (813) 301-6500.

Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Fare ranges from $8 snacks al fresco to a $27.50 dinner buffet at Maestro's Restaurant. 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, (813) 229-7827;

Date night on a dime 11/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 28, 2008 10:01pm]
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