Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City busts Pierogi Guy

Frank Dippz stands beside Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater on Friday afternoon, promoting the food at Pierogi Grill.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

Frank Dippz stands beside Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater on Friday afternoon, promoting the food at Pierogi Grill.

CLEARWATER — Goodness knows there are plenty of baddies roaming the streets of this city.

Drug dealers.

Thieves.

Killers.

You name it.

But Clearwater is now safe from one brazen — or should we say braised? — outlaw.

Pierogi Guy.

Yes, it's true. Officials have cracked down on the dancing dumpling who, until last week, waved a saute pan in front of the Pierogi Grill on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

The employer of Pierogi Guy, alias Frank Dippz, 25, had been admonished before.

Clearwater sign inspector Mary Jo Weaver said the city sent a warning on April 11 to Marek Pietryniak, president of Piramida Grill & Steak House, the restaurant's owner.

As a human sign, Pierogi Guy violated the city's sign code. Comply by April 18, the city warned, or be fined.

But the restaurant apparently thumbed a potholder hand at authorities, perhaps thinking the law had bigger dumplings to fry.

Weaver said officials continued to get calls about how Pierogi Guy beckoned traffic later in the evenings when inspectors — who are required to witness and take pictures of violations in order to cite someone — were off duty.

That changed May 3, when a sign inspector caught the 5-foot, 8-inch pasta bite while working a weekend shift. The business at 1535 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. was then issued a citation for violating the "signs carried and waved on the public right of ways" ordinance. The restaurant has until June 26 to pay the $138 fine or contest it in Pinellas County Court.

A second fine carries a $263 penalty, which includes court costs.

"You kind of feel bad for people because they're trying to do everything they can to survive, but that's not one of the things, unfortunately, that they're allowed to do," Weaver said.

Pietryniak, who did not return calls for comment Wednesday, is no stranger to the city's sign codes, Weaver said.

In April 2006, when the restaurant was an Egyptian-themed place called Piramida, inspectors wrote Pietryniak up for what they said were improper signs painted on the restaurant's outside walls. But the business challenged the violation in circuit court and won. A judge ruled the paintings weren't signs, Weaver said.

Weaver said "human signs" come in waves and most comply once warned. She said the episode with Pierogi Guy — the subject of a feature story in Sunday's Times — is the first time she can remember actually having to issue a citation in this type of case.

"It's really not something that's a major problem, but it's certainly prohibited," she said. "We don't want motorists looking at these people and then rear-ending the cars in front of them. And if they weren't prohibited, they'd be everywhere … and that's not a pretty sight.

"Our job is safety and aesthetics, and we take a lot of pride in making our city safe and beautiful."

Although he is hesitant to point a doughy finger, Dippz said he suspects nearby residents of complaining because motorists honk during his shifts.

"It's stupid,'' he said. "We're not causing problems. I'm just walking in front of the restaurant. There's no harm in that. It's not like I'm standing in the middle of the street. I value my life too much.''

Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

City busts Pierogi Guy 05/14/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 11:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]