Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Taste of Pinellas and food truck rally draw diners to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Plumes of white smoke billowed from a barbecue grill Saturday at Vinoy Park, as spectators sampled Cajun chicken, pulled pork and fried shrimp.

They were among hundreds who scanned the booths that filled the downtown park for the annual Taste of Pinellas. They sampled culinary delights and awaited headliners Sheryl Crow and Ziggy Marley, scheduled to perform later in the day.

Meanwhile, a mile and a half away at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, a smaller crowd munched on everything from tortillas to Cajun food, during downtown's first food truck rally.

At both events, some people came for the music, some for the atmosphere. But if there was any single reason to be in St. Petersburg on Saturday, it was the food.

Food truck organizers scheduled the rally to coincide with the Taste of Pinellas, hoping food enthusiasts would cross-pollinate, journeying through downtown for both events.

But for many attendees, the choice seemed to be one or the other.

For St. Petersburg residents John and Marissa Terrana, the Taste of Pinellas is a must-visit each year. They come for the cause — proceeds from the event benefit All Children's Hospital, where Marissa's father works.

But the Terranas, who attended Taste with their friend Jason DeCou, also come to try some of the more expensive eats offered at sharp discounts.

"It's a great opportunity to try a lot of restaurants that I've been dying to go to for a long time," DeCou said. The group had already purchased food tickets and had eyes on the macaroni and cheese with lobster from Bella Brava and the fondue samples from the Melting Pot.

"Fondue for six tickets? Yes, please," John Terrana said.

Chicago natives Jay and Beth Sussman visited the Taste for the first time last year and felt compelled to return.

"Compared to Taste of Chicago, this is unbelievable," Jay Sussman said as he sampled an empanada from Empanada World of South Tampa.

The costs are less, Sussman said. The food is more. And the crowds, while sizable, are not too many. "I'm happy to pay 10 bucks for parking to enjoy all this."

At USF St. Petersburg, about 100 people wandered the parking lot near Sixth Avenue S and First Street, scanning the menus of the 13 food trucks.

"We're surveying all of them," said Vicki Gaskin-Butler, a psychology instructor at the school. She browsed the trucks with her husband, Malcolm Butler, who is a professor of education, and their two sons. "We were curious," she said. "When we saw it announced we thought we would come and take a look."

Their sons enjoyed an offering from the Fat Tortillas Southwest Grill truck. When they finished, the family planned to attend a birthday party.

If not for the party, "we'd be going to see Ziggy Marley (at Taste of Pinellas)," Malcolm Butler said.

David Meaux, 40, of Tampa, attended the rally with business in mind. A New Orleans native, he plans to open the Bayou Bistro, a Creole and Cajun food truck, in the next two weeks.

"I came up with the idea about 10 years ago," Meaux said. "Back then, everyone told me it was crazy and it would never work."

Hurricane Katrina forced Meaux to move to Tampa. When the food trucks rose in popularity last year, he seized on the idea.

"It's not going anywhere," he said. "It's just getting bigger and bigger."

Reach Dan Sullivan at (727) 893-8321 or [email protected]

 
Comments
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning waits for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — members large and small — say it has already won the NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

TEMPLE TERRACE — Investigators say an orange sports car was moving at about 90 mph when it ran a red light and broadsided a prominent doctor’s car last month on Fowler Avenue. The impact caused Dr. Charles Canaan Williams’ Acura to catch fire almost ...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Two more arrests were made recently in connection with the April 2 shooting death of a man outside an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S, police said.Rodriguez Green, 24, of Largo and Darius Trennell Collins, 23,...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

BROOKSVILLE — A 17-year-old Hernando High School student was arrested Wednesday for threatening to shoot people at the school, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The student was serving a suspension at the time of the incident, deputie...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick-up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

TAMPA — A 43-year-old Orlando man who was being sought in a string of carjackings along Interstate 4 was captured on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Majar L. Jones, 43, was considered armed and dangerous and the subjec...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

TAMPA – It was the late spring of 2007, days after a much younger Chris Kunitz lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time. He found himself wondering if he would ever be in that position again. Hoping, really."For sure," he said. "It's almost a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida is among the top three states with the highest per capita rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, a new study published on Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found.From 2006 to 2016, the organization examined hit-and-run crashes in...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Wildlife commission rejects letting anglers catch and keep Goliath grouper

Wildlife commission rejects letting anglers catch and keep Goliath grouper

Florida’s wildlife commissioners Thursday shot down a move to allow anglers to catch and keep goliath grouper, the enormous, slow-moving fish that have been protected in state and federal waters since 1990."We’re not looking to have a harvest for the...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago