Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dining with celebrities at the Republican National Convention

Tampa restaurants may not have been as swarmed with RNC traffic as some had hoped, but there have been celeb sightings nonetheless. The 800-pound gorilla, Bern's Steak House, has nabbed loads of national praise this week, as well as an enviable reservation book, but as public relations director Brooke Palmer explains, "(Owner) David (Laxer) has asked us to not release names until post convention. We have had a lot of big names through, but we still have more to come tonight and tomorrow."

Waiting for those, here are some of the other highlights:

Boca Kitchen Bar Market, Ted Dorsey, chef: "Matt Lauer was here Monday night. … He had the spear-caught black grouper, and one of his guests was a huge key lime pie fan, so she had that. Also, NBC News journalist Andrea Mitchell was here with the mayor of Los Angeles (Antonio Villaraigosa). And Nikki Haley (South Carolina governor) was here Sunday night. Anderson Cooper was here, I think that was Sunday night. And Chris Christie (New Jersey governor) made reservations for (tonight)."

Ocean Prime, Matt Goldstein, general manager: "Nikki Haley spent the whole morning here (Wednesday), breakfast and lunch. If she'd stayed for dinner, it would have been a triple. She and her husband had the kobe burger, if I'm not mistaken. We had John Kasich, governor of Ohio, here (Tuesday night). (Wednesday night) we have Joe Scarborough from Morning Joe. We've also had (journalist and author) Cokie Roberts in, as well as Chuck Todd from NBC."

The Refinery, Michelle Baker, co-owner: "We had one large group come in from Google, and a British lord. We Googled his name and he's a big deal. … Frank Bruni (New York Times columnist and former restaurant critic) was here on Monday night. He's going to be back in tonight (Wednesday), which is a huge compliment."

Columbia, Angela Geml, marketing and public relations manager: "Diane Sawyer and some of her news team were in on Sunday for an interview to learn how to make a Cuban sandwich."

Mise en Place, Maryann Ferenc, co-owner: "We've seen Charlie Rose, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff, Chris Matthews, and the whole NPR crew filled up the lounge one night."

The Palm, Keri Larson, account executive: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and 22 other guests from his delegation dined at The Palm in Tampa's WestShore Plaza Tuesday night before he delivered his address at the convention. He had a Caesar salad to start, his entree was a 9-ounce filet, medium rare, and he had mixed berries to finish. Michele Bachmann also dined at the restaurant for lunch on Monday. She had broiled salmon and a side of linguine marinara."

Datz, Suzanne Perry, co-owner: "You can't get any bigger than (Speaker of the House) John Boehner (with Perry's son Matt, above). Nobody outranks him. The bomb dogs and snipers and capital police all over the place were plenty exciting." Datz has done three private Boehner parties, the last of which was to take place Wednesday evening. The big hits at the parties so far have been the chicken and waffle bar (and why not: sugar cones filled with fried chicken tenders and jalapeño syrup), deep-fried mac 'n' cheese bites (says Perry, "doesn't matter who you are, you like mac 'n' cheese"). "I've heard rumors other people are in, but I don't recognize them. I could never make a living as a nightclub doorman."

Dining with celebrities at the Republican National Convention 08/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  4. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  5. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.