Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Malio's and mayoral schmooze on your radio dial

Of course the setting was the cozy, wood-paneled bar of downtown Tampa's schmooziest lunch spot, the place with the old-school name that makes you think of deals cut over thick steaks, old-style Tampa partying and, oh yeah, that blond bar manager who broke up Burt Reynolds' marriage.

And naturally, it involved two men who only a year earlier were battling to be the guy to run this town, only now they were having a good backslap and a friendly radio chat on everything from the Rays to (what else) lap dancing.

This is, after all, Tampa.

Dick Greco, the city's longest serving, and, if I can use the word again, schmooziest mayor, got himself a radio show on AM 820 News, live from the bar at Malio's Prime Steakhouse.

Mondays at noon, over filet tips and chopped salads, locals can watch the ex-mayor and his guest du jour chew the fat, so to speak. It is Greco's particular talent, talking intimately with pretty much anyone, anywhere, even when he is visiting a foreign country — this according to his wife, who was ensconced in a nearby booth, nibbling daintily on a wedge salad.

No surprise, either, that Greco's inaugural guest was current mayor Bob Buckhorn, the very upstart who foiled Greco's fifth bid for the job. You would think this means hard feelings, unless you have met Greco, a man who can embrace an entire room one person at a time, sometimes two. I've personally seen him do three.

Buckhorn is a starchier sort, more button-down, but still no exception to Greco's patented bicep-squeeze-with-affectionate-hand-pat maneuver, which it turns out he can accomplish even tethered to headphones. For an hour, a man who is this city's history and the one mapping its future were off on something of a lovefest — Buckhorn paying homage to mayors past, Greco complimenting progress like a planned downtown medical training facility that will mean thousands of overnight hotel stays (cha-ching!). On a commercial break, Greco tipped the crowd a wink.

He gamely tried to explain away Buckhorn's push years ago to keep strip club dancers 6 feet from patrons. Buckhorn confided the two things that keep him up at night: The threat of hurricanes, he said, and the coming-soon Republican National Convention. (That last one in a good way, he said.)

The older mayor, natty in a stylish sport coat and fancy tie, asked the younger how he always accomplished that perfect triangle of a pocket hanky, and truly, a team of NASA engineers could not have managed more precision. Buckhorn promised Greco a lesson after the show.

The men commiserated on the unprecedented nastiness of politics today. Greco got in his standard lament on how a mayor could pave the streets in gold and someone would gripe about the glare, and Buckhorn repeated his pledge not to sniff around the Rays, unless, of course, they were about to leave.

Speaking of which, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster — a dear friend of Buckhorn's, Greco assured everyone, despite talk of a muddy, ugly tug-of-war over the Rays — will soon be a guest himself. ("A delight," Foster called Greco.)

Who else, for this daily dish? Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is expected, assorted other movers and shakers, maybe an intriguing and recently-ex governor. It's Tampa, after all, and who can say no to Greco?

Malio's and mayoral schmooze on your radio dial 01/13/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 12:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Can the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl thrive in competitive sports market?

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's a funky name: the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. But the new sponsors for the former St. Petersburg Bowl might need more than an eye-catching name to create a thriving, profitable contest.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren clutches the championship trophy after winning the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in 2014. Bowl organizers are changing the name of the game to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
[

MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]
  2. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  3. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Who is that 'Blacks for Trump' guy standing behind the president at his Phoenix rally

    National

    At a number of political rallies over the last two years, a character calling himself "Michael the Black Man" has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted.

    Michael the Black Man, variously known as Michael Symonette, Maurice Woodside and Mikael Israel, holds up a sign as President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center during a rally on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona.  [Ralph Freso | Getty Images]
  5. Off-duty Manatee County deputy saves couple from burning car

    Public Safety

    MANATEE COUNTY — Neil and Claudia Cook are lucky to be alive after an off-duty deputy spotted them trapped in their smoking car and rescued them just before it became engulfed in flames on …

    Neil and Claudia Cook were trapped in their smoking car on Sunday when an off-duty deputy kicked out the window, rescuing them just before the car became engulfed in flames. [Courtesy of Manatee County Sheriff's Office]