Monday was to be the first day Tampa restaurants felt the full benefit of 50,000 extra mouths in the area, but the results were mixed because of weather and convention changes. The Capital Grille at International Plaza originally had 250 reservations for Monday evening, but cancellations shrank that to 139. Ordinarily dinner-only, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar opened for lunch this week, a decision manager Donna Murphy said didn't yield great results. And by Monday late afternoon, with helicopters circling and lines of police officers outside anticipating protesters from nearby Bloomin' Brands, dinner wasn't looking much better. "We are down to 40 reservations from 82," said Murphy. Some Tampa restaurants fared better. Boca Kitchen Bar and Market in Tampa was fully booked Monday evening with 90 reservations. Ruth's Chris Steak House had a respectable 169.
Laura Reiley, Times food critic
Shop for a cause
Tropical Storm Isaac did not alter plans for a Monday fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue in WestShore Plaza for a gathering of the National Women's Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition. It just gave more time to shop. The show was organized by St. Petersburg native Diane Sembler Kamins, chairwoman of the NWC, in honor of her mother, Betty Sembler, 81. Her father is Republican honcho Mel Sembler. About 200 men and women from across the country noshed sweet treats and eyed the Escada 2012 fall collection before Mrs. Sembler asked a favor: Go shop, she said, explaining that Saks will donate 10 percent of their purchases during the RNC to Drug Free American Foundation, which she founded.
Amy Scherzer, Times staff writer
Insiders party on
Aside from the RNC party at the Trop, St. Petersburg was quiet Sunday, but an after-party whose sponsors included St. Petersblog, All Children's Hospital and Mosaic drew a crowd to Cassis American Brasserie on Beach Drive NE. Guests mingled near an ice sculpture and a "cake" of multicolored macarons. Among them: St. Petersblog publisher Peter Schorsch; All Children's Foundation executive Sylvia Ameen; and former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and his wife, Joyce.
Mary Jane Park, Times staff writer