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St. Petersburg not defined by negative lists

St. Petersburg residents know, despite outsiders’ views, that the area offers benefits that are unmatched — such as pristine beaches.

DIRK SHADD | Times

St. Petersburg residents know, despite outsiders’ views, that the area offers benefits that are unmatched — such as pristine beaches.

The Sunshine City always seems to land on a list of some sort.

This week, there are two mentions: one praising the beautiful area beaches, the other claiming the city is a "dead zone for cuisine."

Let's get the slightly unappetizing critique out the way.

A real estate blog claimed that St. Petersburg sat near the top of the list of "Worst Cities in America for Food Lovers."

It's too bad art doesn't count as food for thought.

Movoto Real Estate, which has offices in 35 states, compiled the statistics by looking at the most populous cities in the U.S. and crunching per capita numbers based on restaurants, bakeries, food trucks, ice cream shops, candy shops, food and wine festivals, caterers and gourmet groceries stores.

St. Petersburg came in seventh.

Truth is, the dining options in the Sunshine City have been a decades-long work in progress. Lately, it's one of the best places for gourmet burgers and local craft breweries.

The recent Battle of the Burg(er) competition among restaurants in the Grand Central Business District should count for something. As far as gourmet groceries, there have been swirling rumors of at least two chains looking to move here.

Enjoy Arts & Tastes St. Petersburg, a three-day food and wine festival, is Nov. 15-17 and will feature big names in the culinary world.

To be fair, the blogger is correct on a couple of items, especially the lack of bakeries and food trucks. The Taco Bus doesn't count — it doesn't move.

Tampa, across the bay, wasn't among the worst 50, which included such places as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Memphis.

This isn't the first time the city has garnered attention the chamber of commerce would prefer to sweep under a rug.

Almost two years ago Men's Health dubbed this city the saddest by calculating unemployment and suicide (the city's proximity to the Sunshine Skyway is a factor).

And let's not forget that in 2011 Princeton Review also declared that Eckerd College was full of beer-guzzling potheads.

But all is not doom and gloom here.

Last week a travel website named the Top 25 beaches in the country — and, no surprise here — a host of Pinellas beaches made the list.

Among them: Fort De Soto Park (4), Caladesi Island State Park (12), Pass-a-Grille (15) and Clearwater Beach (18).

If the beautiful open vistas and slower pace of living in these parts don't meet the higher standards for the list-making critics of the world, too bad.

In the meantime, continue adding this fair city among the "worst" in America lists.

The locals will just snicker as they hoist a brew to the latest dubious distinction while watching the sun set in this slice of paradise.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

FAST FACTS

The 10 worst cities

in America for

food lovers

1. San Bernardino, Calif.

2. Garland, Texas

3. North Las Vegas, Nev.

4. El Paso, Texas

5. Laredo, Texas

6. Fort Worth, Texas

7. St. Petersburg

8. Corpus Christi, Texas

9. Detroit

10. Chesapeake, Va.

St. Petersburg not defined by negative lists 09/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 4:07pm]

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