Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Restaurants

Dining Planner: Restaurants and bars to celebrate St. Patrick's this year

Easy being green: Celebration spots

You know what Tampa's Mayor's River O'Green Fest reminds you? Looking out Saturday over that Hillsborough River turned a lively shade of emerald you think, "Darn, I'm thirsty. Where does a person grab a Guinness around here?" • After the family-friendly activities in Curtis Hixon Park, it's grown-up time. Here are spots to raise a pint this weekend, or all year long.

O'Keefe's Tavern and Restaurant (1219 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, (727) 442-9034) is the restaurant/bar for St. Patrick's Day, a good-times, pint-or-three shambling Irish pub the rest of the year. This place has history, going back to the 1960s when it was O'Keefe's Tap Room, a history still visible despite the many additions and remodelings. A brick exterior gives way to a comfortable series of rooms festooned with lots of green accents and Irishobilia. The brogue-required bartenders are fast and furious with the beers and the all-ages crowd is unified by affection for the place. Once known for its "seven-course Irish dinner" (that's six beers and a potato), O'Keefe's fare has branched out to include such Dublin-incorrect favorites as lobster rolls and hefty burgers (regulars swear by the one topped with peanut butter and bacon, no lie). On Friday, the party tent opens at noon, $5 cover for adults after 3 p.m., with live bands, bagpipers and Irish dancing shows.

A creamy smooth Guinness and a few choruses of Danny Boy at MacDinton's Irish Pub & Restaurant (405 S Howard Ave., Tampa, (813) 251-8999; and 242 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, (727) 201-9783) and you'll be pining for old County Cork even if you're not Irish. Bagpipers, stomping Irish dancers, drink specials and an all-day party make this lively Irish bar a mecca on St. Paddy's Day (the Tampa location has been swamped since its debut in 2002). There's a killer black and tan, a warming Irish coffee and a fair representation of Irish staples, from rib-sticking, mashed-potatoey shepherd's pie sliders to respectable bangers and mash, all served in the clubby, dark-wood bar.

If your passion for Ireland remains unslaked, Four Green Fields (205 W Platt St., Tampa, (813) 254-4444) offers lots of St. Paddy's revelry — on Friday doors open at 8 a.m. and live music starts at 11 a.m. The oldest Irish pub of South Tampa's big three and the most well-known in Tampa Bay, Four Green Fields proudly advertises itself as "America's only authentic thatched roof pub." There are also two wooden decks and a bar in the rear outside area. Irish greats such as Tommy Makem, the Prodigals, the Corrs and Sinéad O'Connor have all played Four Green Fields, which has traditional Irish musicians perform every weekend. Perhaps the most Irish thing about Four Green Fields? Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has bellied up to the bar, and most staff members are from Ireland.

Dubliner Irish Pub (2307 W Azeele St., Tampa, (813) 258-2257) is a smaller, quainter place to toast the patron saint of Ireland. This pub offers food and drink specials all day at the epicenter of Irish zeal on Azeele. Laid-back and charming, the Dubliner has been a SoHo favorite since 2002, not far from its sworn enemy, MacDinton's. A converted house decorated with beautiful Emerald Isle bric-a-brac, the Dubliner has a handsome deck and a total of four full bars including a tiki.

Get historical: On the menu

On Friday, the Henry Plant Museum debuts a new exhibit called Menus: An Epicurean Experience, which runs through Dec. 23. Using original menus as a starting point to explore fine dining at the Tampa Bay Hotel from 1891 to 1932, these rarely exhibited menus draw visitors into the conversation of Victorian food, the source of food, its preparation, etiquette, fashion and utensils that blend together to create the Victorian epicurean experience. The exhibit displays original artifacts, including menus, photos, clothing, and utensils from the Tampa Bay Hotel, other Florida hotels and private collections. At 7 p.m. Friday there will be a free lecture by Patrick Dunne, proprietor of Lucullus antiques in New Orleans and author of The Epicurean Collector. Entrance to the exhibit is included with admission to the museum; $10 adults. 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 254-1891.

   
Comments
Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

TERRA GAUCHATerra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, a classic churrascaria-style Brazilian meatery — you know, where the guys in South American cowboy attire walk around with the swords of meat until you capitulate in a carnivorous haze — has opened a loc...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Published: 04/19/18
Food events this weekend: Blueberry Festival, Whiskey Obsession, Taste of Carrollwood and more

Food events this weekend: Blueberry Festival, Whiskey Obsession, Taste of Carrollwood and more

WORTH THE DRIVE: Ocala Culinary FestivalThe Ocala Culinary Festival runs through Sunday with dozens of food and educational events throughout Ocala and Marion County. The list is impressive, tickets for events priced individually. Here is a sampler: ...
Published: 04/12/18
Tampa restaurant Steelbach’s Florida-raised beef program could be a model for true farm-to-table dining

Tampa restaurant Steelbach’s Florida-raised beef program could be a model for true farm-to-table dining

TAMPATrust me, this will be a restaurant review. In a couple of minutes. First, we need to dive into something the new Steelbach at Armature Works is doing that is ground-breaking, disruptive, way-outside-the-box. It’s so forward-thinking that Commis...
Published: 04/09/18
Updated: 04/12/18
10 questions with Molly Schuyler, the competitive eater who won $2,500 for eating a big Taco Bus burrito

10 questions with Molly Schuyler, the competitive eater who won $2,500 for eating a big Taco Bus burrito

When it comes to competitive eating, Molly Schuyler is one of the best in the world. Last weekend she dominated her competition at Tampa’s Taco Bus Burrito Eating Championship by taking down a 2.5-pound "El Jefe" in just over a minute to win $...
Published: 04/10/18
Caddy’s At the Pointe apologizes for putting diner’s race on their receipt

Caddy’s At the Pointe apologizes for putting diner’s race on their receipt

A Bradenton restaurant has publicly apologized for a server who described a table by including the diners’ race. A photograph of a Caddy’s At the Pointe receipt posted to Facebook shows the table was entered into the restaurant’s p...
Published: 04/09/18
Updated: 04/10/18
Maple Street Biscuits now open, bringing much-needed biscuits to St. Pete

Maple Street Biscuits now open, bringing much-needed biscuits to St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — I was prepared. I’d been to the Maple Street Biscuit location in Tallahassee in our circuitous escape from Hurricane Irma. The woman behind the counter was going to ask me my favorite childhood television show so it could...
Updated one month ago
This weekend’s food festivals: Celebrate wine, craft soda, shrimp and crawfish

This weekend’s food festivals: Celebrate wine, craft soda, shrimp and crawfish

CHEERS: TO DALÍRaise a glass or two to welcome spring as the Dalí hosts its seventh annual signature wine and food tasting, Los Vinos de Dalí, on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. Both Old World and New World wines are paired with tapas tastings from area restaur...
Updated one month ago
Florida chef Jeanie Roland talks competing on ‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ and the time she beat Bobby Flay

Florida chef Jeanie Roland talks competing on ‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ and the time she beat Bobby Flay

In August 2015, Punta Gorda chef Jeanie Roland beat world-famous Bobby Flay with her signature moules-frites (that’s mussels and fries). Let’s say Flay got filleted by a petite, now 51-year-old chef in a fairly sleepy waterside Florida town not known...
Updated one month ago
Free Little Caesars for lunch today for all of America, thanks to UMBC’s NCAA upset

Free Little Caesars for lunch today for all of America, thanks to UMBC’s NCAA upset

TAMPA — Who doesn’t love free food? Who doesn’t love pizza? Well, thanks to Little Caesars and some March Madness, everybody in the country can get free pizza today. Before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament started, Little...
Updated one month ago