Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381

Email: ascherzer@tampabay.com

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  1. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay History Center Gala

    Over cocktails in the Lykes Atrium, descendants of pioneer families mixed with more recent Tampa arrivals, such as Air Force Col. Dan Tulley, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, at the annual Tampa Bay History Center Gala. So entwined are the city's social and historical roots that I counted more than a dozen Gasparilla royals, including museum board and gala chairman Jim Robbins, 1971 Queen Brenda Ketchey, 1977 King Richard Clarke and new Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Capt. Rex Farrior. That's "living history."...

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photos  Paul Whiting,left, chats with his mother Gail Whiting at the Tampa Bay History Center gala on Oct. 10.
  2. Amy Scherzer's weekly wrapup of the social scene

    Human Interest

    18th annual Night of the Iguana

    Landlubbers sailed into a nautical-themed Night of the Iguana, sampling from 14 restaurants, dancing to the Black Honkeys and fulfilling Make-A-Wish Foundation's list of dreams for seriously ill children. The party, begun 18 years ago at the Green Iguana restaurant, docked a fleet of 600 guests at Mainsail Suites Hotel on Sept. 26. Several "WishKids" expressed their appreciation, including Parker Lentini, who got to hang out with Tampa Bay Rays player Ben Zobrist....

    Kyle Wisniewski helps his dad Mike, chairman of the board of JDRF Tampa Bay, raise funds for diabetes research at Mad for a Cure, Motown Edition. 
  3. Noi and the Bake cook Italian to Interbay; the Joint cracks Palma Ceia, Amelia's Abubut fashions for kids

    Retail

    INTERBAY — An Italian renaissance is under way at the southern end of Bayshore Boulevard with the arrival of the Bake, a cafe and bakery, and Noi (translates as "us") Italian Kitchen and Bar.

    Michael Adamo, who previously owned Cellini's and later Mario's Trattoria at the site, stayed on as a consultant to the new operators.

    "The original entrance now leads to two entities," Adamo said. ...

  4. Fresh Kitchen bowls over SoHo; jeans and java in Ybor

    Retail

    SOUTH TAMPA — It doesn't get much easier — or healthier — than a breakfast, lunch or dinner bowl at Fresh Kitchen, the newest addition to the Ciccio Restaurant Group.

    It's this simple: Pick a starch (rice, quinoa, kale slaw, sweet potato noodles and more); then choose two proteins, two veggies, a sauce (maybe ginger or coconut Sriracha) and pay $9.50 ($6 for kids' size; additional charge for steak, shrimp and tuna). A family-style order feeds four or five people for $33....

  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    CITY: Fashion+ Art+Culture

    "Gray matters … it replaces basic, boring black," said Robert Robideaux, Neiman Marcus public relations manager, assessing the anything-but-boring runway parade that was CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture. Heads bobbed as the Prada-and-prosecco crowd took in leggy models and stunning spectators at the Tampa Museum of Art. Grille One Sixteen passed hors d'oeuvres, complementing Eddie V's Prime salmon and steak buffet; Chocolate Pi and this newspaper's Sweet Times tendered desserts. Timing the Sept. 19 benefit to fashion week, co-chairwomen Mary Kelly and Sandy Juster's glam scene attracted hundreds of stylish young donors. Congrats to Gail Chibani, winner of the Treasures of Vienna and Prague vacation drawing....

    MacDonald Training Center CEO Jim Freyvogel stands behind Steve Beauchaine at the 60th anniversary gala.
  6. J. McLaughlin dresses Hyde Park Village; California Tacos opens ; Veya Spa pampers downtown

    Retail

    HYDE PARK VILLAGE — Tradition tweaked, classic yet contemporary — that's J. McLaughlin, Hyde Park Village's newest tenant. The fashion retailer's 84th store, featuring women's and men's sportswear and accessories, opens today near Piquant Cafe.

    No two stores are alike, and this time the high-end clothier, owned by brothers Jay and Kevin McLaughlin, has stocked a transitional fall collection, including cashmere sweaters. Resort wear will debut next month, said manager Lauren Young, formerly of the Sarasota store that is one of 10 Florida locations....

  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Art of Helping Children Gala

    Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, now CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, gladly presented local "Bigs" and "Littles" of the year at the 16th annual Art of Helping Children Gala on Saturday. Sponsor Rod Broadrick, smiling like a Cheshire cat, ran down the math: With expenses to match a child with a mentor running $1,000, the 600 guests raised enough to get 400 kids off the waiting list in the seven counties served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay....

    John Gilmore, left, Gourmet Feastival co-chairmen Dave Williams and Sul Hemani and Big Nasty (a.k.a. Keith Kunzig) support the Centre for Women’s annual Gourmet Feastival.
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    FARA Energy Ball

    A couple of chocolate Labrador puppies fetched bids of $30,000 and $35,000 each at the FARA Energy Ball, unleashing an auction frenzy that helped raise $1.8 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the USF Health Ataxia Research Center.

    Between dinner and dancing to the Spazmatics' rocking hits of the '80s, another $306,000 sprang from co-chairs Tara and Tod Leiweke's "James Taylor Challenge" — two tickets to a November concert at Amalie Arena for all $1,500 donors. The top 10 givers will get backstage passes and an autographed guitar, emcee and WFTS-Ch.28 anchor Wendy Ryan announced at A La Carte Event Pavilion....

    Carla and Punit Shah host the Martinis for Moffitt after-party July 19 at their new hotel, Aloft, in downtown Tampa.
  9. Everybody's Business for Sept. 19: 'Tampa Cuban' cuisine

    Retail

    SOUTH TAMPA — Third-generation Tampa natives Rodney and Ricky Rodriguez honor Cuban national hero José Martí with a modern menu of island specialities at their new restaurant, Café Martí, which opened Sept. 4 on Gandy Boulevard, near S Dale Mabry Highway.

    Martí knew their great-grandfather and wrote poems to their great-aunts, and they were surprised to learn the name wasn't already taken....

  10. Save the date: Tampa-Hillsborough 2014-15 society datebook

    Events

    TAMPA — A simple, silly, out-of-the-box revenue opportunity, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, sure put the fun into giving money for a serious cause. Rarely is philanthropy as astonishingly successful as all those millions of video dumper donors inciting others to fund a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Bucket by bucket, the social media phenomenon raised more than $110 million.

    Will Doubtfire Face, the pie-in-the-face challenge inspired by the late Robin Williams' movie Mrs. Doubtfire, do as well for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention?...

  11. Holy Hog smokes downtown; Platinum Zipper boutique blings out

    Retail

    TAMPA — Ceiling fans whirl over picnic tables outside the newest Holy Hog BBQ, cooling customers downing St. Louis-style ribs, smoked ham, pork, turkey, chicken, sausage, brisket and more.

    "We're excited to be part of the mayor's downtown vision," said owner Danny Hernandez, who renovated a former sub shop downtown on the corner of Franklin Street and Kennedy Boulevard, opposite Lykes Gaslight Park and a block south of the police station. Thursday's opening day proceeds will be donated to two fire and police personnel support groups....

  12. Graffiti Junktion chugs into Palma Ceia; La Sunshine Boutique dresses downtown; Premier Barber snips vets

    Retail

    PALMA CEIA — The early November opening of sports bar Graffiti Junktion on Bay to Bay Boulevard brings welcome renovation to a former wing joint that flew the coop long ago.

    "We're giving some love to the building, which has a lot of character but needs updating," said Mike Shaw, owner of the South Tampa franchise, the eighth location for the Orlando-based chain. The first Graffiti Junktion outside of Orlando opened Monday near the University of South Florida and Shaw is scouting more area locations....

  13. Longtime dress shop owner, 90, retiring; store closing

    Retail

    TAMPA

    Every cocktail dress and wedding gown, veil and tiara — everything is marked down for final sale as Helen Cabrera prepares to close her N Armenia Avenue dress shop.

    Customers flock, but not just to shop. The reduced prices are certainly a draw, but they also come to thank the fashionable lady who has dressed them for special occasions for 43 years.

    "I love beauty and elegance," says Cabrera, who turns 91 next month and is still in command. Since recovering from colon surgery two years ago, she has continued to work at her eponymous shop five days a week....

    Helen Cabrera has matched customers with fashions from her dress shop for decades.
  14. Mediterranean cuisine, simply mac and cheese, a new salon and event decor

    Retail

    DAVIS ISLANDS — Downtown Davis Islands' popular dining corner's newest incarnation, Fountain Square Mediterranean Cuisine, combines "the best of 14 countries on the Mediterranean Sea," says owner Alex Chouri, naming some of his Lebanese, Greek and Italian specialities. Previous tenants at the East Davis Boulevard restaurant include a deli (Freid's), a Cuban cafe (Pipo's), Chez Bryce (French cuisine) and Bailey's (southern comfort fare)....

  15. From This Day: Mom's dress, Gran's spirit, one happy couple

    Relationships

    TARPON SPRINGS — Even before they met in person, Stephanie Collins already thought Greg Becker was an unusually patient man.

    Maybe because as an auto mechanic he's attuned to listening for pings and grinds. Maybe from living with his ailing grandmother the last year of her life.

    "It took him two months of chattering on a dating website to convince me to come out and meet him," she said, his perseverance noted....

    Collins family photo Amy Collins was married in the wedding dress long before her daughter Stephanie Collins Becker.