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


  1. IV drips energize, Tennis Plaza aces Westshore, Stained Market repurposes in Seminole Heights


    PALMA CEIA — Need a pick-me-up? Anesthesiologist Uhuru Smith offers a variety of therapeutic IV drips to rehydrate and energize at HangIVer Bar on Manhattan Avenue.

    Clients' vital signs are checked at the spa-like office to be sure they medically qualify for hydration treatments. They sign a consent waiver and a nurse or paramedic injects vitamins, amino acids and fluids to fight fatigue, nausea, pain and dehydration. ...

  2. Everybody's Business for July 18: salon, pizza and CDB's


    WEST SHORE DISTRICT — No hair cutting, no hair coloring — just wash, blow and go: That's the speedy salon appeal of Blo Blow Dry Bar.

    Cynthia Keenan and husband Brian, a Tampa banker, will open Blo Blow, their first franchise and the international chain's 44th, on July 25 in MetWest International, near Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in the West Shore district.

    Choose from seven hairstyles for $40, said Cynthia, who is known for her photography, interior decorating and graphic design work. Prices rise to $55 for extensions and $65 for up-dos. Offsite services, Blo on the Go, are available for weddings and other events at $75 per style....

  3. $900,000 community effort will transform ugly Swann Avenue Pond

    Human Interest


    Yucky, mucky Swann Avenue Pond will soon undergo a million-dollar transformation into the Hyde Park Gateway.

    In the fall, the block between Rome and Packwood avenues will be extensively landscaped and enclosed in wrought-iron estate fencing. The overgrown retention pond will be cleaned out and centered with a lighted fountain. New sidewalks will be poured and existing paths widened. Two shaded shelters and nine benches will be installed, including one painted red to thank a major donor to the project. ...

    Swann Avenue Pond in Hyde Park Village, shown July 11, will have upgrades including cleaning, widening of sidewalks, the addition of benches and shelters and other improvements. Work is set to begin in the fall.
  4. London Philips dresses up SoHo, Inside the Box serves West Shore, SoHo Juice opens


    HYDE PARK — Manhattan SoHo style has arrived in Tampa's own SoHo with the opening of menswear boutique London Philips on Howard Avenue just north of Bayshore Boulevard.

    Married co-owners Sasha Fruitticher and Tampa native John Yodzis display shirts, slacks, shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, sunglasses and other accessories, featuring such labels as Gant Rugger, Jack Spade, Billy Reid and Shipley & Halmos....

  5. From This Day: Mideastern magic brings couple together


    TAMPA — Just another night serving hummus and shawarma, thought Natalie Fulcher, as she ferried Mideastern favorites to diners at Byblos Cafe in South Tampa.

    Just another night until it became Some Enchanted Evening when a stranger saw her across the crowded room.

    Natalie noticed Kuwaiti native Waleed Al Husain, 47, noticing her that night in April 2013. "But I wasn't his server and we never spoke."...

    Natalie Fulcher noticed Waleed Al Husain noticing her working at Byblos Cafe in South Tampa when he dined with an international contingent working from MacDill Air Force Base.
  6. Neighbors wary of private school's planned expansion


    BAYSHORE BEAUTIFUL — A severe lack of parking and a call to expand performing and visual art extracurriculars on a small campus are causing growing pains between the Academy of the Holy Names and its surrounding neighbors.

    Academy president Arthur Raimo strove to avoid an adversarial tone at a recent meeting with community members when he presented plans for the southwest corner of the school's property: a performing and visual arts center adjacent to a 230-space parking garage topped with an athletic deck....

    A rendering shows the parking garage with sports courts on the top level that is part of an expansion plan at the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa’s Bayshore Beautiful neighborhood.
  7. Squeeze juices Hyde Park; Cigar City Outpost opens at MacDinton's, Hip Hop blooms near West Shore


    HYDE PARK — Squeeze Juice Works brings its selection of organic, cold-pressed juices, cleanses and healthy foods to Hyde Park on July 1. Owner Kelly Lessem and partners Amy Losoya and Mike Indrigo chose the corner of S Boulevard and Platt Street for their second location because of its proximity to "south Tampa walkers, University of Tampa students, hospital workers and easy access to Selmon Expressway," Lessem said....

  8. Three restaurants open, one in evicted BB&T space


    DOWNTOWN TAMPA — Downtown diners have waited nearly six years for a restaurant to reopen on the ground floor of the BB&T Bank at Ashley Drive and Madison Street.

    By late July, they'll find Nature's Table serving "healthy fast food" in 1,200 of the 5,000 square feet occupied by Lucky Dill until its September 2008 eviction.

    It will be the fifth Nature's Table location for franchisees John and Cindy Olejnik, working with their children, executive chef Jonathan and general manager Heather....

    Anise Global Gastrobar in the Skypoint Condominium has expanded, just 15 months after opening, to include the space vacated next door by Five Guys. It’ll triple the kitchen size.
  9. Thomas Mantz of Feeding America Tampa Bay talks about challenges

    Human Interest

    It's not a lack of food that boggles Thomas Mantz's mind, but the vast amount of food wasted every day.

    "Most in our community would have food on their table if so much wasn't thrown out," said Mantz, executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the United States.

    Like a deep-sea treasure hunter, Mantz, 51, leads the recovery effort, diving into relationships with grocers, manufacturers and restaurants that reeled in 43 million pounds of food last year. But there is a distribution challenge: How do 500 partner agencies get the food to more than 700,000 needy people in west-central Florida? ...

    Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay, poses for a photograph among cases of food in the warehouse off 50th Street in Tampa on Monday. 
  10. Newlyweds renovate historic Rialto Theater as art and event space

    Human Interest


    Some couples buy a small starter house and save for their dream home. Hope Donnelly and George Carter II are aiming for bigger and bolder.

    They bought the 88-year-old Rialto Theater with a plan to renovate and run creative arts businesses in the historic movie palace on the north end of Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. Dance classes start this month and the ambitious newlyweds expect to host competitions, art and photography exhibitions and rent space for weddings, fashion shows and charity events....

    Hope Donnelly and George Carter II were wed April 12 at the Rialto Theater. They bought the Rialto with an idea in mind: to turn it into a party rental venue, dance studio, art gallery and business space. Read about the couple’s wedding at this link:
  11. Restaurants and kitchen design company to open bay locations


    CHANNEL DISTRICT — Two different restaurant-bar concepts separated by a soundproof wall add variety to the Channel District dining and drinking scene. Maloney's Local Irish Pub will open June 23, and the Hideaway lounge will open about a month later, in Grand Central at Kennedy, on the corner of Meridian and Madison streets.

    Co-owners Brian Pfeiffer and Todd Wingard also operate Maloney's in Westchase (since 2009) and the Hideaway in Clearwater (since 2010)....

  12. From This Day: Dancers in step from the start


    TAMPA — As if wedding planning isn't crazy enough, imagine buying and restoring the 88-year-old Rialto Theater just six months before the big day.

    Hope Donnelly and George Carter II saw professional dance competitions, photography exhibitions and charity fundraisers among the endless possibilities for the aging building they bought in October on the northern end of Franklin Street in downtown Tampa....

    Partners in dance and life, Hope Donnelly and George Carter II wed April 12, 2014, at the Rialto Theater, which they bought to turn into a party rental venue, dance studio, art gallery and small business office space. The downtown Tampa theater, built in 1925 and opened in 1926, has been a performance hall, movie theater, auto repair garage and equipment storage warehouse.
  13. Plant High Class of '44 gathers for 70th reunion

    Human Interest


    They entered Henry B. Plant High School just before America entered World War II. They graduated just five days before D-day.

    In between, Henry B. Plant High School's Class of 1944 devoured movie magazines at O'Brien's Drugstore and rode streetcars to Ybor City to eat at the Columbia or Las Novedades. They saw Casablanca, the year's best picture Oscar winner, at the atmospheric Tampa Theatre. They drank Cokes at the Colonnade and jitterbugged in the Sapphire Room, called the "Sure-fire Room" with the right date, at the Floridan Hotel. The downtown Tampa Terrace hotel and the Rose Room in the Henry Hudson Hotel on Davis Islands were popular spots....

    Duckie Young Smith
  14. Amy Scherzer's Diary: roundup of Tampa social events

    Human Interest

    Fork Fight 2014

    Numbers count at Fork Fight, starting with about 90 chefs, cooks and servers working on five intricate courses, each paired perfectly with wine, for 430 foodies supporting Feeding America Tampa Bay. CEO Thomas Mantz and chairwoman Suzanne Luecke rolled video tallying 700,000 "food insecure" residents in 10 counties, including 250,000 kids. Board chairman Richard Blau, a food law attorney, offered an annual "stockholders" report: 40 million pounds of food donated last year from growers, manufacturers, supermarkets and community food drives. That became 36 million meals a year, thanks to 70,000 hours of volunteer time. His favorite number: stretching $1 into 15 meals....

    Feeding America Tampa Bay treasurer Tim Merrick, left, thanks volunteers Lynne Billing and Paula Binder and board chairman Richard Blau for helping make Fork Fight 2014 so successful.
  15. Petra brings Mideast fare near University of Tampa


    TAMPA — The late-June opening of halal restaurant Petra expands South Tampa's global cuisine profile, bringing Mediterranean fare to W Kennedy Boulevard, just east of Willow Avenue.

    "Everything is made from scratch — falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, said Muein Alutaibi, one of the owners, along with Ayman Saed and Musa Hamdan. Also a variety of kebabs and shawarma seasoned with a blend of Middle Eastern spices....