04/23/14 Human Interest
Best of Tampa Bay
The beer garden on the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts waterfront was hopping with 11 microbreweries tapping samples at the Best of Tampa Bay. Cigar City, 7venth Sun, Coppertail Brewing, Two Henrys and the others "made a difference with attendance this year," said Rob Witmeyer, co-chairman of the 29th annual culinary fundraiser with his wife, Sara, and the Producers volunteer group. About 1,800 guests descended on 40 restaurants, caterers and vendors April 5 on the Riverwalk and inside the performing arts center. Neither Witmeyer would reveal a favorite, but Rob raved about "incredible scallops" from Dempsey's Steak House at Saddlebrook Resort and Sara loved the eggplant dish from Anaar Bar and Grill. Music filled the night, ending with dancing to Daniel B. Marshall tunes. The event added more than $100,000 to the $2 million-plus it previously raised for performing arts education at the Straz....
TAMPA — A fresh-pressed juice bar with a tech lounge on the first floor, a state-of-the-art fitness center and spa on the second floor and a video conference center on the third floor — that's the vision for the Urban Juice Co., opening in mid May in "the Franklin," a historic building on Franklin Street.
"We are looking to build a brand that is a modern-day version of Starbucks that centers around fresh juice meals and healthy foods rather than coffee and pastries," said Todd Lax, co-owner with Kevin Kenny. Originally, the two lawyers, both 42, and friends since their Chamberlain High School days, thought they would house their legal and real estate practices there....
04/15/14 Human Interest
The nocturnal jungle of Lowry Park Zoo awoke in vivid splendor, unleashing couture spring glamor and Latin and reggae music at Karamu XXVI, the zoo's annual black-tie gala. Co-chairwoman Toni Everett greeted nearly 400 guests in a custom-designed tangerine gown by Magali of Buenos Aires. Her daughter and co-chairwoman Henderson Everett Lee wore a stunning fuchsia design by Herve Leger coupled with sky-blue Christian Louboutin heels....
04/09/14 Human Interest
United Way Suncoast's Art of Giving
On the runway: fashions by designer Rami Kashou, nattily narrated by Lifetime's Project Runway co-host and mentor Tim Gunn at United Way Suncoast's 10th anniversary Art of Giving dinner April 4.
Near the tarmac: live music and buffets by Air Culinaire, PDQ and Timpone's at Peter O. Knight Airport. Hangar acoustics were a challenge but Gunn and emcee Rod Carter, WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor, expressed endless admiration for United Way services. Gunn made it personal during the Q&A session and live auction, including inviting Martin and Nancy Koch for lunch during the New York trip they bought for $6,600. Funds raised provide Summer Care early literacy and financial education classes for working families, said CEO Diana Baker, who plans to retire later this year....
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The cherry blossoms began to bud along the Tidal Basin, a splash of pink consolation for Keith Bucklew and Mark Anderson, whose home state did not allow them the legal right to get married.
Instead, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor welcomed the couple to wed in her Capitol Hill office. Keith's former sister-in-law, U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew, officiated Thursday.
The ceremony that morning, the first wedding to take place in Castor's office, seemed surreal....
04/02/14 Human Interest
St. Joseph's Hospitals' Stepping Out Gala
Oh, What a Night was Saturday night, when the original cast of Jersey Boys packed the dance floor singing at the Midtown Men at St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation's Stepping Out gala. The elegant dinner and auction topped the charts, just like the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hits sung by the band. Gala co-chairs Johnny and Susan Adcock were delighted to honor their friend Lee Kirkman, physician of the year, head of the BayCare and HealthPoint medical groups, "and my mother's doctor," Johnny Adcock said....
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Seminole Heights will have a new place to linger over coffee, lunch and dinner by midsummer when the Bourgeois Pig opens in a long-vacant Nebraska Avenue bungalow.
Owners Lysa and Michael Bozel offered a taste of what's to come at a recent benefit for another restaurant, Domani Bistro, which was destroyed by fire in February. A citrus gulf shrimp Florida roll with avocado, pickled red onions, baby greens and fresh herbs nestled in rice paper was a hit....
03/26/14 Human Interest
Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival
The number 18 has a spiritual meaning in Judaism, making the 18th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival extra special, chairman Stewart Donnell reminded the opening night audience at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Jewish federations of Tampa, Pinellas and Pasco counties ("We're bi-Bay," quipped Tampa Jewish Federation director Jack Ross) partnered to offer 12 Israel and Jewish heritage films at 10 theaters....
SOUTH TAMPA — The caricatures on the wall of the Palm restaurant are crying at the news that the tony watering hole known for steaks and giant lobsters is closing Monday.
"So much competition, so many good restaurants," said general manager Mark Colbath, "where we used to have a captive audience.
That said, the upscale Westshore Plaza corner has been slammed with customers as they've heard the news. ...
03/19/14 Human Interest
Patel birthday bash
Happy Birthday, Kiran Patel, sang several hundred friends and family members March 10, as admirers were invited to plant 65 trees in honor of his 65th birthday. The festivities began at the 14-acre Patel family compound being erected on White Trout Lake in Carrollwood, then moved a few miles west for an Indian dinner buffet and a golf course-shaped birthday cake at the India Cultural Center. Photos of the businessman, cardiologist, father, grandfather and golfer with "big dreams" flashed across screens as many guests rose for laudatory toasts. Tearfully, Dr. K, credited his late father and everyone there for "pushing me up that mountain."
51st Chiselers Auction Preview Party ...
NORTH TAMPA — Two bartenders walk into a bar. … One asks the other to marry him. Heck yeah, she says.
No joke, that's how Pedro Vicens and Julia Holzemer ended a shift at Skipper's Smokehouse in late 2012.
The couple, both 41, who have heard just about every bar joke out there, personify bartender traits — attentive ear, empathetic counsel, a generous pour — coincidentally, qualities that can benefit a marriage....
HYDE PARK — The new owners of Hyde Park Village are asking for patience as they try to resuscitate the high-end retail complex in the heart of historic Hyde Park.
"Vacancy is never good for anybody," vice president of development Lou Masiello told a group of homeowners and preservationists at a recent breakfast gathering. "Not the landlord, not the city, the public or the other tenants."...
New businesses: West Shore seafood market; kids' consignment in Palma Ceia; Apollo Beach art gallery03/12/14Retail
The lure of fresh fish reeled in a crowd at Southern Seafood's March 8 grand opening on S West Shore Boulevard.
"I got tired of asking for the fish of the day and hearing it was something from across the globe. That's ridiculous," said co-owner Pete Palori, a fifth-generation Tampa native and a 1999 Plant High grad.
The daily menu is whatever divers caught or speared that day: snapper, grouper, hogfish and other local species. Shrimp comes from the Versaggi Co....
03/12/14 Human Interest
Opera Tampa Gala
Opera philanthropists Dr. Zena Lansky and Warren Rodgers honored Straz Center director Judy Lisi by sponsoring Saturday's Spanish-flavored Opera Tampa Gala hosted by co-chairwomen Lea Davis and Kathleen Casey-Shannon. The black-tie evening opened with cocktails on the set of Bizet's Carmen in Morsani Hall with Carmen herself, Alessandra Volpe. Dinner starred lobster risotto, tenderloin and basil gnocchi in the lobby where maestro Daniel Lipton proudly presented Opera Tampa singers to the 140 guests....
03/05/14 Human Interest
DeBartolo Family All Star Charity Gala
Few foundations have the resources to entertain patrons like the DeBartolo Family. Eddie and Candy, with daughters Lisa and Nikki, elegantly camouflaged a hangar at Peter O. Knight Airport in Davis Islands for their 11th All Star Charity Gala. Planes out; tables, stage, dance floor in. Acrobatic acts swung, orchids hung. Las Vegas act Bob Anderson sung, comic Jay Mohr stung....