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....
DOWNTOWN TAMPA — Blending their last names to create Fynn's Bar & Grill, Michael Fisher and Michael Wynn are reinventing their Franklin Street restaurant's previous incarnations, Tunduree, Magic of the Indian Grill, and before that, Metro Restaurant and Lounge.
They look for late-night diners to be their niche. Appetizers, soups, salads, top sirloin, ribs and mahi mahi are available nightly until midnight....
02/25/14 Human Interest
Fashion Funds the Cure
Youngsters modeling at Fashion Funds the Cure earned thunderous applause from the 800-strong crowd absorbing sobering but inspiring statistics. In 11 years since the Pediatric Cancer Foundation asked cancer patients to be in the fashion show, 10 are in treatment, 70 no longer battle cancer, 15 passed away and $3.65 million has been raised for clinical trials and research, including $450,000 on Saturday night....
02/20/14 Human Interest
Art should push perceptions and challenge conventions, says Brandon Hicks, architect and president of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, a Tampa outdoor art show older than he is. • "Everyone should have an opinion about art and architecture. That's the point," Hicks said, "to get people involved and engaged." • Controversial art, a.k.a. nudes, launched the festival when it got the boot from the Florida State Fair years ago. It turned into the Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival in 1970 and has been staged variously along Whiting, Ashley and Franklin streets until it landed at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in 2010. • Hicks, 40, oversees strategic planning for the prestigious juried festival, which is expected to draw 100,000 viewers Saturday and March 2. • Just one-quarter of 1,000 applicants are invited to display and sell their artwork, photography, sculpture, jewelry and fine crafts. • Hicks volunteered to help a friend with site planning in 2009. The next year he co-chaired that committee, then spent two years as festival co-chairman. He doesn't take the legacy lightly when he pursues partnerships to further a reputation for high-quality work, nationally prominent jurors and cash prizes totaling $75,000. • The University of Florida grad is influenced by the livability of Budapest, Prague and other capitals he visited during two semesters of study in Italy, where he met his wife, Sarah Joubert, also an architect and the festival's treasurer. Now Riverside Heights residents, the couple worked together for two years before she was lured to a large firm and he formed Twelfth Street Studio in the Channel District. Times reporter Amy Scherzer asked Hicks about the festival's longevity and the politics of art and architecture....
02/20/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — Coffee entrepreneur Jessica Glover expanded into Seminole Heights this month, opening Jet City Espresso on N Florida Avenue, north of Hillsborough Avenue. Her Hyde Park coffee bar on Edison Avenue remains open daily.
Neighbors quickly swarmed to the cozy bungalow for coffee, espresso, chai latte and her signature Cafe Borgia, a honey- and orange-infused latte. They also liked the free Wi-Fi and ample parking....
02/20/14 Human Interest
TAMPA — Most Americans are only familiar with foods from two or three Asian countries, say the owners of Royal Palace Thai. Now they say it's time to discover Philippine, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Mandarin and other Asian cuisines.
Randall Knowles, who runs the S Howard Avenue restaurant with his wife, Tapanee Damrongwatanasuk, are introducing a new small-plates menu called SoHo Hawkers....
TAMPA — An indoor bounce house for the kids and a coffee lounge for the grownups could bring happy faces to South Tampa parents.
"My wife, Jenn, and I grew tired of driving to Westchase and Brandon to similar facilities with our two children," said Mike Addabbo, who is turning a 10,500 square-foot, former wrestling gym into PlayGrounds of Tampa on S Dale Mabry Highway, just north of Gandy Boulevard. ...
02/19/14 Human Interest
Florida Hospital Pepin's Valentine's Dinner
Bring your sweetie to dinner, Tom and Lauren Pepin proposed, to help Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute furnish a $3.7 million hybrid cath lab/operating room. Their annual Valentine's Day benefit attracted 400 guests to dine at tables for two, four, eight or 30 if you sat at co-chair Marilyn McPhail's table. Puff n' Stuff prepared a six-course French menu for a romantic Paris Ville de l'Amour theme, Novu Entertainment kicked up a Moulin Rouge can-can and a 22-foot tall Eiffel Tower illuminated TPepin's Hospitality Centre....
SAFETY HARBOR — The Sound of Music hooked Jerry Slutzky on musical theater at age 8. The Music Man sent him running to join the band, playing trombone like Professor Harold Hill in many high school productions. He landed the lead in The Pajama Game after law school, swapping orchestra pit for community stage.
Some 50 shows later, the north Tampa lawyer and certified financial planner, now 60 and divorced nearly two decades, realized he only needed an audience of one....
02/12/14 Human Interest
The Heart Gallery's Night in Foreverland
A Night in Foreverland co-chairs Katina Markowski and Meghan McGuire borrowed Peter Pan's longing for bedtime stories and goodnight kisses to market the Children's Board's Heart Gallery at the second annual Be Mine gala. They even got R.D. Curtis, 15, to wear green tights like the boy from Neverland. His mother, Tammy Curtis, adopted him, she told the sold-out party Feb. 6 at the Straz Center, because she saw his picture in the mobile gallery and website of foster kids seeking "forever families."...
DOWNTOWN TAMPA — Four of his favorite things were missing from the downtown Tampa food scene, said newcomer Chuck Goldstein, who opened Sunny Side-Up this week to fill that perceived culinary gap.
The longtime Memphis caterer sold his business, moved to the Channel District and with his wife and co-chef Marci began exploring restaurants in their new city. Their research resulted in a tiny, take-out restaurant in the former Duckweed grocery mart around the corner from Tampa Theatre....