Category Archives: Pinellas

Beverly’s La Croisette

It’s 66 degrees (F) this morning. We’re driving 66 miles per hour. Or is it 66 degrees per mile? 66 miles per degree? One degree per mile per minute? Crazytalk.


It’s another lovely day in Tampa Bay. Well, it’s lovely to the south. To the north, it’s looking pretty non-lovely.


We’re driving all around St. Pete Beach, just checking things out. We found this road that just ends in the Intracoastal. If it weren’t for those stop signs, Ivo’d just wander on in. Good thing he can read. Oh, no, wait, he can’t read! Ivo, stop!


The best boys-n-dad=together family portrait I could get this morning. Ivo’s creeping me out here, with that look on his face.


Here comes that weather front from the north. Day is getting colder by the minute. Dad needs some coffee, boys need some cocoa, and we all need some of that best meal of the day, breakfast.


We visited Beverly’s La Croisette at 7401 Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete. Beach on 15 February 2014. Beverly has a web site at Beverly’s was recommended to us by TBB fan Jennifer, who also is a Bay Area Blogger at


Cozy little spot here. Don’t let these empty chairs fool you. By the time we left, there was a line out the door.


Menu full of pride and love. This restaurant is an extension of a home. That’s a good sign.


Today’s a special day. We have guest reviewers! Todd, who previously joined us back in June (I’m relieved to announce that neither of us is wearing the same clothes as we did 8 months ago), and his awesome daughter Magnolia.


They jumped right into the menu, and also the coloring.


Ivo took this picture. At first I thought he’d made a mistake, then I realized he just loves ketchup.


All three young ones asked for hot chocolate. All three got hot chocolate in kid-proof styrofoam cups. That’s thoughtful of them, but does reduce the overall tension for us parents. You see, I tend to amp up the breakfast tension by taking on slightly more risk than I can really handle. It’s what we entertainers do for our audience. Here you can see Ivo’s hot choco, and also the awesome reflection in the spoon. Not only did I not take that shot on purpose, I could not have possibly taken it on purpose if you’d paid me a hundred bucks. So I’m very pleased to share with you this cool and accidental but totally legit picture.


Here’s my main man Marek. He took one look at the styrofoam cup and, I’m not kidding, asked the waitress for a real coffee cup. He knows how a man is supposed to take his coffee.


Magnolia colored this picture so perfectly. I hate to point out the obvious, but she colors better than both Marek and Ivo combined. (Now, the truth is that Ivo would eat the crayons and Marek would be making jokes about farting crayon dust and neither would even TRY to color much less do a good job.)


Father-son portrait. I have new glasses. I’m taking a lot of heat at my day-job for my new “Harry Potter look.” I was really shooting for the “Singe from Underworld” look, but whatever.


Father-son portrait.


Father-daughter portrait.

These shots are how you know you’re doing it right in the fathering department.


Then Todd realized how much college was going to cost for Magnolia in 2030.


Before things got too out of control, breakfast arrived in high style. Notice the lovely Mickey ™ pancake. Notice the seriousness with which Todd approaches his role as Tampa Bay Breakfast reviewer. Notice the hijinks Marek is taking out on Todd’s plate while we’re all distracted. Marek’s mother would be mortified. Good thing she’s not with us, so we don’t have to hear about it.


Ivo got his own (probably unlicensed, downloaded from some file sharing web site) copy of the Mickey pancake.


Marek had the eggs, bacon, and home fries. And nearly cleaned his plate. For a boy who has been saying for months that he hates going to breakfast (true story, and very sad, too), he surely does like to dig in.


And finally, I had the single blueberry pancake…


… Which was the size of a hubcap off a ’72 Buick. This was one of the largest pancakes I ever did see. Not quite as large as at Jimbos, but still, really large. And also quite good, in case I forget to mention.


The real story in this picture is Magnolia’s eyes. Todd is doing a good fatherly job of prepping her plate. While she’s watching Ivo pretty much demolish his pancake and the entire restaurant behind him. She’s never seen a boy stand on his head and fit a whole plate in his mouth while hurling pancakes at the ceiling.


By this point, Todd and I have earned our dad stripes and are ready to run. Marek and Ivo lined up to pay the bill. About $36 for four breakfasts, which isn’t bad at all.


We reviewed our roles. Ivo is courier, Marek is security and navigation. They got the job done, though the waitress saw them coming and said, “oh no, I’m coming to you.”


After breakfast, Todd recommended a park just up the road with a playground, but as we got in the car it started to sprinkle rain. So we headed back to Tampa and stopped off at the Ballast Point park for some much-needed play time. Check out Marek at the foot of the slide in the background.


Here’s what he looked like up close.


We had a very fine breakfast at Beverly’s. Chow was great. They put up with us. Price was reasonable. Locals and tourists in equal measure. They put up with us. And we had Todd and Magnolia, who just made the morning as special as can be. We’re pleased to give Beverly’s La Croisette a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


Beverly's La Croisette on Urbanspoon

Lucky Dill

Here we are in Seattle. Also known as “one of the 10 icky days we’ll have this year in Tampa Bay.”


Don’t let the jackets fool ya. We’re both in shorts. I’m wearing flip flops.

This is Ivo’s new penguin, named “Penguin.” A gift from our sweet neighbor Mary Jo. You’ll now be treated to many, many pictures of Penguin, as Ivo has not been more than 6 inches from it for 24 hours now.


We visited Lucky Dill at 227 Central in St. Pete on 15 December 2013. They have a nice web site at


Playing hide and seek on the way down the sidewalk.


Not a huge menu here, but it has enough to get us by. Lucky Dill isn’t big on pancakes, but I had heard they make their own corned beef. I’m a fan of homemade corned beef.


I asked Ivo what he wanted. He thinks and thinks. “Hmmm, dad, let me think.”


Penguin wants bacon and eggs, dad!


Lucky Dill is the sort of place where you order at the counter and then they bring it to you. So here’s the dining room as seen from the counter.


We’re number 13. Lucky 13 at the Lucky Dill!


I look up and suddenly the penguin is in my face. I think Penguin is hungry.


We got Penguin comfortably seated in a proper chair so we could all have breakfast. Bacon and eggs for Ivo, hash and eggs for Andy. Start your engines, gentlecars…..


Annnnd we’re off! Chomp, chomp, chomp!


Fork. Hand. Fork. Hand. Keep them eggs a-rollin’!


Between Ivo, Penguin, and the floor, his eggs were gone in about 7 minutes.


We had already paid up front, so we just bounced back to the car and fell asleep. Penguin, too.


Then we were minding our own business when we came across this lovely gopher turtle, also looking for breakfast.


The Lucky Dill was a great experience. Everyone was very friendly. Chow was delicious and fast and affordable … all we had, including some really fine coffee, for about $12. I’m not super-fond of the order-at-the-counter business model, as it leaves us without much chance to really interact and get to know a place. We’re pleased to give Lucky Dill a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Lucky Dill on Urbanspoon

Kevin’s Kitchen

Here at Tampa Bay Breakfasts, we’re just upside-down over all the great breakfasts in Tampa Bay!

(Alternate quote, “we’re falling for breakfasts in Tampa Bay”)


We parked across the street from the original Hooters.


Window-shopping for mom for her birthday. Assault rifle or Civil War artifact or Hooters calendar? How terrible of me. To say “or.” Of course, she can have them all.


Really, we’re going next door to the gun shop and across the street from Hooters to Kevin’s Kitchen.

Guns and Hooters. For folks who aren’t from around here, I am keenly aware that in your mind, “guns and Hooters” is pronounced “Tampa Bay.”


A standard menu, laminated for maximum kid-exposure. Note that there’s an Albanian Skillet on the menu. I’d have never guessed, four years ago when we started, that Albania would be so hugely represented in The Tampa Bay Breakfastscape. There must be a dozen places with Albanian ties. Not one Italian or German breakfast here. No Korean or Russian breakfasts. But Columbia and Albania, y’all’re on top.


Good looking breakfast boys. Marek’s not with us this morning, you may have noticed. He’s off doing the Coastal Cleanup with his mother. They’re such fine people.


And Ivo and I, we’re just serious people. Serious about breakfast. Can you tell?


The best part about the interior of Kevin’s is the clock up on the wooden panel, made up of Daliesque cutlery.


I’m wearing my prized Daliesque Simpsons t-shirt. Ivo spent some time picking out the characters and asking why they look like that.

Or maybe to Ivo the whole world looks twisted, and this shirt of mine is the only thing that looks normal. That’s a shade too close to the likely truth.


And along came breakfast. Pancakes and bacon for Ivo. He pulled out his trusty knife and started cutting. And, fine boy that he is, he gave me his bacon. Without Marek here, I actually got some bacon. It was so nice. Felt like my birthday, which is already coming fast and furiously at me.


Some very nice blueberry pancakes. I mulled over the Albanian Delight, but decided that Kevin’s didn’t look like it was doing enough volume for gyros to be really good and fresh here. I’m glad I went with the pancakes, as they were really nicely done.


Here’s a caption contest picture. Is Ivo:

  1. Trying out for American Idol, Breakfast Edition?
  2. Eating a pretend pancake?
  3. Or is the blurry pancake on the plate blurry because he tried to eat the whole thing and I captured it falling off the fork, with an amazing and daring feat of phone-tography?


This picture is sooooo going in Ivo’s senior yearbook 12 years from now.


And here’s yet another, where he’s slurping pancakes like spaghetti. This kid’s got creative chops. He’s gonna be a stah.


After all that, a toast. Ivo says, “let’s do cheers, dad!”

I’m still scared at how he just mauled those pancakes, so I’m going to do anything he says.


Eleven bucks for two breakfasts. Not terrible. Ivo’s going to pay the bill. Even though, or maybe because the place was pretty empty, he was shy and needed goading.


It’s a good boy who brings the change back to his dad. One day, Ivo will go out and make some social change to go along with his breakfast change. In the mean time I’m just happy to get the money back in my pocket. It only cost me a quarter.


We had an OK time at Kevin’s. It seemed like it hasn’t been in business very long. We drive by here a lot and it’s the first time I’ve noticed it, but then again maybe I’m always staring at the Hooters across the street, hoping to see some orange hotpants. Urban Spoon doesn’t even have a listing (but I suggested it to them this morning). Not much in the way of customers and bustle. Prices OK, pancakes done nicely, coffee ran a little dry for a while. We’ll give Kevin’s Kitchen a Tampa Bay Breakfasts three pancake rating.


Kevin's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Maggie Mae’s

The Scion FR-S is a family car. Seriously, look at all the kids you can jam into this vehicle.


We’re driving down the road. Ivo says, “daddy, I can’t see!”

I say, “but why, Ivo?”

He says, “because Batman’s in my eyes.”

True story. Here’s a picture to prove it.


Marek is now officially a bookworm. I knew a young fellow three or more decades ago who was glued to a book all the time, so I don’t mind that Marek’s turning out that way, too.


We’re heading to Clearwater, which means we have to drive by the airport, which means we can go round and round up the parking garage and back down the other side, Tokyo Drift style!


The view from the top of the airport parking garage.


The view from the Clearwater Beach bridge. Lovely day for breakfast!


The view from the top of the world, Tampa Bay Breakfasts style.


We visited Maggie Mae’s on 24 August 2013. We were just in time, we got to sit outside. Maggie Mae’s is at 1261 Gulf Blvd Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, and they have a nice web site at When you go, note that it’s not obvious from the road. Look next door to The Columbia, tucked into the strip mall.


Marek announced that he was going to unwrap all the flatware for us. I asked that maybe he not, not all of it. But I do applaud his initiative, this being a boy who can’t be bothered to put on underpants and all.


The impressive menu. For a tiny spot in a strip mall, the offering is wide-ranging. This is just the first page. (I did not get the “Dad’s Best,” though that would be my “thing” to get something so named. Nor did I get the “Hillbilly Taters,” which may also find affinity with me.)


Like I say, the menu be good enough to eat. If you go to Maggie Mae’s you may be given a menu with a corner gnawed off. That’d be thanks to Ivo.


Hot chocolates for the boys. And hot coffee for me. This was before we realized we were sitting in the 140 degree morning sun. That’s Fahrenheit, for our loving readers in more northern, colder, Centigrade locales.


So I’m sitting here with a boy named Marek (not too many of those in Florida, but there’s a few, if the Internet can be believed) and a boy named Ivo (none of those in Florida, I bet) and who strolls up like it’s just a normal day, but a guy named Ivo.

(We knew he was coming, so it’s not like a complete surprise!)


Our delightful waitress was from Bremen. I thought she sounded like she was from up north. She also informed the boys that the owner of Maggie Mae’s likes Rod Stewart, a singer whom I was surprised to discover isn’t dead yet. And, in the course of the extensive background research I do for these articles, his name is actually “Roderick.”


When “Big Ivo” left his smart phone on the table, he discovered just how fast Marek can order a pizza. “Extra Angry Birds,” hollers Ivo-the-younger.


Breakfast took a little while to arrive, but this little shop was pretty slammed. Big Ivo got the pancakes, bacon, and eggs. I think, it’s not like we were actually able to talk much during the time leading up to this, what with the whirlpool of boys circling us.


Here’s what we all suspected was actually happening. Marek taking his bacon and trying to find a vein.


Younger Ivo, always with the knife, this one.

In hindsight, this was such a chaotic experience, trying to talk with big Ivo and all, I don’t even remember if the boys ate anything.


If Edgar Allen Poe had lived in Florida, the poem would read, “Quoth the Seagull … Nevermore!”


Ivo the shorter one is going to go find the check. Notice how sweaty he is now. A working breakfast professional has to endure all sorts of climates.


Off they go, intrepid lads. Ivo with the cash. Marek for security and navigation. These boys might turn into a dynamite, unstoppable team one day.


Out of focus shot (how does that happen with a modern smart phone, anyway?), but check out the curious kid assessing what they’re up to. They don’t know I’ve crept in behind them to observe. (I’m not there for security, but for curiosity, to see how they handle themselves when I’m not there.)


Our cheerful Bremener waitress caught me in the act. Apparently she thought this was a hoot.


Ivo came back with the bill (though Marek was hauling the change, for some reason). $35 for four, not bad. Especially given the waterfront location.


Heron standing watch, in case a pancake goes flying.


Big Ivo got in some after-breakfast exercise. I couldn’t get a good shot of him holding all three of us, sadly.


Sacks of taters, Seely-boy-style.


Here’s the same pose, but from the back. At about this point, Marek started chanting that we had to rent jet skis.


This is the favorite game of the day. “Swing-an-Ivo.”


The end of a great breakfast. Happy Marek. Dancing Ivo.


Maggie Mae’s lived up to the hype. Excellent food. I had the home-made corned beef hash, which was outstanding. Service was maybe a little slow, but there’s a disclaimer on the menu that “things take time,” or something like that. Price was fine, considering the location. And you can’t beat the chance to have a lovely breakfast on the back bay like this. Thanks to Big Ivo for joining us! We’re pleased to give Maggie Mae’s a Tampa Bay Breakfasts five pancake rating.


Maggie Mae's Sunrise Café on Urbanspoon

Skyway Jacks

Heading out for another awesome breakfast this morning. You know it’s an awesome breakfast day when you see a wicked ’69 Camero on Dale Mabry.


Today we’re revisiting one of the best breakfasts you can find in Tampa Bay, Skyway Jacks at 2795 34th St S, St Petersburg, FL. We’ve been here once or twice. Skyway Jacks was the 2009 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year.


We’re meeting some new friends today. Usually intrepid Ivo is being shy.


We found a fine booth, big enough for five.


Our new breakfast friend Todd. You may recognize him from his excellent work at


And our other new breakfast friend Arielle. You may recognize her from her excellent work at Creative Loafing.

Arielle and Todd, they’re in for a treat. The boys are all wound up and pingy, extra-chaotic. I dosed them with sugar and caffeine on the way in.


Studying the menu. Like we don’t already know what it’s going to be. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, coffee. Natch.


I think this is where the taunting started. The morning ended up with Marek and Ivo taking turns taunting Todd that he was a baby and a poopy-head. This shot is of Todd saying, “I am not!”


We all had a fine coffee this morning. Had to keep our strength up for the taunting.


Marek pointed out to Todd that his professional rig was nice and all, but it was no comparison to Marek’s 10-year-old hand-me-down Kodak happy-snapper. Todd gave it a try.


Arielle and Todd asked that we get breakfast all lined up for a good picture. That’s Ivo’s headless torso you see in the “good picture,” because there’s no “good” like “good enough” with us.


Followed up by a very nice self-portrait of me, with Marek and Ivo tickling and punching in the background.


Todd is part of our Ninja Attack on breakfast this morning. There are actually throwing stars and karate chops.


See? In 30 seconds, Todd’s plate is clean as the day it was made.


The bill came. $33ish dollars. Arielle tried to take the check, but Ivo did his signature hiiyah! flip through the air, followed by a “yoink!”


The boys have special jobs now. Ivo carries the cash and Marek navigates the terrain.


Arielle, not accustomed to the independent nature of these fine breakfast boys, is a bit shocked that I never once looked over my shoulder to see if they were OK. From the look on her face, they were probably getting into trouble, eating other people’s food, getting girls’ phone numbers.


With 3-year-olds, it’s always smart to hit the facilities at every opportunity.


How did you know breakfast was good? The giant chicken will tell you!


This breakfast was pretty standard for Skyway Jacks: Awesome from start to finish, made even better by the company of Arielle and Todd. Great price, wonderful food, cool atmosphere, and new friends. As good a breakfast as you can get in Tampa Bay. We’re pleased to validate Skyway Jacks with a Tampa Bay Breakfasts Five Pancake Rating.


Skyway Jack's on Urbanspoon

Lil Bit Kuntry

Blasting down the highway this morning, looking for some chow. Came across this hot little number.


That’s one sweet ride, through and through. I wished we weren’t running 70 miles an hour or I’d have been able to get a closer look.


This morning we visited Lil Bit Kuntry at 4999 71st Ave N, Pinellas Park. This was a recommendation by Tampa Bay Breakfasts fan Justin.


Kung Fu Pose from the Breakfast Boys.


In our second awesome car sighting today, we got next-to-parked by a 1962 MG. This was one nice ride. Makes the FR-S look large.


Full assault on the dining room, like a Breakfast SWAT team.


The menu is full of delightful misspellings. I’ll be honest, it took me a couple looks to realize that they were deliberate. “Wow, these are some terrible spellers.” Followed by, “oh, everything’s misspelled, it’s funny that way.”


Hot chocolate for The Marek, which is his thing now.


Sweet and Low in his coffee for Ivo, which apparently is his thing now.


How we handle head-butting children in our family.


One of the rare moments where being a father of two doesn’t seem like it was a bad idea.


Here’s breakfast, pancakes first.


Bacon, eggs, and the “Kuntry Skillet” for me. What you’re seeing here is a “two, two, and two” split down the middle.


Ivo started cutting up his pancake. He probably brought that knife from home, as the waitress didn’t give the boys knives.


Marek ‘ll tell ya, everything’s better with a little high fructose corn syrup!


Eating fork and knife European style.


This is what a breakfast looks like when it’s having to deal with The Breakfast Boys. The look on Ivo’s face? That’s him looking at someone else’s breakfast, wondering if he could get a bite of that, too.


Sixteen smackers for the bill. Not terrible. Not fabulously cheap, but not terrible.


Ivo says, I’ll pay the bill, give me your money. I say no way, man. He jumped me from behind and took the money. As you look at this picture, give appropriate sound effects: Grunt, grunt, ouch, ooof.


Me handing over a Jackson after having had wall-to-wall counseling, Ivo-style.


Ivo earned a quarter for paying the bill. Here’s the funny bit. Both him and Marek now get a coin for paying the bill. Both get very excited, very proud. And by the time we get home, both manage to lose their coins.


The FR-S is a family car. Here’s Ivo doing a less than graceful ingress into the vehicle.


It kept getting worse. By which I mean funnier. A better father would have helped him rather than just taking pictures of him struggling.


Marek picked up a business card on our way out, just in case we needed to call for take-out bacon.


Afterwards, we went up the road to the Wagon Wheel flea market. I remember going there when I was Marek’s age. When you pay to park they give you coupons for drinks and hotdogs. So those were the boys’ “tickets” to the flea market. I’m finding that there’s a lot of fun and magic to things like this.


Marek, negotiating for a big car. He settled on a 1/32nd Nissan Skyline. Really good taste this boy has.


Ivo and Marek, comparing purchases. (They both got two dollars, and spend it well.)


Good breakfast at Lil Bit Kuntry. The Kuntry Skillet wasn’t really to my liking. It was fine, but full of sausage gravy, which is something I don’t really like too much of at one time. Pancakes were nicely done, bacon good, eggs hit the mark. Clientele were friendly. Not a bad breakfast, worth a stop if you’re in the area. We’re pleased to give Lil Bit Kuntry a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Lil Bit Kuntry on Urbanspoon

Doe Does Diner

In a surprising twist, Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom and Ivo went on a breakfast by themselves, while Marek and I were off working. They asked that we publish a proper review anyway, which I think is going to work out just fine. They visited Doe Doe’s Diner at 9395 Bay Pines Blvd N, St Petersburg, FL 33708. Doe Doe’s was a recommendation from Tampa Bay Breakfasts fan Kathy R. a while back.

Check out the marquee sign. “Be kind.” That’s a positive sentiment.


Remember, Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom took our photographs for this review and handed them to me to write it up for her. So I’m going to just make stuff up.

I imagine she took this picture to give us a chance to comment on how odd it is that they close half an hour earlier on the weekend. Half an hour seems almost silly, why not just close at the same time and have a smaller sign?


The menu has scrapple on it. Grandpa would be pleased to see that. It’s surprising to me just how many places in the Tampa Bay Area serve scrapple. I can think of half a dozen.


Ivo is wearing the Stuttgart VfB shirt our friends from Stuttgart gave Marek a few years ago. Marek could wear it for about four months before outgrowing it.

We met these nice Germans, by the way, a couple days after our first anniversary, back in the mid-1990s. There’s a friendship that’s stuck through the decades.


Daily specials. Now, if the grammar police were here, which they are because Andy’s writing this, we’d feel compelled to point out that this menu appears to be serving “Atkins” as a menu item rather than a description of a specific item. Given that the Atkins Diet was created by Dr. Robert Atkins, who died a few years ago, we can certainly hope that he’s not actually … on the menu.


The dining room appears clean and welcoming. We like to see the counter to sit at. I’m seeing this for the first time, just like you are, dear reader.


It’s always a good experience when they give kids crayons and allow them to mark up the place. Ivo surely is adorable. He got lucky he looks like his mom.


Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom always likes the French Toast. A little scrambled eggs and bacon here, too, because she was out on the wild side without her husband this morning.


Pancakes for Ivo. Obviously NOT mommed-up by mom in this photograph.


The whole bill weighed in at under 10 bucks, which doesn’t look too shabby.


Good food, nice folks, and a cheap bill. What’s not to love. Mom and Ivo give this one a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Doe Does Breakfast and Lunch Diner on Urbanspoon

The Hangar

Today is Mother’s Day. Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom had a choice. Sleep late and have the morning to herself, or get up and come to breakfast with us. She made the right choice.


For Mother’s Day, Mom opted for The Hangar. She heard there were airplanes (so maybe she could make a run for it?). The Hangar is at Albert Witted Airport in St. Pete and was our Breakfast of the Year in 2010.


Our favorite table. This is the table where if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Ivo endangering his life by trying to stand on his chair to look at stuff.


Marek is lecturing Mom on the finer points of ordering. “You see,” says he, “it’s very important to get extra butter for your eggs.”


This railing is the single most irresistible thing in Ivo’s life. He simply cannot not climb it.


Father-son pose. This was taken moments before Ivo managed to hurl a chair at an airplane.

He didn’t do that, but I keep expecting something violent out of him. He may look sweet, but don’t trust this boy.


We picked up a map on the way in. Ivo’s looking for good spots to visit and terrible-two-terrorize. Terrible two-er-ize. Terri-two-er-ize.


Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom is going to have the waffle. She was disappointed that there’s no French toast.


A round of coffee for everyone! From the look on Marek’s face, you’d think his tastes like pickles.


Ivo needs his jolt of caffeine to keep the energy up.


Poof! Here’s Ivo in Marek’s chair! Note the magician pose. With a smoke cloud around him, you’d think he was The Amazing Ivo instead of just Ivo.


We live in Tampa but we like playing like tourists. People from around the world pay a lot of money to visit this place we call home. Marek went to the tourist map rack downstairs and got us information on things to see.


A Mother’s Day Cheers!


Spiderman shoes! Fast. Stylish. Not in adult sizes.


And here comes breakfast! Ivo, always ready with the knife. He actually brought this one with him, strapped to his jackboot.


A lovely, yet somewhat plain-looking and unadorned, waffle for Mom.


A heap of bacon and a pancake for Marek. Odd, though, that we didn’t actually want two pancakes for the boys.


This pancake looks like it’s the victim of a brutal back-alley knife fight. It’s like Ivo stabbed that pancake so he could steal the pancake’s strawberry wallet.


And for me, the lovely spinach and brie omelet, which is just outstanding.


Marek has taken to calling us, “The Fabulous Breakfast Boys.” That’s because he learned to read this last month, I mean it all clicked with him and words started jumping out and he started reading our little blog for himself. His world just opened up and he’s thrilled.

So here we are, The Fabulous Breakfast Boys.


Extra butter for the eggs. Just like we said. I think that’s disgusting, but who am I to complain?




The bill needed a forklift, weighing in at $45.


After we settled up we went downstairs to the lounge and sat in the comfy couches, like we were waiting to go on a flight to someplace exotic.


This is the Andy Method, by the way. Find fun and interesting public spaces and just hang out. Amazing how much fun you can have without paying heaps of cash for theme parks.


After The Hanger, we went to the Seminole Heights Market to walk around and enjoy the lovely Florida Springtime.


And we got to pet some birds. No, Ivo, we’re not getting a bird.

Isn’t Mom just lovely today?


This was our third visit to The Hangar. We love coming here for the high quality food, great ambiance, and the great views of the flight operations. The Hangar was the 2010 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year. But today we’re going to downgrade a half a point. While the food was excellent as usual, the whole experience was not what we’ve come to expect. Lipstick on the coffee cup and an order that showed up as what the waiter thought we wanted rather than what we said we wanted led to a feeling that The Hangar’s exceptionally-polished experience is becoming a little frayed. Still excellent, but less than we’ve come to expect from this great restaurant. For 2013 we give The Hangar a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


The Hangar Restaurant & Flight Lounge on Urbanspoon

Gayles Diner

It’s our fourth anniversary for Tampa Bay Breakfasts! Here’s how we look today. (That’s a Marek and Ivo head-butting in progress you’re seeing here.)


Here’s what we looked like four years ago this week. (Which was a year and a half before Ivo hired onto the team.)

Gloomy day here in Tampa Bay. It’ll clear up. We have faith in the weatherman. The lovely Don Cesar on the horizon there. Boys were all about the big castle, wonder who lives there.


We parked next to this loader. It’s seen better days. I’ve always loved derelict equipment like this. Isn’t that odd? Ivo loves it, too.


Ivo looking for his first tetanus shot, while Marek dismounts from Driftercoaster (our new name for the car) in a most inelegant fashion. Why just get out of the car when you can get out of the car butt-first?


Lovely boys. It’s a good thing they look like their mother.


They’re worth two portraits this morning. That’s how lovely they are.


This morning we were going to go to Gayle’s Diner, but I’m strongly thinking about going across the street instead. Anything called a “megacenter” has to be awesome.


Here we are at Gayles at 455 75th Ave St Pete Beach, FL. Already from the outside we can say, this is our kind of place.


Both boys insisted on sitting at the counter. Ivo’s first time, and it’s a bit perilous. He’s about a mile off the ground. I don’t usually get nervous about his safety, but in this case I sat close and was ready to yell at him if he fell off and got seriously injured.


Marek immediately placed his order. His new thing: Home fries and bacon. And also some eggs, please.


Coffee for everyone, please, ma’am.


An old, but apparently still in-use milkshake machine. An “I almost got away with it” book about a local guy (I went to school with a guy who ended up on that show, too. The key word for the show is “almost.”) I like a place where the staff keep emergency bottles of beer on the counter, just in case.


The menu: Short but just right, all the right parts in all the right places.


And breakfast came licketysplit fast. We were still goofin’, and here’s a forklift of chow. Ivo was already sawing on the pancakes before the plate stopped moving.

Notice the daughter of the proprietress, setting up coffee filters. Marek asked me how he could get a job like that.


Arial view of breakfast. This is what we’d look like if the U.S. Geological Survey were to do this blog.


Good breakfast, upon which the boys descended with vigor. Coffee making the rounds in the diner, which is small and cozy. This is an obvious family affair that has a warm vibe.


Family portrait. This is what we’d look like if I also had a 9 year old daughter.

Notice how Ivo can’t even see over the counter? He still was able to take care of business. He’s a pro.


Here’s a milestone for this year. Marek using a fork and knife. He’s like European aristocracy this morning. Which is an improvement from his usual fingers and belching.


This look on Ivo’s face? It’s because, very likely, out of camera range he’s squeezing syrup on the floor behind his back.


A bit pricey-feeling on the bill. A Jackson covers it, but barely.


Ivo raised his hand first so he got the job.


The folks behind us just laughed at this, when he ran off with the cash. But he showed everyone that he knows what he’s doing.


After we left Gayle’s, we headed straight to the beach. We played in the sand, in the water, we got sunburns, Marek picked up a 6yo girl but forgot to get her number, everything boys are supposed to do at the beach.


Apples for snacks on the way home. Notice how the Scion FR-S is a family car?


Great greasy-spoon diner with serious and sincere mom-n-pop chops. Price seemed a little high, but the chow was good and plenty of it. Everyone’s friendly and there seemed to be a lot of regulars. We all had a great time at Gayle’s and are pleased to give a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


Gayles on Urbanspoon


Ivo’s hauling Roary with him this morning. I actually brought Roary home for Marek three years ago, before you could find Roary on Sprout and you’d have to go all the way to jolly old England to find Roary.

Here’s the funniest part about it. The Roary show in the U.K. is in English, with U.K. accents, of course. Except for the American stock car race car, “Tin Top,” who has a voice like Elvis Presley. The U.S. version, they’ve dubbed all the voices into American accents … including completely changing the already-American Tin Top to a non-Elvis voice.


Marek’s playing his harmonica. I’m not smiling, I’m gritting my teeth.

My sister, Tia Cindy, got me this shirt. I’m always sort of freaked out by depictions of animals celebrating that they’re being eaten, like this pig saying “mmmm, bacon” on my shirt. I had at least three people today compliment my shirt.


This morning we’re visiting Eggstyle in Oldsmar, at 3980 Tampa Rd. They also have a flashy web site at Note on the web site that the very first thing they say is “fast-growing,” and you’ll see on the cover of the menu a statement that “franchises are available.” The web site says there’s a location in Oldsmar, one in Sarasota, and one opening soon in St. Pete. So that’s a local chain and in-bounds for the Tampa Bay Breakfasts mission.

Except that our waiter told us that the restaurant was “a Canadian chain.”

I am confused, and a bit nonplussed by the franchisy thing.


Nice interior, but a bit over-polished. The whole experience reminds me of our visit to J. Christopher’s. More on that later.


Ivo sets out the tools. Preparation for battle. Which reminds me …

We’re actually here at the recommendation of TBB fan Greg. I met Greg in Iraq three years ago and he let me stay in his CHU and use his Kindle while I was waiting for air transport for several days. Of all the people in the world to whom I acknowledge a debt, Greg’s on the top ten for that small act of mercy.

(A CHU is a containerized housing unit, which is like Da Ritz compared to the eerily-empty 100-man tent I was originally in.)


The “eggz” thing in the menu is OK, but if you’re going to run that all the way down, call the place “Eggzstyle.” The menu is very robust, lots of ways to tamp down a hunger here. I was impressed that when we asked about how the pancakes were made, we were told we could have them our way, even though it wasn’t on the menu like that.


We had an odd hot chocolate experience. Hot water and a packet for us to stir up. First time for everything, including this.


The good stuff for The Ivo.

We actually call him “The Ivo” sometimes. Not like he’s some inanimate object, more like he’s one of a kind.

If you don’t count Ivo D.


If The Ivo were a race car, he’d be as cute as Roary. If Roary were a boy, he’d be as cute as Ivo.

Also note, Marek is next to me and not in as easy camera range, so … lots more pictures of second-son for this breakfast.


Caption contest! I vote for “Gimme your wallet or I’ll cut you.”


And about this moment, Ivo’s saying, “I’m gettin’ daddy!” Note the proper katana hand grip on this one.


Odd hot chocolate moment part deux. A nice girl who was not our waiter brought us two actual, normal hot chocolates with whipped cream and everything. This was actually preferred by The Marek.


And Ivo was delighted, because he usually doesn’t get hot chocolate. More stuff to hurl around and stress out daddy, yay!


Breakfast came on a forklift. Pancakes large enough to call donk.


Bacon, eggs, home fries. All in sufficient quantities for hungry boys.


Marek approved of the bacon. I did too, I even got a bite for once, which just goes to show that there’s adequate quantities delivered here. Usually it’s “bacono disappearo” with Marek.


Ivo, oddly enough, didn’t eat much. He was too full of juice and coffee and hot chocolate and who knows what else he’s gotten into. Probably had some tamales hidden in the car that he ate on the ride over.


Though he did take a big handful of eggs. Not a forkful, a handful. There were actual animal feeding sounds.


The sweet things 2 year olds do. Ivo pulled a piece of toast and fed it to Roary. “You eat too, Roary,” said Ivo.

Everyone join me: “awwwww….”


Then he started trying to put Tabasco in his juice.


For all this chow, the bill isn’t bad. Twenty two clams for so much we couldn’t finish it all.


“I pay the bill, dad! Me!”

OK, kid. Here ya go.

Then he shied up and wouldn’t go. But while we were sorting that out we did meet the hostess, not pictured here, who was from Czechoslovakia. The Slovak side. My few words of the language didn’t pass muster (I studied for trips I took on the Czech side, so I reckon my accent was funky).


After breakfast we took The Driftercoaster (Marek’s name for the FR-S) to the car doctor for shots and a checkup.


In the showroom where we were waiting, Ivo inspected this display FR-S. He’s pointing at the tailpipe and talking about this is what makes it go fast.


Without a doubt, these are the good old days.


Our overall experience at Eggstyle was pretty good. Some oddities, but the staff were generally friendly, helpful, and prompt. The food and ambiance were very much in the spirit of J. Christopher’s in Carollwood. An added polish that takes it a step past homey and towards that almost sterile feeling you get when you’re in store # 4,230 of a national chain. My own mom-n-pop predilection is turned off by the “franchises available” on the cover of the menu. The chow was good. Big pancakes with fresh blueberries, really nice bacon, good eggs and home fries. Coffee was the way I like it: black and refilled. Read the Urban Spoon reviews and you’ll see a lot of unhappy customers at Eggstyle. The most frequent complaint was poor service, but we can’t say we had anything but a positive experience; everyone we talked to was really nice and attentive. We’re happy to give Eggstyle a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Eggstyle on Urbanspoon