Lenny’s Restaurant

We visited Lenny’s at 21220 Us Highway 19 N in Clearwater on 6 March 2010. Lenny’s was recommended to us by our old friend and Tampa Bay Breakfast alum, Jeff. This was our first visit.

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Lenny’s is clearly a Baseball Place. A Phillies place. I was in Little League in the early 80s. That’s the extent of my baseball knowledge. Oh, also, I do know that “ball” in Spanish is “pelota.”

lennys-phillies

So we’re not reaaaallllly baseball kids, Marek and I. But we ARE hometown kids. Which means that given the choice we love the Rays, the Bucs, and the Bolts. And we pay jusssttt enough attention to baseball to know that last year the Phillies were really rude to Rays fans during the World Series. We’re keeping an open mind, but first we’re going to try out these awesome bleacher seats.

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Marek says, “come ON, Homer, less cornball more pancake!”

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Inside is crowded. That’s a good sign. We can’t imagine this many people showing up for pukecakes and ickybacon. Everyone’s very friendly and welcoming. We get a booth right away. See the baseball bats on the ceiling?

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Immediately we realize that we’ve sat in the dangerous Dune Buggy Zone. Watch Out! Dune Buggies! Run!

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Marek gets it under control right away. Then he starts just whipping these cars around at Maximum Dune Buggy Speed, which is not exactly NASCAR speed, but it’s still way too fast for the breakfast track.

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Lucky for all the innocent bystanders, the cops showed up. German cops, in fact.

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All this, and we haven’t even looked at the menu. What a day, and it’s only 0830. Check out the Redneck Benedict. Now think about this from a breakfast science point of view. Can you REALLY go wrong in a place that has “Redneck Benedict” on the menu?

Really, now, can you?

Well. Probably.

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But when you flip the page and find all these fine breakfasts named after lovely ladies from decades past, you realize then that this is a Good Place. Any breakfast joint that loves breakfast enough to name it “Lorraine” is OK by us.

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Right away they brought us the “complimentary Danish basket.” Now I tell you, this almost threw off our mojo. We came here to sample the pancakes, but we could have just fell into this basket, had a cuppa Joe and left full. These were good Danishes! Marek pulled a snatchy-grabby on one before the basket hit the table.

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And the good news kept rolling in. Here comes coffee!

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Boldly Black. This is good, standard diner swill. Just the way we like it. And it didn’t stay empty long, which is also the way we like it.

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We start talking sports and breakfast. You know, the kinds of things all fathers and sons discuss. Marek says, hey old man, if you took the Rays and the Phillies and gave them all dune buggies and told them to race from here to Thonotosassa, who do you think would win? I answered calmly, with the gravitas that comes with age and experience. Clearly, the Tampa buggy team would win. While Philly folk may beat us on being rude, the concept of Road Rage was invented in Tampa. We agreed. Cheers!

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Since we were having a Serious Baseball Discussion in what is obviously a Serious Baseball Place, we tried to play the part by getting in each other’s faces about abstract statistics of players who died in 1926. If only we had beer to throw at each other!

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Lucky for me, breakfast came. Marek was starting to get a little upset that I thought the ‘74 Oakland A’s would have made lousy dune buggy racers. Notice the bacon heist in progress. Where’s the Polizei when you need them?!

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As you may have figured out by now, dear reader, Marek is not adverse to a little bacon with his pancakes. What is not obvious here is that I also am not adverse to a little bacon with my pancakes. But I seem to have lost all the bacon when I was busy fiddling with taking a picture. That, loyal TBB fans, is the price that I pay for you every weekend. We at Tampa Bay Breakfasts are about service and sacrifice.

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Marek gave that bacon the Houdini treatment and jumped into some pancakes.

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Can you tell by looking at these pictures that the pancakes need something? What do you think it is? Butter? Syrup? Fruit? Chocolate chips?

If you thought any of those, you’d be just wrong. Clearly, preposterously wrong. These pancakes need pepper.

What? Don’t look at ME. It wasn’t MY idea. I’m not going to eat that.

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But sure enough, Marek digs right in. I think he gets that from his mother’s side.

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The bacon, what I was able to smell, anyway, was really good. Not Steve-crisp, but still pretty good. The eggs were a little runnier than I really love, but they were still very tasty. The pancakes were yummy but kind of small. This stack makes up for a lack of girth by being tall, but still they’re sort of smallish. Dune buggy added to show scale.

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When we were done with breakfast, we took some quality time to goof off. Or perhaps I could be whispering in his ear to behave or I’ll spank you back to last Tuesday. Or maybe just a little bit of both.

And I might be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure that I am the only person to ever review a breakfast in the Tampa Bay area while wearing a t-shirt with a Djibouti flag on it. Trend-setting, the Tampa Bay Breakfast way. That’s what sets us apart from those other guys.

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Marek decided he would pay the bill. He took the money and the check and disappeared. I mean really disappeared. He got caught up in a crowd of baseball fans and swept away to the other part of the restaurant. I figured I’d just wait it out. He’s a highly trained and experienced Pancake Professional. He’ll find his way.

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And he did. Five minutes later he comes back around and hands me the bill and the money. I don’t work here, junior! But we took care of the bill together. Breakfast for two, just under 14 Yen. Not cheap. Good chow and we didn’t feel ripped off, but we did agree that this was not a cost-effective breakfast.

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On our way out the door we got jammed up by a crowd pushing in. So we looked at the postcard rack by the register. As our dedicated Tampa Bay Breakfast fans know well, Marek’s middle name is Inglis. Inglis happens to be where you would find Follow That Dream Parkway. Half a pancake point bump to Lenny’s for this nice little tie-in with home.

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We left happy and full. Still arguing about the cross-over sport of baseball dune buggy racing, but at least breakfast was behind us!

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Then we get to the car and Marek asks for an apple. So I gave the kid an apple.

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We had a great time at Lenny’s. Great breakfast, though not very cheap, quality and endless coffee, danishes. Friendly people, full of regulars, and lots of unique flair. While we’re not “baseball people” we are breakfast people, and so is Lenny’s. We’re pleased to give Lenny’s a Tampa Bay Breakfast rating of four and a half pancakes.

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Later that night we went and saw the Bolts win one. We haven’t heard the horn blow that many times all year! Marek spent the game hollering “Go Tampa!” while his mom was hollering “Fight, fight! Take the gloves off!” Crazy kids.

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