Central Coffee Shoppe

We visited the Central Coffee Shoppe at 530 Central Ave in St. Pete on 26 February 2011. Today is TBB Fan Christine’s birthday. Happy birthday, Christine! To get there we had to get on the highway. Would you classify those as altostratus and altocumulus clouds?

Beautiful St. Pete morning. Even the Altocumulus floccus clouds look like they’re ready for pancakes.

Ivo said he’d take care of parking. Don’t be too impressed. The meter is free on the weekends. And after reading this, you’ll spend the rest of your day thinking, “öko? Lögisch!”

We’re right across the street from The Dome Grill. Marek has his suitcase, just in case he needs some cars or maybe a tape measure.

Remember how last year we were at The Dome, and Aleshea said to go across the street? Where here we are!

We walked by this snake place. It wasn’t open at 0800 on a Saturday. Bummer!

Lucky for us, this little diner next to the snake store was open. What do you think, should we pop in for maybe some pancakes?

You, our dear TBB reader, have seen us look wistfully at the stools and counters over the years. One day little Marek will be tall enough to sit there. Today is the day. Marek is big enough to sit at the counter. Not, mind you, big enough to get on or off the stool by himself, but certainly big enough to sit there.

The menu has superlatives like eggs and catfish. How can you go wrong?

While we didn’t sit with Marek (or, rather, he didn’t sit with us), we did grab the closest table we could. Marek may be a man of the world, but he’s still just a little boy.

As you can see, the Central is just a tiny little place. Do you see what’s not tiny? That’s right, baby Ivo is one big little baby. What you can’t see here is the sound of him grunting, trying to get at the food. Uhn, uhn, uhhh!

Here’s Marek having his very own breakfast by himself at the counter for the very first time. He’s not phased a bit, as if he does this every day.

Breakfast independence over there. And Ivo hasn’t taken his eye off the spoon.

Breakfast these days usually includes a bottle of formula. This is a fine breakfast, with some very respectable bacon and eggs. See the little Grabby-McGrab hand in the lower right corner, just waiting for a chance? See how there’s a DMZ perimeter?

Marek, by this point, had pretty much forgotten we were there. Ivo, by this point, is starting to look at what the folks behind us are having, hoping maybe they’ll drop something and instead of falling on the floor it will fall into his mouth.

Marek’s just one of the guys. He’ll make a fine grouchy old man who sits at the counter every morning and likes his eggs just so and always reads the newspaper. If they still have newspapers when he’s an old man.

The look on Marek’s face here is, “Daaaad, quit, I’m trying to feed the baby!”

The look on Ivo’s face is, “I’m not taking my eye off that bottle.”

Marek paid the bill. Which was more challenging than you might think in such a small place. They got pretty busy and he had to hunt someone down.

The Central is pretty near a perfect little diner. It’s 100% mom-n-pop, it’s small and cozy, the chow is good, reasonably priced, pretty fast, and the people on both sides of the counter are friendly and regular. Almost everyone who walked in was “Hi, Jim” and “Mornin’, Betty.” The folks quite gleefully attended to Marek being at the counter. Little old ladies stopped by my table to tell me what a good job I was doing (little did they know, I’m part of a world-renowned pancake SWAT team). At the end of the day (or the breakfast, in this case), we had really fine time at Central.

Nicole, thanks for inviting us!

We’re pleased to give the Central Coffee Shoppe a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.

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Central Coffee Shoppe on Urbanspoon

We were already in St. Pete, so on the way home we drove by the basin. Marek announced he needed a boat so he could go fishing and catch Nemo and Dorey and Marlin. Should I be disturbed that when my kid watches Finding Nemo he identifies with the diver who catches Nemo instead of the obvious choice of identifying with Nemo himeself?

We drove by the Vinoy. Pink hotels on sunny mornings in Florida. There’s nothing like it.

After driving around St. Pete to let our pancakes settle, we jumped across the Gandy and stopped at the Redneck Riviera. Marek ran off in the sand.

Ivo stayed sleeping in the car, a fact which will probably win me a Father of the Year award.

It’s just a Florida morning. Hey Vancouver, Stuttgart, Cambridge, New Hampsha, New York, and Michigan, it’s February. Time to go to the beach.

We studied different kinds of tracks in the sand. We found birds, dogs, and little boy tracks.

When we got home, Ivo and I went back out to vote in the mayoral election. This was Ivo’s first experience with the democratic process. I voted for the visionary underdog (who lost, natch). Ivo voted for lunch.

Just a normal day.

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