The Three Coins

It’s been slow going at the Tampa Bay Breakfasts command post. Too much work. Marek being 6 going on a lazy 16. But this morning we’re getting out and doing it. On bikes.

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Little Ivo is tucked in back. This is the last summer I’ll be able to do this with him. Then we’ll enter a year where he’s learning to ride his own bike but not strong enough to actually ride anywhere. And then soon after, it will be three boys, three bikes, all over Tampa.

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We’re on a long trek this morning. Multiple stops for water and local conditions briefings.

This is a picture about which Marek will be having a talk with me in a few years.

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Ivo’s not on his own bike, but he still gets a water break. It’s hard work putting things in dad’s shorts while he’s pedaling.

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We made it, the three or so miles from Pancake Central to The Three Coins at 7410 N Nebraska Ave. Today is 7 July 2013, and this is one of many visits we’ve made here. But it’s been a while. Last visit was back in 2011.

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When I was chaining up the bikes outside, I told the boys, go inside and get us a table. Now it’s no lie that I tell them all the time to got get us a table, but this was the first time where I was outside and they were inside and there was a gap of time before I showed up on the scene.

I walk in and there’s a line of waitresses behind the counter looking over the wall at the booth. And there’s a waitress at the booth with pad in hand, taking an order. And in the booth are two boys, my boys, each reading a menu. And Marek saying, ever so politely, “two orange juices please, ma’am, and we’ll be having one more person join us.”

So I quietly took a seat at the counter with my back to them and took this picture. A picture of a mature, polite, six year old independent actor, getting it right.

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Here’s the lineup. All good chow. Nothing exotic, just good breakfast chow.

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Marek and Ivo are getting superballs out of the machine. I bet you’re wondering where they got the cash to do that?

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This sweet gal bonused them each a quarter for cuteness. Thanks again, ma’am!

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Marek and Ivo, lounging at the counter. Ivo putting his superball in his pocket. On the left is the proprietor, a very friendly fellow who runs a good shop.

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Breakfast descended upon us like a hurricane. In a good way, not in a floods-and-destruction way. Notice how dexterous Ivo is with a knife.

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For a change, I tried the French toast, oh la lah, and the Canadian bacon. I presume this makes it the French-Canadian special.

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I’d like to call your attention to the line here. This place runs like a precision instrument. Four waitresses, sometimes five, moving together rapidly but smoothly, getting the job done. Want to open a restaurant and need to see how this part is done? Just come to The Three Coins on a Sunday morning and sit at the counter.

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Andy and Ivo, father-son-moment.

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During the father-son-moment with Ivo, Marek buttered up some bacon.

Yes, you read that right.

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I title this portrait, “Ivo, the Introspective Pancake Eater.”

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The bill didn’t ring up cheap, but we did have a lot of chow: Three separate breakfasts, which is different than the way we used to do it years ago and get one $3.99 special with two plates.

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Ivo’s job is to carry the payment.

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Marek’s job is escort and security.

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I didn’t get a picture of it, but both boys got pops from the nice folks at the register. On our way home we stopped at the park to play on the slides and swings. I took this picture of Ivo.

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Then enlarged it when I got home and saw what he was doing. Tucking that pop in his pocket so he wouldn’t lose it.
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Great food. Reasonable prices. Incredibly friendly and highly professional staff. Every second customer is a regular known by name. This is a classic Tampa greasy spoon diner. We’re pleased to give The Three Coins a Tampa Bay Breakfasts Five Pancake Rating.

Go get some. Tell ’em Marek and Ivo sent you. (They’ll be like, “Huh? Who?”)

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