Category Archives: American

Breakfast at Home

On the first of July we had what might be our last official Tampa Bay Breakfast. At home.

Here’s how Marek starts his Sundays now. All bleary-teenager-looking.


On the other hand, Ivo is a spring-loaded bundle of morning fun.


Ivo volunteered to cook for us.


First, he put all the ingredients in a bowl …


… And started mixing. Turns out, adding a stuffed animal to the concoction gives you good viscosity.


Bacon in the oven. Best way to make bacon in any quantity and/or in a small kitchen with limited stovetop space. Ivo’s a rolling health-code violation, though. Cooking while wiping his nose with his hand and all.


I made supper last night. Baked potatoes. This was on purpose, so we’d have leftover taters for the home fries.


3 year old with a knife. Handling it very nicely, I’d like to point out. No severed fingers made it into our breakfast.


While the egg-to-shell ratio was slightly out of tolerance, Ivo’s little fingers handled the egg cracking very nicely.


Here’s how all the moving parts start coming together. Ivo’s going to be one heckofa great line cook one day.


I highly recommend this stove-top griddle. Good for pancakes when you’re trying to impress your family with how good you make pancakes.


Special batch of blueberry pancakes for dad!


Of all the dining rooms in all the diners of the world, this one’s our favorite. Here’s where the deepest memories are made.


Marek, digging in. “These are the best home fries ever, dad!” and “I LOVE this breakfast, dad!”


Ivo, getting his breakfast all mommed-up. (I mean, seriously, we just watched this boy use an 8″ French knife to dice a whole potato, and mom is cutting his scrambled eggs!)


Me, Tampa Bay’s Dad of Breakfast, with my favorite Thomas the Train coffee cup, thrift-store dishes we bought 18 years ago, bottle of honey from a local family I know, surrounded by the good stuff (and I’m not talking about the chow (though that’s good, too!)).


Marek announces: “I’m done.”


This, our dear readers, is likely to be our last official Tampa Bay Breakfast. That’s not a promise, as the boys may want to pick it back up at some point, but as of today they’re consistent in their desire to just stay home on the weekends. And I’ve decided I’m going to let them.

It’s been a great five-year journey through Tampa Bay, and we’ve been pleased to share this slice of childhood and our love of breakfast and our hometown. Thank you to all the great breakfast spots in the Bay Area and thank you to our readers and fans for the support, encouragement, and conversations over the years.

With love and perfect pancakes,

Andy, Marek, and Ivo.

The Three Coins

We revisited the Three Coins at The Three Coins at 7410 N Nebraska Ave on 26 April 2014. Our last visit was July of last year.


Ivo’s excited. Mostly because he likes getting his picture taken, not because we’re having breakfast.


World-class-mom joined us this morning.


The menu. I can’t help but feel bad for old Ike Eisenhower and his dime: Not, as you can see here, one of the three coins.


We got here just in time. Last table, and then there was suddenly a line of hungry Tampa.




What choo lookin at?


Conversation leading up to this picture.

Ivo: Daddy, pull on my ears.

Andy: Uhh, OK.


Favorite Breakfast Guest Mom is already bored. Texting to her friends to save her. Marek is caught here saying the one thing he knows how to say this Spring, “I want an iPhone.”


Big old wad of breakfast. All the major food groups represented.


Momming it up on the other side of the table. She can’t help herself, she’s mom.


Truck-load of banana pancakes for dad. The banana pancakes are truly the top-shelf-good here.


Marek’s thing now is home fries. Remember when it was eggs? Remember when it was bacon? Remember when it was pancakes? Every year, he has a new thing.


Ivo’s trying out for the band. He plays slide-bacon-trombone.


Here’s why Three Coins is the perfect diner. Little-league kids on backs, diner owner (in the white shirt) standing by the door wishing good luck, good game, thank you for coming.


Almost $30 for a pile of good chow, we couldn’t even finish it. Reasonable rates.


Taking a risk, giving Ivo the plastic. It’s slightly safer than giving him the plastique.


It’s a perfect Tampa diner. Great prices, great service, great food, full of locals and interesting characters.

Also, unfortunately, it’s probably our last official breakfast this year. Our next post will explain.

We’re pleased to award The Three Coins with a Tampa Bay Breakfasts Five Pancake Rating, and also, even though it’s a little premature, the 2014 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year award. Three Coins: You’re an awesome, perfect breakfast!


Three Coins on Urbanspoon

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

The Ranch House

It’s a mid-week breakfast morning. We’re cruising down the road listening to Vanessa Lively, one of our favorite “girl with guitar” folk singers.


Family portrait, boys-style.


This morning, 27 November 2013, we’re re-visiting the Ranch House at 7706 W Hillsborough Ave. We first visited here back in May 2009.


Take note that the Ranch House is next to a Buddhist center and a tax refund center and, just off the picture, a strip-mall Christian church. Lots of diversity going on here.


Boys chose the same booth where we sat four years ago. We were looking at the original review, and Marek says, “awww, look, it’s little Marek!”


The menu hasn’t changed, but we sure have. On our first visit I wasn’t real impressed. But now we’re taking a closer look and wow, this is three big pages of breakfast. Including all the things named after people, which I think is a great touch.


Three big pages of breakfast, and even a kids menu to go along with it.


We asked. These arepas are Colombian, not Venezuelan. We have a bias due to our Tia Sofia being from Caracas. So we skipped these substandard Bogota Arepas.


I decided immediately that I wanted a Hot Mexican. Lucky for my marriage, there was an omelet named “The Hot Mexican.” If there wasn’t, who knows what would have happened when I asked for one.


Civil engineering projects. Probably part of a large public works project designed to stimulate the local economy.


These boys should have submitted plans for the World Trade Center project. I’ve never seen such sky-high stacking!


By now you’d think Marek would have a crowd of admiring people chanting, “one more! one more!” But no one other than Ivo and I were there to witness this incredible stack.


It’s Thanksgiving, the traditional time for family to pick at political issues. So I’ll get out in front of it all and admit that the failure of this ambitious publicly funded artwork is all Obama’s fault.


Lucky for Marek, there was a breakfast safety net for him to fall into. Bacon and eggs, Marek-style!


These boys are growing up to be such a team. First they’ll fight and kick and bite and fart on each other. Then, when you’re not paying any attention, Ivo will give one of his butters to Marek because he knows how much his brother likes it.


The following image is not safe for work. It’s R-rated. It’s only suitable to be looked at after the kids go to bed.

It’s my Hot Mexican!


Butter on the eggs and bacon. We’re all still wondering about this, but hey, so long as he doesn’t expect me to eat it he can do whatever he wants.


A little salsa for the Hot Mexican. A biscuit that I swear was dunked in butter. By the way, don’t get this meal without consulting your physician.


Ivo’s only three and he can do this. He’s farting the whole time and giggling, but he can butter his own pancakes.


For the first time all morning … silence. Gives me a moment to reflect on why the heck I ever had children, anyway.


Pancake-induced coma for Ivo.


A dose of coffee perks up any boy. I know it’s a requirement for old dad.


And off they go to pay the bill. I’m hoping it fits on a Jackson. Last time I did this, they came back to say they needed more money.


All the gumball machines were fascinating. One of them was Fox News sponsored — it had an equal number of Evil Exploding Obama Heads and Saintly Rush Limbaugh Halos. If it wasn’t an equal number, then it wouldn’t be fair and balanced.


Our nice waitress is from Uruguay. The first time we’ve ever met anyone from Uruguay. These ten facts about Uruguay will not leave you feeling very informed. This description is better, as it at least talks about food and drink.


A peso for the Ivo. Aggressive.


A peso for the Marek. Photogenic.


Prizes from the machines! This is a special day! Un dia especial! Despite the fact that I had a Hot Mexican, the restaurant is staffed by Uruguayans and owned by Colombians. Ay Caramba!


After our excellent breakfast, we hopped up on U.S. 19 and rolled north to Homosassa Springs to visit the manatees. Marek, as you can see here, is showcasing the latest fashion in “County Orange.”


From the boardwalk, some of the local residents. They are much larger than they appear from this photograph.


Boys exploring the under water observatory. Nothing like energetic young Florida boys yelling at fish to make all the real tourists wonder which animals they’re here to see.


The best manatees of them all, Marek and Ivo.


Our first visit to the Ranch House was good, but we were new at our reviews and didn’t take the time to really appreciate it. Looking back, we gave them an average three pancake rating; good place, average pancakes, OK price. But this time we really paid attention, and this is what we saw: Locals at every table being greeted by name. A very personal, family place where people’s names are part of the food. Very friendly staff. And I’m STILL talking about my Hot Mexican several days later. Price is reasonable, chow is good, and it’s one of those labor-of-love restaurants that I always enjoy. We’re pleased to promote the Ranch House’s rating from a dismal three to an exceptional Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancakes rating.


Ranch House 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

Savvy Jack’s

We visited Savvy Jack’s at 11401 N 56th St Temple Terrace, FL 33617 on 7 September 2013. Savvy Jack’s was recommended to us by TBB Fan Earl.


These lead-in pictures are staged like posters for a Tarantino movie.


Marek and Ivo fight like wet cats in a sack most times, but every now and then there’s a sweet brotherly moment. Like here, Marek holding his brother’s hand as they cross the street. Probably to better push him in front of a bus.


We’re not the only customers at Savvy’ Jack’s this morning, but there’s only one other customer when we walk in.


The menu has lots of French hints. Quiche. Crepes. French toast. Small clues we pick up on right away.


Ivo tested the quality of the bucket of jelly packets. Warning to future customers, Ivo was here.


Our very nice hostess brought coloring books and crayons. And, it turns out, she’s from Paris. France, not the other one in Texas. We took the opportunity to practice our counting to ten and our “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you.”


While we were waiting for chow to roll out, we entertained ourselves by arm wrestling.


This is how it’s going to play out for the rest of my days. Marek wins. I pay up.


I tried to win my money back with a double-or-nothing thumb-wrestle. And lost double the money.


Then Ivo moved in. I figured I could take him out and recoup my losses.


When I beat him fair and square, he pulled a knife.


Thank goodness breakfast arrived and saved me. Un petit déjeuner complet!

Pancakes for the Ivo.


Bacon and eggs for the Marek.


And the recommended breakfast crepe for dad. C’est bon!


Ivo says, dad, these pancakes would be improved with some HFCS. Surprisingly enough, this picture does not have a syrup-coated Marek to the right. Ivo did a very good job keeping it on the plate.


A strong dose of the good stuff for Ivo. Because a three year old without a coffee is like a firecracker without a match.


The soundtrack for this picture is Ivo making gorilla noises. Oooh oooh, aaah aaaah, raowr!


With a performance like that, all you need to do is wait for a call from your agent.


Marek took a bunch of pictures of Me, Ivo, and Mickey. This one came out OK. Our very nice hostess came over to ask if Ivo was OK, was he sleepy? No, ma’am, he’s just goofin.


Ivo jumped up to pay the bill.


There was a bowl of candy for kids who pay the bill. The candy was peppermints and butterscotches, which is a good hint at the age of the average kid paying the bill here.


The damage came up to $25, which seems a bit high for two breakfasts (Marek and Ivo split the pancakes/bacon/eggs breakfast). While it was very good, that’s a lotta Francs for this chow.


After our great experience in Petit Paris this morning, we decided to take an international tour of Tampa. We went to MD Oriental on Fletcher.


We had a great time looking at the seafood on display. Some people spend money at The Florida Aquarium for the same experience.


We learned some Cantonese during our visit, to go with our French we learned earlier.


Not willing to let our journey end there, we drove from France to China all the way to Palestine to the Amana Halal market on Bush.


The boys found the meat locker. We came very close to taking home a side of lamb.


Me and Marek were getting some fresh cardamon coffee ground and learning to count in Arabic while Ivo was shopping for random stuff.


The only thing we actually let Ivo buy was some Halal marshmallows.


We left the Arab market to go to the Cuban jeweler on Armenia Ave. to get my watch battery changed. Marek wanted to listen to dub step, Ivo wanted to listen to trip hop. The only music both boys could agree on was Norwegian Aggrotech.


Then we went to Inkwood Books again. We discovered that our friend Amanda speaks a little Italian, prego. I left Ivo alone for five minutes and this is what I found in the kids’ room at Inkwood. I’ll be surprised if we’re allowed back. (We did clean up our mess, in case you’re wondering!)


So that’s our incredible adventure morning. Breakfast, France, China, Palestine, Cuba, Italy, all to a Norwegian soundtrack. All in Tampa on a Saturday morning.

Oh, and the breakfast? The food was very good, though a bit high-priced. I strongly recommend the breakfast crepe. We’re happy to give Savvy Jack’s a Tampa Bay Breakfast Four Pancake Rating.


Savvy Jack's Southern Gourmet 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

Odessa Family Restaurant

We visited the Odessa Family Restaurant on 3 August 2013. This was a recommendation made by TBB fan Chris last year. We’re not really familiar with Odessa, so Ivo decided to wear a helmet.


Marek, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in our blog, is already 16 years old and can’t be torn away from his little tablet. But at least he’s quiet.


Lovely Florida day today. Fine time to get some pancakes!


The address of the Odessa Family Restaurant is 8741 Gunn Hwy. However, if you goof up and go to 8741 OLD Gunn Hwy, you fine this old Thunderbird instead. Appears to be a third generation model from ’61 through ’63.


Finally at our destination. We stopped for a dad-n-sons portrait. Ivo can appear so sweet, so calm and caring. The key word is “appear.”


Marek wouldn’t sit still for a picture with his old man. Too busy with his new squirrel, “Rocky J.” I’ve been force-feeding the boys cartoons from the ’60s and ’70s because, well, if I have to sit and watch something with them it might as well be something I like.


And here we are, the Odessa Family Restaurant.


We like hand-drawn menus outside a restaurant. Let’s you know they’re taking each day seriously. Also serves as a bit of a spelling pop-quiz (this one passed, but they don’t always do (I said that on purpose)).


Marek and I got into an argument over the menu. He wanted to read it, I wanted to take a clear picture of it. So, like many disputes throughout human history, neither of us got what we wanted.


We have Tampa Bay Breakfasts Guest Reviewers today. Lizzy and Chris. This is a nice picture. They have no idea what’s about to happen to them.


We did originally get lost, so we were in the car for an extra half-hour. Ivo was so hungry, he decided to eat his dolphin, affectionately named “Dolphie.”


Marek took this picture of Lizzy. Note where she’s sitting here, and where she ends up sitting in a moment.


Marek took this picture of Chris. Actually not a bad picture; Marek’s getting better at this.


And then Ivo just nonchalantly stretches, yawns, and says, wow, it sure is hot in here. I’ll just take THIS off.


And Lizzy immediately traded seats with Chris. Too strong, Ivo, you’re coming on too strong. Girls don’t like when you just take off your clothes before they’ve even gotten food.


Marek, on the other hand, was a total gentleman. Played stack-the-creamers and never once did any clothing fall off him.


A little coffee cheers with Ivo and Andy.

You’re wondering if he’s still got pants on now, aren’t you?


Luckily for everyone, chow arrived. Grits, eggs, hash, toast for old man Andy.


Pancakes for ladie’s-man-Ivo.


Bacon and eggs and home fries for International Mystery Man Marek.


French toast and texting for Lizzy.

Eggs and bacon for Chris. This breakfast is not thin provisioned at all.


Marek loves him some home fries. Would not eat an actual baked potato if you gave him a motorcycle, but loves home fries.


We’ll see more of Ivo in a little bit.


While everyone’s looking at Ivo, waiting for the next Very Odd Thing to happen, Marek tucked in to a nice packet of jelly. These are the sorts of pictures he’ll be sore about when he gets a couple years older.


Here comes the bill. $45ish all together, which isn’t bad for all the chow we had.


Ivo’s going to pay. Dad’s got no cash, so here’s a card. Ivo isn’t wearing a shirt. Also, he’s apparently lost a shoe somewhere. And he’s filthy. But I’m dad, right, so I pretty much get an “A” on the parent test for just showing up. If mom were here like this, people would be all about what a bad mother she was, but me, it’s all, “awww, he’s such a good dad, the kid is half-naked and disgusting but he’s making an effort.”

That never ceases to irritate my lovely wife. That, and we go to the same place to get our hairs cut and mine always costs $100 less than hers. That burns her up, too.


Bad news. No credit cards. And I’ve got like 10 bucks cash.


Good news. Chris is flush with a C-note. He’s got our backs.


So you, dear reader, would you hand a $100 bill over to a kid that looks like this?


Ivo took that hundred dollars and danced. No kidding danced.


And danced. I’m surprised he didn’t make more money from the rest of the customers, he was just dancing. But finally, he got the bill paid.


Afterwards, we lined up for a family photo. Chris came very close to taking three kids home this morning. Lizzy spent some time telling Marek a story about aliens, and he was all about going to her house to live so he could see the aliens himself.


On our way home, we stopped off at the Tampa BMX track and rode around on the little kid’s track next to the real race track. We’ve been toying around with the idea of Marek trying out BMX, since he’s so good on his bike.


This was a fine breakfast. Price was fine. Location cozy and full of friendly folks. No one complained about my half-naked child terrorizing the place, which is worth half a point. Food was good and the company was very fine indeed. And Chris, I owe you $45! We’re pleased to give the Odessa Family Restaurant a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


Odessa Family on Urbanspoon

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


Andy and Ivo, father-son-moment.


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

Yes, you read that right.


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


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.


Ivo’s job is to carry the payment.


Marek’s job is escort and security.


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.


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.

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?”)


Three Coins on Urbanspoon