Category Archives: Breakfasts


Rodies Restaurant and Pancake House

Blasting down the Breakfast Superhighway.


Stopping at a local tattoo shop. Not open this early. Both boys have their pants pulled up, though, so we’d be OK if they were open. Ivo actually cried as we walked away, “I want a tattoo, daddy!”


This morning we’re heading to Rodies Restaurant and Pancake House at 2471-7 N McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater. Don’t let the map fool you, it’s not easy to find when you’re hungry and driving all the way from Tampa with two young hand-grenades children. They also have a nice web site at


As all professional athletes do, we make sure we’re ready to perform at our best before we step into the ring.


I don’t recall what made Marek so happy, but here he is, all goofy and fun.


We’re having breakfast this morning, or really having breakfast across the aisle, with our friends and Tampa Bay Breakfasts fans P.J. and Corinn. Rodies is a TBB recommendation from P.J.


Corinn was kind enough to take this lovely family photograph of us. As you can see, Ivo is eating butter.


Really. He’s eating butter.


The menu goes on through happy and familiar territory. Though, oddly enough, it doesn’t have “butter” as a main course.


That won’t stop Marek from joining Ivo in a butter slurp.

Oh, I wish their mother were here to stop them. Yuck.


Me trying to use Ivo’s toys to cover up the fact that he crayolaed the table.

Oh, I wish their mother were here to stop them. Sigh.


What happens when you yell at Ivo for coloring on the table? That’s right, he makes better use of his crayons.


Pancakes arrived. Not a good sign, a lovely little cup of warm syrup, just right for the hair, the clothes, the floor, dad’s pockets, dad’s mobile phone, strangers walking by ….


Bacon, eggs, and crayons. Notice how Marek is buttering his bacon. The boy won’t eat pizza with pizza sauce on it, but he’ll put butter on bacon.


Our charming waitress recommended the “skillet,” so I tried that one out. Lotta chow in a small bowl, here.


Ivo demonstrating his fine motor skills.


Marek buttering his eggs, since his bacon was already buttered, of course.



Hot chocolate?


I’m thinking …. let’s try something daring and new!


The bill came in at 17 clams. But the highlighted bit is because kids eat free today. Either they have a regular special, or they suspected it was Tampa Bay Breakfasts. I think it’s a regular special, since we’re really famous in our own minds, but not that famous out in the real world.


Ivo having trouble holding on to the cash. His fingers are full of butter.


The television up in front is advertising Rodie’s lunch menu to you while you’re having breakfast. That’s efficient. The circle of life, by which I mean that they appear to hope you’re there for several consecutive meals.


Not pictured here, the nice lady who brought the change back to me while the boys were all losing discipline because they got lollipops. I asked her if they suckered her into doing their jobs for them. I’m such a task master on these kids.


Absolutely gorgeous Florida morning on the way home. This picture could be captioned “why we live here.”


Excellent price, especially after the kids-eat-free discount. Good company with P.J. and Corinn, and lots of locals and regulars. Food was very good (though I’ll avoid the skillet in the future as being too heavy for my usual appetite). The little butter packets were a real smash hit, as was the crayon hot chocolate. We’re pleased to give Rodies a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


Rodie's Restaurant & Pancake on Urbanspoon

West Tampa Sandwich Shop

It’s a lovely Tampa Bay Breakfasts morning. Ivo is completely enthused, and is NOT crying, “I don’t wannnna go dadddeeee.” Not at all.

(The year is 2030. Obamacare has finally been defeated by President Jayden Smith. Marek’s robot therapist, Eliza, asks him to talk about his childhood traumas. Ivo waves his hand to pull up the Ancient History Archive Hologram Display to show him this picture. “Dad was a big meanie.”)


We’ve arrived at our destination. We’re exiting the FR-S Family Car like a bunch of circus clowns crawling out of a Volkswagen Beetle.


Also joining us this morning is Tampa Bay Breakfasts Guest Reviewer and USF sophomore Montenique. We know Montenique because 20 years ago I took a photograph of an abandoned grave marker in a field being cleared for construction, and through the power of the Internet was recently able to track that deceased fellow’s family, resulting in finding his second wife’s great-great granddaughter. I know, you think I’m making it up.


We’re re-visiting West Tampa Sandwich Shop at 3904 N Armenia Ave, one of our long-time favorites. We haven’t been here for too long. Last official visit was in 2009.


We chose a spot in the corner. Not because it’s the most interesting, but because it allows for containment of ICBMs. That’s “In-public Children going Ballistic, Man.”


Our nice waitress brought us only two menus. She probably didn’t realize that boys need their own menus. How else will they know what to order? (Marek presented his own order and she looked at me in pleasant surprise.)


Not a hugely varied breakfast offering here. I got an add-on of the honey toast, and oh mamma was that delish.


Check out my wickedly cool Tessier-Ashpool shirt. Not the most obvious meme out there, which is why it’s so awesome.


We did a seating shuffle since we first got here. No one knows why. I think Montenique took refuge in the corner … it’s a defensive position against the boy-onslaught.


The morning’s adorable shot. We’re such a sweet father plus son. There’s nothing like having to hold him in my lap so he doesn’t flip the table over, to create a loving photograph.


Marek checking out the pictures on the walls. I told him to go look for the picture of President Obama (who actually had lunch here).


Some regular toast and some honey toast. Andy says go for the honey toast. The boys had never had it, so they wouldn’t try it. I know, that makes sense, right?


Montenique knows how kids work. In order to be left alone for thirty seconds, she sacrificed her phone. On which Ivo promptly made a mess.


Here’s what the insides and the crowd looks like this morning. Always busy, this shop.


Discussing IOS 7 merits. College kids and first graders. Amazing what they have in common!


Here comes pancakes! Ivo had that knife already in his pocket. I think he brought it with him.


Scrambled eggs and bacon for Marek.


The everything omelet for me. And Montenique had some pancakes and eggs, too.


Ivo commenced to cutting through things.


Ivo: Let me help you with that.

Montenique: That’s my phone!


Ivo, quoting Shakespeare to his breakfast.


Marek shoveling it in.


I’m father of the year for taking this picture rather than stopping him from eating pancakes with a knife.


Time to pay the bill. We didn’t actually have the check, so I sent the boys off with $30 and a wave goodbye.


They’re over there somewhere. I know because I can’t see them, but I hear the ladies laughing.


On the way out the door, Marek stopped in the middle of the street to do The Breakfast Booty Dance.


On our way home we stopped at the playground, where I took about 10,000 pictures to get this one cool action shot.


West Tampa Sandwich Shop is classic Tampa. Food is great. Full of locals and regulars. A sense that the very walls are made of family and friends. Price is low and quality is high. Plus, President Obama likes it, too. Me ‘n’ the boys ‘n’ Montenique, we’re all Obama supporters, so that counts for an extra half a point to upgrade our last review from 4.5 to a Tampa Bay Breakfasts five pancake award.


West Tampa Sandwich Shop 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

Mamas Family Restaurant

We re-visited Mamas Family Restaurant at 9312 N Florida Ave on 8 June 2013. It’s only our millionth visit. Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom joined us. And we rode bikes here, so we’re a little sweaty this morning.


Here’s Vicki, best waitress in Tampa Bay, advising me that she was able to influence the kitchen to add proper blueberry pancakes to the menu since I made a comment one time that blueberry pancakes were the only thing standing between them and perfection.


Marek took a bunch of pictures, including this one. I’m not sure where the grey hair came from. Thanks, Marek, for pointing it out to me and the rest of Tampa Bay.


Marek self-portrait. He’s like Chuck Close, only less wealthy.


Paper airplane contest this morning. I’m making a stealth fighter for Ivo.


Mom’s flying a high-tech, stealthy airplane of her own. She’s laughing because she realized she doesn’t know how to make a paper airplane.


Here’s Mama’s kids’ menu.


I told Marek that I thought Ivo was slightly cuter than Marek. He was OK with that news and took it calmly.


This looks like a sweet picture. What it is, dear reader, is actually a head-butt to the jugular. It was not pleasant.


Take a look at the previous two pictures and now look at this one. Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom clearly got the better breakfast companion. No assaults going on over there.


As promised, blueberry pancakes.


Bacon, eggs, home fries for Marek. Shown here with butter being liberally applied to the eggs, which I find to be a bit gross.


French toast, pancakes, eggs. Cantaloupe, too.


Here’s a fine family breakfast spread. It’s difficult to get it better than this.


Marek with knife and fork skills. Now what you’re not seeing here is that he cuts things up with knife and fork and then eats with his hands. Small victories. Parenthood is about small victories.


Ivo loving him some mommy. Soon enough, he’ll be choking and head-butting dad. I predict by suppertime.


Marek and Ivo offered to pay the bill. Notice that Marek seems to have a credit card now. It’s mine, not his. He lifted it after head-butting me earlier. That big breakfast spread was about $25.


And away they go. The nice lady in red on the left commented on how well behaved they were. I’m like, did you miss the whole choking thing?


Vicki gave the boys cookies, and we said, no cookies until we get home. As you can see, this was not a popular domestic policy with the electorate.


There’s no sadness that can’t be fixed with a mother’s love. Don’t be fooled, it was her that said no cookies until we get home which caused Ivo to cry in the first place.


On the ride home we had the great fortune to see Thomas the Train roll on by. That’s always a special treat. Ivo asks, “where’s Thomas going?” The answer is either “to school” or “home to his mommy and daddy.”


Another great breakfast at Mamas. Thanks for the blueberry pancakes! That makes me feel like a major mover and shaker of the Tampa Bay Breakfast world. We’re pleased to reinforce Mamas on N. Florida as a Tampa Bay Breakfasts five pancake breakfast.


Mamas Kitchen III 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