Kopper Kitchen

We’re going to breakfast across the bridge into St. Pete. It’s a gloomy day today. Maybe it will snow.

(Canadian, European, and Northern U.S. TBB fans please note: It ain’t gonna snow.)

We drove by Haslam’s. My mother used to take me here when I was not much older than Marek.

We’ve got Ivo working the navigation position. Which is why we’re near Haslam’s and no where near our destination. Turns out he can’t read. How did he get that 1600 on the SAT?

We drove by this liquor store. Despite the fact that it looks supremely unwholesome, in an open-at-0830 sort of way, you have to pay special note to the globe on the sign out front. This place was probably pretty classy 50 years ago, if the relative expense of that sign is any indicator.

We’ve got Marek on special teams. He’s pretty much the helicopter door gunner of our breakfast crew. And you can’t tell, but I’m wearing a Green Eggs and Ham shirt. I would eat them in the rain, I would eat them on a train.

We visited the Kopper Kitchen at 5562 Central Ave in St. Pete on 22 January 2011.

Me, Marek and Ivo grabbed a table and made sure the coffee started flowing early.

Today’s a special breakfast. Our guest reviewer is none other than Aleshea, the Official Poet of Breakfast. This was her first meeting with Ivo. Shameless plug early so we don’t forget: Go see her next performance. Go. She’s in Aristophanes’ The Frogs at freeFall theater in St. Pete. There’s sure to be popcorn and beer.

Ivo was torn between playing with Aleshea and looking at that guy’s mustache. Heck, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. By the time he got up we were all just staring, spellbound.

Marek and Aleshea had coffee. Actually it was tea for Aleshea, which brought up memories of The Netherlands for her. If you want to know the whole story, you’ll have to go to her show and ask her.

We had breakfast. As you can see, Aleshea has good taste … she likes pancakes, too! And bacon and eggs.

Marek never had eggs a day in his life. Never once. And all of a sudden, he’s all about Aleshea, can I have some of your eggs please? That smile on her face is basically, “I have never been asked by some kid if he could eat some of my breakfast so I’m going to smile and see where this goes.”

And then he came back for more. Aleshea, you’ve got got patience like a saint. Let this be a warning to prospective guest reviewers. Being along on a Tampa Bay Breakfast is not all fun and games. Well, it IS fun and games, but one of those games is getting your breakfast hijacked.

Marek did, however, dance for his breakfast. This was an interpretive dance, recalling country harvests, full moons, and the migration of songbirds.

You think I’m kidding. He danced so much that Aleshea had to record him so she could use his routine in her next show.

The bacon was pretty good. Crispy, not quite overdone. There was none left.

I set down the camera to dig into my own pancakes and Marek picked it up. He took this picture by himself. Seriously.

And he took this picture. I’m almost ready to just hand him the camera so I can enjoy breakfast every weekend.

Little Marek even helped feed Ivo. As you can see here, Marek enjoys shoving the baby food all the way into Ivo’s stomach.

It’s all about Marek today. He showed us how he flips a coin to decide whether to be a good boy or a bad boy each day. Turns out his erratic behavior actually IS random, by design. And where did he get a quarter, anyway?

The bill wasn’t bad. About 17 clams for three breakfasts.

Marek volunteered to pay the bill.

I don’t think the Kopper Kitchen gets many kids. First clue was that I had to ask for a high chair for Ivo, and then many nice women came by and gave him goo-goo-eyes. That happens to us all the time, but it was out of control here, like Ivo was a movie star. At least six people while we were there engaged us about Ivo or Ivo and Marek. That’s three times what we usually get.

So Marek’s off paying the bill. The second clue that they don’t get many kids here was that the staff all gave me (and Marek, I think) a bit of stink-eye for Marek running around with a fist full of dollars. That happens from time to time, but they seemed to have less humor than most for our hijinks. Marek asked them if they had any pops and was told sternly that they did not. He was sad.

We wrapped up breakfast, collected the boys, all our cars, except the one that fell behind the booth and so became our gift to the Kopper Kitchen, and we went on our way. Aleshea had to get to rehearsal and we had to get to Tae Kwon Do.

We had a pretty good breakfast at the Kopper Kitchen. The food was fine, especially the buttermilk pancakes that I barely had time to talk about, what with all of Marek’s tomfoolery. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, all hit the marks. The coffee was OK except for the one Tragic Flaw that diner coffee can have. Much like the flaws one finds in the heroes in the plays of the ancient Greeks, even the best coffee that strives to succeed against the odds, even the best coffee will ultimately fail when the cup is empty. The customers were very friendly but the staff didn’t seem too thrilled that we were there. At least they didn’t throw us out.

While the Kopper Kitchen did have a singular shining star in that Aleshea was at the table, she already has a permanent five-pancake rating from us. We give the Kopper Kitchen a Tampa Bay Breakfasts three and a half pancake rating.


After breakfast we left The Official Poet of Breakfast and we went to watch a Tae Kwon Do tournament.

Why would we go to a tournament? Because our dear friend Master Thibado was running the show. You may remember Master Thibado from such events as our visit to The Ranch House back in 2009. I also remember Master Thibado from all the times he punched and kicked me 20 years ago. (Jeez, Pete, has it really been twenty years?) This was Master Thibado’s first meeting with Ivo, and Marek is Very Keen to do some Tae Kwon Do (with prompting, and maybe cookies, he can already count to ten in Korean). If you also are keen to do Tae Kwon Do and want to get punched and kicked like I did back then, go here: http://www.thibadotkd.com/, and tell ’em Andy, Ivo, and Marek sent you!

After Tae Kwon Do we went home and had lunch and took naps. Then we went to the ice skating school in Oldsmar where they had a free open house and “we’re going to hook your kid on this and make you give us money to stop your kid from crying” seminar. Really, that’s an industry standard tool; just Google WGTHYKOT/MYGUMTSYKFC marketing technique. It turns out Marek is a natural. And, predictably, skating is all he’s babbled about ever since.

Pancakes, poets, punching, and possible skating lessons. Just a normal day for Marek, Ivo, and Andy (who are never Missing In Action, by the way!)

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