Shirley’s Soul Food

We visited Shirley’s Soul Food at 1789 34Th St in St. Pete on 16 April 2011. Shirley’s is in a neat old rail car. The only other one we know in the Tampa Bay area is Nicko’s on North Florida. You can’t go wrong with breakfast in a rail car!

Shirley’s has a very basic menu. And the first thing they told us was that they were out of bacon. That’s not the best sign, I’ll admit.

Marek already knows what he wants! Pancakes!

Marek played shy-boy and wouldn’t say what he wanted. He had to have it coaxed and tickled out of him.

Ivo looked on. Thinking, no doubt, about time someone else gets tickled in this family. Notice the seat backs in the booths? Those are lovely. A hidden gem of Art Deco tucked away in a soul food diner.

We had a serious discussion about knives. And serrations. And cutting things. This is Marek, running his fingers along the knife edge, telling me he can use his own knife and he knows how and he won’t cut himself.

This is one clean, shiny floor! I don’t usually take pictures of floors (it’s odd enough that I take pictures of pancakes, wouldn’t you say?), but it was so shiny! And terrazzo, too.

We had to get Ivo started first, because his appetite waits for nothing. That’s Xavier looking on in the back. He would have a couple bites of his own breakfast and then come over to see what we were doing and then go back to get another couple bites. Ivo’s still in the car seat, balanced on a chair, because they didn’t have any highchairs. You can always tell when a place doesn’t really get a lot of family business.

Here comes breakfast. Marek’s mom is going to be sore that I let him use a knife, so I hope she doesn’t really read these reviews. She says she reads them, but she probably just skims through. Baby, if you’re reading this one, I wanted to make Marek stop, but … he had a KNIFE! I couldn’t get close to him, or he’d have stolen my wallet.

Ivo’s got to get his hand in.

Marek got some syrup help. I don’t think he needed help, but she was so sweet and, I think, sweet on Marek.

And so we all dug in! I had the corned beef hash since they were out of bacon. This hash was the best I’ve had in years. Dedicated readers will know that I’ve never actually ordered hash since we’ve been writing Tampa Bay Breakfasts, but still, this was delicious.

When we were done, Marek made a quick trick brick stack.

Marek agreed to pay the bill.

This is the rail-car side of Shirley’s. If it were just me and Marek we’d have sat at the counter, but Ivo isn’t ready for that kind of funnybusiness.

Marek told me he’s keeping the change for his parachute fund. Marek of the future, if you’re reading back through these and find the notes about your parachute fund, I’m going to have to admit to you a terrible family secret. Every time you kept the change and put it in your little pockets, you forgot about it, then we wash your clothes, find change in the washing machine, and throw it in the car-wash-and-parking-meter jar. So you’re not actually making any headway on the parachute fund.

Not a bad deal, two breakfasts for 11 bucks.

We did a little bit of goofin around.

And a little more goofin around.

Shirley’s has a bowl of candy!

It’s always a happy day when Marek has a pop!

We had a very nice breakfast this morning. Shirley’s was welcoming, the chow was delicious, the coffee hot and good. The price was right. Missing bacon and a high chair. We’re pleased to give Shirley’s a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


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