Last night my favorite Guest Reviewer and mother of my child says to me in a sweet voice, Andy, I don’t think you truly love me. I reply, of course, that I truly do. She then drives her point home with all the subtly of a ball peen hammer: If you truly loved me, you’d have invited me to guest review at a five-pancake breakfast by now. Marek piped up and said, yeah, batter-brain, show us what you know!
So I pulled out all the stops. I took them to Skyway Jacks.
Skyway Jacks is at 2600 34th St S in St. Pete. We’ve been to Skyway Jacks a bunch of times, but this is our first official Tampa Bay Breakfast Visit. And just to prove how serious this is, there’s an enormous chicken waiting outside the door.
I’ve seen a lot of things, been to a lot of places, and Lordy-be, we’ve eaten a lot of breakfast in our day. But I still don’t know what to make of this.
Skyway Jacks is one of the oldest, strangest, coolest, bestest places for breakfast I ever did know. It’s full of locals of all sorts, it’s always busy, and there’s a simply bizarre collection of pigs everywhere. And a great lunch counter. Keep eating pancakes, Marek, so you can grown tall enough!
Our faithful readers may recall, we judge a place based on some serious factors. Food and price, obviously, but we really appreciate the wacko factor on the menu. And Skyway Jacks has it. This is the only place in town with brains on the menu.
We knew what we came for, so we let mom, err, the Guest Reviewer, take pictures while we goofed off. Marek says, old man, all you ever do is eat pancakes and vote for Democrats. I replied, true, but I also give kisses to Marek!
Breakfast came. I’m not going to lie to you, our loyal TBB fans. We were actually given a choice today between getting a look at a Grand Unified Theory that combines relativistic and quantum observations and getting Skyway Jacks pancakes. There was no hesitation. Also, I’ve got to brag about my killer Rocking with Hawking shirt.
Marek dug right in like he hadn’t seen a pancake in years. Also note the sign behind him. “No hot pants or bathing suits allowed in dining room. Please remove them before entering.” I’ve got nothing to add.
Our guest reviewer hit the French toast with an elbow-drop worthy of Macho Man Randy Savage.
The coffee, you ask? It was delightful. Black like the motor oil of that old VW bus out front. Bitter like being a loyal Bolts fan in the years since 2004. Bottomless like the dress code at a nudist camp. In other words, perfect diner coffee.
This is good breakfast.
You don’t see these much any more. Kind of cool to see one still in operation. Marek wanted to pick up some Pall Malls but I didn’t have any quarters.
Then the check came. Let’s talk about the bill for a moment. Guest Reviewer Mom got french toast and orange juice. She’s so polite and conservative that way. Marek had a pancake. I had coffee, blueberry pancakes, and bacon. That’s three real meals. 17 bones. That’s it.
Marek says, ease back, Gandalf, I’ve got this one covered.
And he’s off through the dining room. I believe I saw him pull some moves that would make this year’s Bucs defense scared.
He came back with change. AND he came back with a POP. Just when you thought it was too good to talk about, it gets even better.
Watch out for this lady.
When we were done with breakfast, we hauled our pancake-laden selves down to Fort Desoto and had “long walks on the beach.” That’s what you do when you’re in love, at least according to the personal ads. And we’re in love. With Skyway Jacks.
There’s few things in the world that you can really love without question. Your parents. The Declaration of Independence. A Tampa Bay sports team having a winning season …
… And This Breakfast. Price: superbly affordable. Mom-n-pop-ness: Top-notch and full of locals. Unique factor: Craziest, oddest, neatest breakfast we know. Chow: The Best gosh-darned Blueberry Pancakes I ever paid for (my own mother doesn’t charge me, so it’s not a fair comparison!).
We’ve given a few 5-pancake ratings this year. Farmer John’s is in Pasco County and so is really outside of Tampa Bay proper. Marek’s Grandma’s breakfast is top-rated but it’s not open to the general public. The breakfast for Tampa’s homeless is rated more for philanthropy than for the fact that it’s a breakfast you can just go get. But Skyway Jacks. THIS is our favorite in-territory, publicly accessible, Tampa Bay Breakfast.
We are teary-eyed as we open the envelope and announce that Skyway Jacks has been awarded an honor we just made up while writing this for “Breakfast of the Year 2009” from Tampa Bay Breakfasts.
Oh, and five pancakes too. Go get you some. Tell ’em Marek and Andy sent ya!
I gotta take a nap now.