Q Dogs, Tarpon Springs FL

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that Tarpon Springs has a very big Greek-American population, and a whole lot of restaurants serving Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. It’s possible that the town has reached saturation point, because how’s a new restaurant supposed to stand out in such a thriving community with established customer loyalty? That’s what George Krouskos had to consider when he was thinking about opening a restaurant, and he settled on a hot dog stand that also smokes up some pretty good barbecue in an outdoor steel upright. Continue reading “Q Dogs, Tarpon Springs FL”

Hellas Restaurant, Tarpon Springs FL

Six years ago, Marie and I drove up to Vermont, and visited her old college buddy Debbie for far too few hours. We had a really terrific dinner at Richmond’s Kitchen Table Bistro, and made our way on to New Hampshire.

A few months ago, Debbie and her husband relocated to Tarpon Springs, a suburb about twenty miles north of Tampa. Whatever we thought we were doing the next time we went to visit my mom, we had to incorporate a trip to see Debbie. Naturally, I was immediately digging around for something to eat, and was pleasantly surprised by the amazing number of Greek restaurants. That’s because the city of 24,000 has the highest percentage of Greek-Americans of any municipality in the country. The city itself is completely lovely, and is home to the gorgeous St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Continue reading “Hellas Restaurant, Tarpon Springs FL”

Photo Post 20: Repurposed Shrimp Boats in Florida

A couple of years ago, one of our readers let us know that there had been a Shrimp Boats restaurant on US-19 in Florida, on the stretch north of Tampa between the towns of Hollywood and Tarpon Springs. Well, I said, that sounds like a stretch of a road that we will never visit. Well, never say never, because, as you’ll see in the next chapter, we went to visit Tarpon Springs, and so I looked up that business. It’s currently the home of Sunray Auto Sales, and the somewhat bemused proprietors did not object to me wandering around their property taking pictures. Continue reading “Photo Post 20: Repurposed Shrimp Boats in Florida”

Satchel’s Pizza, Gainesville FL

Back in the first couple of years of this blog, we entertained a goal that sounded really fun. We wanted to visit every SEC city and have at least one meal. Then the conference expanded to incorporate two very distant cities, probably just to spite us, with only three to go. Well, never mind. I wasn’t in any hurry to visit Gainesville anyway. Then my mother moved to Apopka, meaning we could probably justify swinging through Gainesville on the way to visit her. I suppose, if we must. Continue reading “Satchel’s Pizza, Gainesville FL”

Porkie’s Original BBQ, Apopka FL

Last week, I mentioned that I have a hypothesis that, rather than seeing barbecue traditions evolve region-to-region, in Florida it’s more likely that individual restaurants will crop up that have the look and feel of what the owners grew up knowing someplace else. Now, obviously, that can happen anywhere, and will; witness the Texas-style meat market, Moonie’s, just northeast of Atlanta in Flowery Branch. But I suspect that this is much more common in Florida than anywhere else in the southeast. Absent a strong regional barbecue identity that defines what everybody in town expects, places can pop up with the flavors and tastes of other regions much more easily. This is somewhat related to what Todd Brock was getting at in his excellent story about Atlanta barbecue in Creative Loafing last October, which you should read. Continue reading “Porkie’s Original BBQ, Apopka FL”

Tijuana Flats Burrito Company, Apopka FL

There was never a place in the blog’s narrative for this before now, but we had a very stunning surprise in our lives this past September. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed that my mother, who lived in Smyrna GA and at whose home – my childhood home – we often met up for meals in and around Vinings, rather abruptly vanished from our stories. That’s because she spent six or so weeks discreetly reconnecting with a very old flame and then gave us about three weeks’ notice that she was marrying the fellow, selling the house, and retiring to Florida with him. So there she now resides, just outside the town of Apopka, about twenty miles north of Orlando, and home to nine million plant nurseries and landscaping companies, enjoying warmer weather and going to the gym five days a week. She’s happy, active, and doing very well. Continue reading “Tijuana Flats Burrito Company, Apopka FL”

Whiteway Delicatessen, Jacksonville FL

When we visited Jacksonville in December 2013, I had hoped to stop by Whiteway Delicatessen for lunch. It’s one of the city’s oldest restaurants, and said to be one of the best places in town to sample one of Jacksonville’s iconic rider sandwiches. Unfortunately, we had to come on a Saturday, when they’re closed, so we made do with a rider from the small chain The Sheik instead. It was a pleasant little oddity, but pretty far from being worth a really long drive. Continue reading “Whiteway Delicatessen, Jacksonville FL”