During World War I, Greek immigrant Louis Pappas served in the Army as a personal chef to General John Pershing. To give the hungry general some extra nutrition, Louis began adding scoops of potato salad to his traditional greek salads. When Louis returned to the United States, he opened up his own restaurant, Louis Pappas Riverside Café, where he would re-create this signature dish using fresh produce from his own ranch in Tarpon Springs.
Today, Louis Pappas's grandson continues his grandfather's old Florida family tradition at Pappas Ranch. There, he and his kitchen serve up a new menu of fresh seafood, poultry, sandwiches, street tacos, hand-cut steaks, and barbecue dishes whose "family flair" has been lauded by Metromix Tampa Bay. They continue to scoop savory housemade potato salad into their internationally renowned Louis Pappas Famous greek salad, tossing it in massive bowls that serve as many as four diners. Bartenders dole out glasses of locally brewed craft beers and wine or mix cocktails and martinis at the full center bar with flat-screen TVs.
The restaurant's decor channels that of the original Pappas family ranch. In the dining room, spacious booths are surrounded by rustic wooden walls, and outside is a covered outdoor patio.
A.J. Jewell, born in Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother who was a chef, inherited a love of cooking that transcended the Pacific. When he moved to Tampa in the 1980s, it was only logical that he follow his mother into the restaurant business. At age 18, he trained as a teppanyaki chef, learning to commune with the open flame, and soon after apprenticed under master chefs to perfect his technique. After years at Sushi Tsu, sharpening his culinary acumen, and studying world cuisine, Jewell became its owner. Each of Sushi Tsu's chefs apprentices under Jewell's sage gaze for two years before stepping into their role as teppanyaki specialists. Diners can request their favorite chef for their meal to build a rapport or establish an ongoing rock-paper-scissors game. In addition to serving fresh sushi and hot hibachi-style steakhouse food, the eatery showcases local artists with occasional live jazz music on weekends and artists painting inside the restaurant.
Outside Ballyhoo Grill, a sign made to look like a colorful speedboat beckons to passersby, hinting at the smorgasbord of fresh seafood to be found within. A tropical theme permeates the space, with live music setting a relaxing mood and nautical decor—such as a surfboard, an alligator head, and a stuffed and mounted kraken—adorning the walls. Guests dine on surf 'n' turf plates, fish tacos, pulled pork, and burgers as they share friendly conversation and clink cocktail glasses and mugs of draft beer.
Aged, Hand-Cut Steaks | Award-Winning Wine Selection | Renowned Dessert Room | Farm-Fresh Vegetables
What's in a Name: Bern Laxer once vowed to never enter the restaurant business. Thankfully, that vow didn't last, and after running a successful luncheonette with his wife, Gert, Bern opened Bern's Steak House in March of 1956. These days, Bern and Gert's son, David, oversees the family business.
While You're Waiting: Peruse a list of the more than half a million bottles stocked in Bern's wine cellar. Recipient of Wine Spectator's 2013 Grand Award, the list—updated four times a year—includes more than 5,500 reds, 1,000 whites, and 200 table wines by the glass.
When to Go: Reservations are required at least two weeks in advance during Bern's busy season during October–March, so either mark your calendars ahead of time or try your luck during the spring and summer months.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Stop by the steak house's sister restaurant, SideBern's (2208 W. Morrison Avenue). Initially an after-dinner alternative to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room, SideBern's now showcases new American cuisine by James Beard semi-finalist Chad Johnson.
Living up to your dad's legacy can be tough when your dad was George Steinbrenner's go-to guy. Malio Iavarone often hosted "The Boss" during his tenure as the Yankees manager, serving him steaks at the original Malio's Steakhouse on South Dale Mabry. Today, Malio's son Derek works to produce similar hype at a new, swankier location in Rivergate Tower, where the one-word difference in the venue's name—"Prime" hints at the USDA Prime beef cooked within—belies the recipes’ faithful adherence to tradition.
Each steak, from the New York strip to the filet, receives a simple yet meticulously scattered dash of salt and pepper. Couples can even go all-out with a 40-oz. prime porterhouse for two, admittedly a more filling romantic dinner than catching and swallowing each other’s blown kisses. Aside from tender cuts of beef, the menu at Malio's boasts lamb and veal chops as well as lobster tails and Chilean sea bass cooked several ways, including blackened, Theresa-style, and pan-fried.
Like the patrons who like their steaks rare, Malio’s Prime Steakhouse seems enamored with the color red. Broad red columns stand between the windows overlooking the waterfront, and framed works by Joe Testa-Secca—Art Professor Emeritus at the University of Tampa—hang over the crimson semicircular booths. The reds from a list of more than 200 wines complete the motif.
With a stay at Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, you'll be on the beach and minutes from Dolphin Landings Charter Boat Center. This beach hotel is within the vicinity of John's Pass and Village Boardwalk and Boyd Hill Nature Park.
Make yourself at home in one of the 380 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and iPod docking stations. Flat-screen televisions are provided for your entertainment. Bathrooms have complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include laptop-compatible safes and complimentary weekday newspapers, and housekeeping is provided daily.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Dip into one of the 2 spa tubs or enjoy other recreational amenities, which include a fitness facility. This hotel also features wireless Internet access (surcharge), a concierge desk, and an arcade/game room.
Enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or stay in and take advantage of the hotel's room service (during limited hours). While enjoying a refreshing dip in the hotel pool, you can order your favorite drink at the poolside bar.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a business center, audiovisual equipment, and express check-out. Planning an event in St. Pete Beach? This hotel has 15,000 square feet (1394 square meters) of space consisting of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. Parking (subject to charges) is available onsite.