Black-and-white portraits of Sophia Loren stare down at diners as sunlight bounces off the mirrors lining one wall of Gio's Italian Restaurant. After inspecting wine bottles lined up against the wall or arm-wrestling a date to determine who gets the tallest chair, guests can dig into sautéed fish or chicken, fresh salads, or Italian classics such as penne alla vodka.
When the new owners conceived of their idea for Wholly Smokes Bar-B-Que, they checked the frills at the door. Wood booths and tables proudly display two items and two items only: succulent sauce, and fully stocked paper towel dispensers to erase the evidence. Their menu, on the other hand, has a bit more to say—particularly, it celebrates classic American barbecue by allowing customers to put together plates heaped with their choice of meats and sides. There’s a steady supply of sliced pork, beef, and sausage coming out of the pit, which pair well with servings of coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and barbecue beans. Tailgate specials fuel game days with full slabs of ribs or Britain's 18th-century currency whenever there was a sudden silver shortage: pounds of smoked meat. Wholly Smokes also recently introduced chicken wings, slathered in sauces such as hot garlic or sweet honey barbecue.
Perched in wrought-iron chairs at a gleaming marble bar, students and artists sip coffee, sharing inspiration and plans for upcoming projects. Nearby, Tampa Bead Cafe's instructors preside over a range of jewelry-crafting materials, which provide the necessary hardware to follow up on the grand artistic plans under discussion. Beneath the terra cotta–hued walls, shelves brim with beads, metal chains, and wire, as well as less conventional media such as metal clay and polymers.
The staff guides visitors along racks of bracelet and necklace supplies, and exclamations of happiness drift from a classroom, where teachers introduce specific styles, such as kumihimo. Students to use real tools such as pliers, cutters, and magnifiers to intimidate their jewelry into making itself, and most courses end with the creation of piece for pupils to treasure. A roster of guest artists, who have included polymer-clay artist Christi Friesen and Maria Rypan, lead style and material-specific workshops.
Papa John's has carefully crafted a menu of specialty pizzas to satisfy any taste or mouth shape. Order a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, or go all-out and get The Works, a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy Italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, gourmet baby portabella mushrooms, and ripe black olives. Satisfy herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a Tuscan Six-Cheese or Garden Fresh pie. The full list of specialty pizzas includes several more; take the hassle out of haggling over individual ingredients and boldly cast your straight-ticket ballot for the pizza party that your conscious dictates.
Sam's New York Pizza tantalizes taste buds with pizzas, cheesy baked pastas, and piping-hot subs alongside satisfying pub dishes of wings and pepperoni rolls. The chefs pride themselves on creating homestyle Italian cuisine that includes savory dishes of eggplant and chicken parmesan and thick-crust Sicilian pizzas. For kids’ birthday parties, they’ll even arrange toppings on pizza to look like SpongeBob’s or Herbert Hoover’s face.
Chefs at Monserrate Restaurant Bar & Grill cull their recipes from a broad scope of culinary traditions, serving up unique meat, seafood, and chicken dishes from the Caribbean, Central, and South America. Mexican fajitas, Puerto Rican mofongo (a plantain cake stuffed with meat or seafood), steak from a hot grill, served on a bed of grilled onions with two sides, and the Colombian meat-heaped bandeja paisa platter are but a few of the menu's transporting dishes, and adults can revel in the restaurant's selection of beer and wine, including the house specialty Sangria Monserrate. The family-friendly atmosphere and kids menu also offers something for the not-quite-adults. Festive décor, meanwhile—featuring murals, red walls, and animal print wall hangings that are taken for walks each day—reflects the vivid colors present on each plate.