Dale Del Bello remembers everything about his first hibachi experience. While stationed in Korea as a part of the Air Force National Guard, Dale and a group of friends visited Tokyo on leave. They followed a traditional route among his fellow service people, which took him to a hibachi restaurant. Immediately he sensed that he’d stumbled upon more than just dinner. The chefs’ showmanship fascinated him as they seared meats and vegetables on their tabletop grills, allowing guests to sample forkfuls directly off the 600-degree surface. After returning to Buffalo, New York, in 1971, Dale opened his first Arigato location, attempting to recreate what made that dining experience so remarkable. Since then, he has distilled the authentic experience into something that families can enjoy without traveling abroad, establishing Arigato restaurants throughout New York and Florida and staffing them with more than 60 chefs from Japan.
Surrounded by 8–10 diners, these chefs act not only as the restaurant’s culinary creators, but also as showmen and magicians of sorts, dexterously slicing ingredients, flipping shrimp tails into their hats, and conjuring soy sauce out of thin air. Away from the flaming tabletops, meanwhile, bartenders make use of their own skill sets as they mix specialty cocktails, which occasionally use splashes of plum wine or sake to imbue familiar-sounding drinks with new dimension.
String lights glimmer on the hunter-green walls like stars through evening foliage. A large mural depicts a distant city against a burgundy-and-gray dusk. Some of these accents date back to Cafe Vienna’s inception 40 years ago, but the torch has since been passed to Tony Klobuchar, whose son Steve mans the kitchen. From those clattering confines spill the aromas of time-tested Austro-Hungarian cuisine, including steaming bratwurst platters and marinated herring. Though the servers move quickly, there's much that goes into the preparation of these dishes; tender beef-loin sauerbraten, for example, marinates in traditional spices and red-wine vinegar for a minimum of five days. Above plates of grilled pork schnitzel, imported German brews from Spaten and Franziskaner crash together, sending flecks of foam to tablecloths in the deep red hues of a fire truck that has been driving around with hair curlers on.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
A childhood spent on the beach turned into a big business for the family behind the Boucher Brothers. They started the business in 1987 and continue to serve hotels, condos, and public beaches with concessions and beach rentals on Florida’s coasts, at Virginia Beach, and on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. They take beachgoers parasailing above the waves and rent out a slew of equipment that includes Waverunners, boogie boards, and kayaks. Alternatively, landlubbers can sun themselves on lounge chairs or take shelter from the sun's rays in a cabana, beneath an umbrella, or in the shadow of a highly trained cumulus cloud. As a testament to the staff's dedication to pampering patrons, Boucher Brothers has received the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences' Five Star Diamond Award for 10 years running.
A seafood market stocked with fresh fish. A marina with direct access to the Weedon Island Preserve. Boat rentals. At I.C. Sharks, staff members sate clients’ hungers for both seafood and coastal exploration, specializing in these and other seashore exploits. The scent of steamed blue crabs lures visitors into the facility’s crab shanty, C.R. Crabs, or into the fish market, where I.C.'s crew works closely with local fishermen to source daily catches of fish, including grouper, tuna, and snapper. At the docks, boating experts teach customers to man Boston Whalers before they launch for up to a day’s worth of boating recreation. Engines roar as these vessels follow charts through nearby islands, where fishermen plop lines into the water or sightseers marvel at dolphins as they sign autographs in their natural habitats. Guests can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood dishes at the waterfront cafe and tiki bar, including fresh grouper sandwiches, fresh Florida fish tacos, and smoked mahi mahi fish spread, washing it down with an adult beverage, including frozen drinks.
Twisted Cork Grilles menu teems with hearty meals employing locally grown hand picked ingredients. Creative and modern twists such as fried green tomatoes and crawfish hushpuppies sizzle with reminders of old southern favorites and regional gulf cuisine.