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.
The spirited wine bar fetes grown-up grape-juice lovers of all varietals with a plethora of deliciously fermented beverages and savory eats alongside a cozy smoking room ideal for enjoying top-brand cigars. Settle in at one of the hardwood high-top tables or along the timber-culled bar with the mediterranean flatbread teeming with feta cheese, chicken, creamy hummus, and a smattering of kalamata olives ($8), or grab hold of the bumble-bee banini buzzing with a white-albacore-tuna medley in a warm, bready embrace ($7). Like Derrida's interpretation of Dr. Seuss, the deconstructed salad breaks down a list of ingredients for creative herbivores to choose from, including monterey cheese, sundried tomatoes, black olives, and a choice of drizzled dressing ($6). Myriad wine tapas such as the smoked salmon ($9), artisan cheese ($8), and toast-point trio ($6) complement the varied vineyard delights available in the fermentation emporium.
Black-and-white checkerboard floors lend an old-fashioned air to Land and Sea Market, though butchers have only been preparing fillets and chops there since 1995. Freshly carved meats fill the store's coolers, including lamb shanks, quick-fry pork chops, and bratwurst, as well as bone-in chicken breasts and an array of seafood such as halibut and littleneck clams. The butchers also package their own meats such as bacon-wrapped filet mignon, chicken cordon bleu, and bourbon-marinated salmon, often seasoning the meats with their own house blend of spices. In addition to its savory selection of proteins, the shop also stocks grocery items such as vegetables and wines from around the solar system.
Lenny's fills stomachs across the nation with a menu of hearty sandwiches stuffed with sliced-to-order deli meats, chicken and tuna salads made from scratch, and a specialty hot-pepper relish made from whole diced cherry peppers. Regular size subs measure 7.5 inches and contain a half pound of meat and cheese, and large subs stretch to 15 inches, pack a full pound of foodstuffs, and exert a gravitational pull on coastal tides.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
Founded by Don and Cathy Statz in 1996, Victorian Village still employs many of its original staffers, who remain dedicated to helping guests find their ideal gift. Sips of gourmet coffee and nibbles of cookies provide much-needed sustenance as shoppers navigate the sprawling 15,999-square-foot store. Collectibles from Brighton, Lladro, and Swarovski beckon from their dedicated nooks, and patterned accessories by Vera Bradley encourage appropriate organization of toiletries, jewelry, and paisley swatch collections.