Cover Story: Building Confidence for 70 Years!

pn-cover-oct-2016Even before there was “Dancing with the Stars” and “So you think you can dance”, dance was a hot topic in American Culture. Ballroom dancing has existed since the 16th Century, but really never arrived in America until the 20th Century.  In 1917 Fred and Adele Astaire began dazzling audiences with their dancing routine.

The duo was cast in “Lady be Good” and  “Funny Face”, both critically acclaimed. By the 1930’s Fred Astaire was paired with Ginger Rogers, and the duo danced their way through 10 most famous Hollywood musicals of all times. Mr. Astaire wanted to establish a chain of dance studios under his name, and in 1947 a great dance heritage began when Mr. Fred co-founded our company. 

fred-astaire-dance-studioToday, numerous Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios located through North America, are required to maintain the highest standards of excellence, and we are proud to be one of them!

Conveniently located in St Petersburg, Florida, we provide the community with highly trained, certified dance instructors and the finest establishment that offer a comfortable environment for learning.

Dancing isn’t just about the steps and the music. It’s a perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction & mental stimulation. Anybody can learn to dance! Our easy 3-way system of teaching ensures thorough learning process, all while keeping it fun!  Whether you are a single person looking for a fun hobby or a couple that wants to rekindle the romance, we are the dance studio for you!

Ballroom Dancing benefits the Mind, Body & Spirit! It improves your health and fitness, reduces stress,  enhances memory, increases self-confidence and a sense of well-being!

You can learn dancing today, No experience or Partner needed!


Fred Astaire | Franchised Dance Studio | 7019 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, Fl |

Come Home to… The Roost!

the-roost-logoJust south of downtown St. Pete  Beach there’s something new to crow about. The Roost has finally opened on Gulf Boulevard and 71st Avenue in St. Pete Beach, serving up broasted chicken with a side of good fun, thanks to owner Beth Morean and manager Buddy Thomas.

Every day except Tuesday the kitchen is open from 11am-10 pm. The Roost serves broasted chicken, and homemade sides that change daily, from fresh veggies, baked Mac n’ cheese,  and cornbread to desserts just like Beth’s Grandma used to make. After 10 pm, bar snacks are available for night owls.

What is broasted chicken?  Broasting is a fast, pressure -cooking method of frying chicken that uses very little oil and results in the healthiest, crispiest, juiciest chicken you’ve ever tasted and their coating is completely gluten free!  You’ll never eat plain old fried chicken again after trying this.

Here’s how it works. All meals  include cornbread or bisquit, one chicken breast; plus choice of 1-3 legs, thighs or wings; With two pieces you get two sides, three or four pieces plus three sides for really hungry folks or those wishing to dine family style. If you want to change out the dark meat for white, it’s only $2.  Add an extra side for another $2. It’s that easy.

Everyday offers up a choice of six side dishes from a tantalizing menu that includes farm favorites such as sweet cole slaw, carrot raisin salad collard greens, black eyed peas, tangy cole slaw, potato salad, waldorf salad, corn pudding, broccoli rice casserole, cheesy potatoes, ginger carrots, squash souffle, mashed potatoes & gravy,  baked beans, sweet potato pie, cauliflower bake, mac’n cheese and served with homemade cornbread or bisquits fresh daily.

Wash it all down with soda, coffee, fresh brewed ice tea or lemonade served in ball mason jars or a cocktail from the full bar (where you can watch your favorite team on television).  Be sure to save room for desserts including blueberry crumble, apple crisp and peach cobbler a  la mode, ala mode with a dollop of whipped cream.

You can dine al fresco at the old-fashioned picnic tables, or inside in the quaint, updated restaurant or bar area. Wooden tables seat ten and twelve people, and the pail blue walls feature rustic art, curio shelves and nostalgic lighting, even an old-fashioned window and, of course, a rooster cut-out by the entryway next to hooks to hang your jacket.

You can also order take-out and it’s a lot tastier, healthier and the same price as the Colonel’s. With free wi-fi and a kid friendly atmosphere, The Roost even allows you to dine with your leashed dog on the patio. Best of all is the friendly servers who deliver your chicken hot and your beer icy cold.

For locals and visitors, this is a terrific alternative.

Where else on the beach can you dine for under $10?

The Roost  – 7141 Gulf Blvd. & 72nd Avenue, St Pete Beach | 727-317-3629  |

Story by Nanette Wiser

Happy Hauntings on Halloween

happy-halloweenLocals looking for the ultimate Halloween party to strut their costumes and inner child throng the bars on the weekend of  Oct. 28, 29 & 30.

Want to know where to go haunting? Sign up for our e-newsletter and will send you the hottest happenings. Until then, use this guide to start planning your boo-tiful Paradise adventures now, best read with a pumpkin pie latte in hand.

Halloween Costumes

Perhaps you’ll take a cue from our cover and dress like your favorite celebrity – Fred Astaire, Madonna or a Kardashian. From devilish divas to pirate wenches, Halloween is one of the biggest adult celebrations of the year. Don’t get caught in last year’s costume if you want to win the costume contest at local bars. Here’s some best bets:

• Smart shoppers pull together one-of-a-kind costumes from local thrift shops and Goodwill.


• You can find vintage clothes at ArtPool Gallery in downtown St. Pete.

• Find your naughty maid and fright masks at Party City, Spirit Halloween Superstore and Halloween City.

• Stop in at Pinellas Park’s Theatrical Fantasy Costumes on Park Blvd. for sexy outfits, Steam Punk, fairy gear and boas, stockings, accessories and more.


Hosting a party at your house is a good way to avoid the bar crowds. Pick a theme, stock up on black and orange plates and utensils, make a party tape (Monster Mash, Thriller) and go wild. Decorate with cobwebs, fake spiders, paper bats and black and orange balloons. Order online from Oriental Trading Company or stock up at the party and dollar stores.


• Foodie Fun: Set out glass jars filled with gorey treats (gummy worms, candy eyeballs) and let your guests make their own goodie bags. Make everything finger food.

• Drink Ideas: If it’s punch, make sure it icky green or devilish red. Add dry ice for an eerie effect.


Halloween Events

Guavaween, costume parades, zombies dancing Thriller and haunted houses are all part of our local Halloween fun.  Local recreation centers host Halloween family costume parades and fun events while some area bars throw legendary freaky bashes (Crabby Bills, The Wharf, Ricky T’s, Daiquiri Deck to name a few).  Let me admit, I’m a scaredy cat so I can’t deal with the walking dead or Casper the ghost.

• For those who can, make a date to attend Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Evil Encore haunted houses Sept. 23 – Oct. 30.

• Tame fun with the family can be had at the Lowry Zoo’s “Creatures of the Night” Oct. 7 – Oct. 29 where you can wander into scare zones or encounter animals at night. Party the night away at a ghoulish dance party. No horror or gore, just scares and startles for one & all.


• Further out, Disney and Universal Studios offer Halloween-themed events for kids of all ages.

ghost-tour-stpeteGhost Tours of St. Petersburg lets you peer into the shadows and mysteries of Florida’s “Sunshine City” on a candlelight walking tour of downtown St. Petersburg! Hear true ghost stories of wandering spirits, haunted mansions, phantom lovers, and age old curses… forgotten tales brought back to life.

• Oct. 15, 11 am – 5 pm, the Studio @ 620 presents Hauntizaar: Halloween and Day of the Dead Arts Festival: This unique seasonal offering will feature original creations from 20 area artists who are passionate about Halloween and Day of the Dead! Come buy yourself something SPOOKTACULAR!!

• On Oct. 22 from 10 am – 1 pm, bring your doggie in costume to Wag-O-Ween Costume Party at the Treasure Island Community Center Park sponsored by Bow Wow Express and Gulf Beaches Rotary. Bring a donation of pet food or treats; RSVP to

pumpkins-on-the-porch• Oct. 27, 5 – 7:30 pm is Tampa Bay Watch’s Pumpkins on the Porch is a fun-filled evening at their Pinellas Bayway South Marine and Education Center that includes a costume contest for best family, boy and girl as well as a showing of  “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

• Oct. 29, 5 pm, John’s Pass Seafood Festival: Zombie Alert! Start practicing for your Thriller dance moves with the club or by video. Thrill St. Pete is a local division of Thrill The World, raising money for charity (Ready for Life – Foster Care here) while celebrating Michael  Jackson’s talent by simultane-ously dancing to “Thriller.”

• Oct. 30, you can run or walk the 8th Annual Florida Halloween Halfathon & 5K in costume (or not) at Ft. De Soto Park.

Halloween Safety

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has some suggestions for your little ghouls to stay safe, suggesting that parents prepare for the spookiest night of the year with these helpful tips:

• When you’re setting up your haunted house with cotton cobwebs, cardboard tombstones, and plastic spiders, be mindful about your visitors’ safety.

• Establish a clear walkway free of tripping hazards (whether they are leashes and hoses or rubber snakes and eyeballs), and keep flammable materials away from fire.

• You can avoid fire by lighting your jack-o-lanterns with holiday lights instead of candles.

• Make sure your kid’s costumes are sensible and they can see clearly if they wear a mask. Be sure to give them a flashlight and attach reflective tape to their costumes. Keep children in sight at ALL times.

• Talk to your children about proper trick-or-treating behavior and manners. Don’t let them eat all their candy at once and sort through it first. 

Story by Nanette Wiser

Cowabunga! St. Pete’s Surf Shacks Rock

sup-coupleWannabes shop at Surf Style. Surfers, skimmers and paddle boarders count on St. Pete’s surf shops for surf movies, cool boards, hot shades and a social life.

Here are some of our favorite local stars.

Island Surf Shop:

In business since 1977, it was the first local surf shop on Indian Rocks Beach. Founded by local surfer Bruce Davies, who after running the shop for 30+ years retired to the mountains of Colorado.  Islands Shop Surf is now owned by Larry, an Indian Rocks Beach local. You can rent paddleboards, surfboards, skimboards and other water sports gear as well as beach chairs by the hour, half-day or day. 309 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach (727) 596-2244

Nekton Surf & Skate:

Originally started by famed international surfer Corey Lopez, the Sand Key surf crowd gathers here.  In addition to surfboards, skateboards, skimboards and paddleboards, you can find hip men and women’s beach apparel and accessories. 1313 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach (727) 593-8292

Shoreline Surf & Skate Shop:

From bikes to surfboards and skateboards, this funky little shop rents and sells what you need to hang ten and will deliver paddleboards. Bike and kayak to your favorite beach from Indian Rocks to Treasure Island. Cute sundresses, swimsuits, accessories, sandals and more. 17725 Gulf Blvd, Redington Shores (727) 851-9830

Mad Beach Surf Shack:

Founded in 2016 by Josh Ross and Todd Young, Mad Beach Surf Shack has everything you need for the beach including flip flops, swimsuits, watersports accessories. They rent paddleboards, sea kayaks and bikes as well as boogie boards and skimboards for sale. 14953 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach (727) 873-7258

Overhead Surf Shop:

Look here for everything surf, skim and skate-related including the latest styles in surf and skate clothing for guys and girls (tee shirts, dresses, shorts, swimwear, bathing suits, board shorts, hats, flip flops, shoes, sunglasses, watches, accessories). They carry a full line of surfboards, skimboards, traction pads, skateboards, longboards, and stand up paddle boards in all the hot brands (Oakley, Billabong, Oakley, Reef, Volcom, O’Neill, Sanuk, Hurley, Von Zipper, Ray Ban, Electric, Costa Del Mar).  12951 Village Blvd., Madeira Beach at John’s Pass (727) 398-7873

Suncoast Surf Shop:

We caught up with Jordan Laflare, manager of Suncoast Surf Shack, just before he headed out to catch waves in Costa Rica. Again. These guys live and breathe the swell, heading over to Sebastian or down to Holmes Beach if they catch a whiff of a storm.

“We’ve been here 50 years and have the largest selection of surfboards, paddleboards and skimboards including Channel Island and Lost. On Monday’s we gather at Sharpie Art Gallery near the Waffle House to paddleboard; we bring boards for those who don’t have one ($20 to rent).  Joe Nuzzo, the owner, is the real deal.”   You can even check Joe’s Surf Report at (727) 363 SURF!

The Shop started back in 1966 when no other surf shops existed in the St. Petersburg, Florida area. Owner Joe was going to be an airplane mechanic, only they sent him home to get a haircut, never to return, hence the new job, surf shop owner. Suncoast started with $300, a few surfboards, 12 tee shirts, a bottle of red wine and some surfboard stickers. In the 60’s things were a little different.  Look for clothing, sandals, wetsuits, tersports accessories, boards (skim, skate, paddle, surf).  9841 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island near Sunset Beach (727) 367-2483

Freaky Tiki Surf Shop:

Once a legendary home away from home for all the local St. Pete Beach surfers (including my good pal Tony Foucher seen surfing above), Robin and Greg’s Surf Shack was Malibu on the east coast. Lifelong friendships were made, trips to Costa Rica and Hawaii dreamed and lived. Now the Freaky Tiki, you’ll find cool clothes, unique designs and shades here, but alas, not to much surf gear and a second location in Clearwater Beach. 5210 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach (727) 367-9898

Lenny’s Surf Shop:

Surfboards, SUPs, skimboards and bikes to rent and buy new or used, it’s got all the brands surfers love (Rip Curl) and is a local hangout for the beach crowd. 7517 Blind Pass Rd., St. Pete Beach (727) 367-5001

Story by Nanette Wiser

Tampa Bay Craft Beers

beer-on-beachWhen you’re nibbling on a burger from this month’s food article, don’t be Wimpy. Why settle for a Bud when you can explore Tampa Bay’s explosion of craft beers? After all, it’s Oktoberfest so go native. Why not take a Beer-Cation and explore local breweries and see what’s on tap at your favorite bar?

In the August/September Madeira Beach issue, we showcased Mad Beach Brewery in John’s Pass. You know I’m nuts for their Dophin Drool and my gluten-free friends swear by the clever cider beers, fruity and refreshing.  Right now, what’s trending is Saison Beers and Oktoberfest hops, so be sure to ask your barkeep what they are pouring now; it won’t last into the holidaze.

Beer cocktails are all the rage, from the traditional shandy (lemonade and beer) to New Orlean’s transplant mixing coffee, dark lager and spiced rum. Mix IPA with tequila, stout with bourbon, wheat beer with gin and saisons with Aperol.

Bars Sporting Local Taps

Some of my beach and Pinellas Park favorite alehouses are Big Jim’s, Finley’s, Guy Harvey Outpost, The Rowe Bar, Hotel Zamora, BRGR, Ricky T’s, Sea Hags, ChillZ, Brown Boxer and Mickey Quinn’s for local beer grazing.  Downtown, everyone in St. Pete does it will, but Stillwater Tavern does it best. New to the beach is Blind Pass Rd.’s Mastry’s Brewing Pub, an open air bar with all your favorite craft beers still getting ready for it’s Hollywood moment.

Favorite Craft Breweries

3 Daughters Brewing: Live bands, trivia nights, yoga, growler specials, tastings and food trucks in an ever-expanding space. FYI:

Cigar City Brewing: From Father’s Day pigfests to a Godzilla-sized tasting room, Wednesday-Sunday tours, it’s the Grandpappy of Tampa Bay craft beers.

Dunedin Brewery: Florida’s oldest brewery, it’s a music-palooza here, and they celebrate their 20th anniversary June 30-July 4.

Green Bench Brewery: Music, yoga, family-friendly alfresco events (and food at Red Mesa’s Cantina behind the Brewery), you’ll find them at local events and throwing block parties.

Sea Dog Brewery: This Maine transplant opened its first brewpub in Clearwater and its next one will be in the old Captain Kosmokos restaurant. They’re adding docks and an outdoor patio for more fun. Look for brew tours and happy hour $3 pints.

More Breweries

Angry Chair, Seminole Heights
Arkane Aleworks, Largo
Barley Mow, Largo
Bastet Brewpub, Tampa
Big Storm, Odessa
Big Top Brewing Company, Sarasota
Black Fox Meadery, Palm Harbor
BrewBus Brewing Company, Tampa
Brewers Tasting Room, St. Pete
Cold Storage Craft Brewery, Seminole Heights-ish
Crooked Thumb Brewing, Safety Harbor
Croxbone Brewing, Tampa
Cycle Brewing, Downtown St. Pete
Darwin Brewering Company, Bradenton
ESB Brewing, East Tampa/Brandon
Escape, Trinity
Hidden Springs Ale Works, Tampa
House of Beer, Citrus Park
House of Beer, Dunedin
JDubs Brewing, Sarasota
Lakeland Brewing Company
Late Start Brewery, Tampa
Little Giant, Bradenton
Local Brewing Company, Palm Harbor
Mad Beach Brewing Company, Madeira Beach
Motorworks Brewing, Bradenton
Pinellas Ale Works, St. Petersburg
Pair-o-Dice, Clearwater
Rapp Brewing Company, Seminole
Saint Pete Brewing Company, Saint Petersburg
Saint Somewhere, Tarpon Springs
Silver King, Tarpon Springs
Southern Brewing and Winemaking, Seminole Heights-ish
Six Ten Brewing,
7venth Sun, Dunedin
Stilt House, Palm Harbor
Tampa Bay Brew Bus, Tampa
Tangent Brewing, Tampa
Three Palms, East Tampa/Brandonish
Two Henry’s Brewing, Plant City
Clearwater Beach Brewing Company,
Darwin Brewing Company/Darwins on Fourth, Sarasota
Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin
Lagerhaus, Palm Harbor
R Bar, Treasure Island
Sarasota Brewing Company, Sarasota
Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Ybor City
The Wild Rover Brewery, Keystone
Woodwright Brewing company, Dunedin

Upcoming Brew Events

Brews by the Bay, Saturday, October 7, 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm – The Florida Aquarium

Make a splash at The Florida Aquarium’s 8th Annual Beer and Food Festival presented by Pepin Distributing. You won’t want to miss this event! We’ll be overflowing with endless beers, delicious food from local area restaurants and a sea of live entertainment. All of our exhibits will be open to enjoy.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival – February 2017 Curtis Hixon Park

Grab your cowboy boots with 4,000 other people for a festival around a day full of beer sippin’ (60 beers), bourbon tastin’ (40 bourbons), music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbeque eatin’ at Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Admission includes a sampling glass so you can enjoy unlimited sampling of beer and bourbon.

Florida Brewer’s Guild Annual Festival – March 2017 Cotanchobee Fort Brook Park

Attention Craft Beer Lovers! The annual Florida Brewers Guild Craft Beer Festival will be located in Cotanchobee Park in downtown Tampa. Help kick-off Tampa Bay Beer Week while raising money for the Florida Brewers Guild, the nonprofit trade association committed to preserving the rights of craft brewers throughout the state.

Tampa Bay Beer Week – March 2017

The inaugural Tampa Bay Beer Week was established in 2012, and has since hosted more than 750 events. Ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings, beer dinners and more, the success of TBBW has been a major factor in the continuing growth of the Tampa Bay area craft beer community. Tampa Bay Beer Week begins on the first Saturday of March and ends 8 days later.

Burger-Mania St. Petersburg

I personally eat in every restaurant I recommend, but this simply would not be possible without suggestions from neighbors, friends, fellow travelers, Paradise News readers and others devoted to the pursuit of really good food.  For certain, everyone’s taste buds differ, your input is important.

My latest adventure is to find the best burgers in the area. Five years ago this was not a difficult challenge. Places to go (when St. Petersburg was a hidden secret) were ma-pa places like El Cap and even Ted Peters Smoked fish, but today, the choices are abundant as evidenced by a mass of burger fans asking, “Where do I go for the very best burg?”

When judging a burger, one must take into account the quality of the beef, added ingredients as well as price value. This fulfilling experience of finding the best burg has everything to do with you, the customer, yearning (and often craving) to return again for that delectable, memorable experience.

When searching for the best burg, one must also consider who’s running the place. Is it an independent striving to create the world’s “best”, or a chain aiming for a delicious burg at a great price? And don’t forget the most significant important criteria: your taste buds.

Though there are hundreds of places in Tampa Bay serving good burgs here area my favorites:

burger-monger-burgerBurger Monger, new on the burger scene recently squeezed in between a new Pei Wei and Marion’s Specialty Shop on Fourth Street North near downtown. The burgs at Monger are unique and one of the tastiest I’ve found. They use a very healthy beef known as Akaushi. It’s a distinct breed established in Japan back in the 40s, now being bred by Heartbrand Beef in Texas. The unique buttery flavor of Akaushi makes for an absolutely scrumptious burger. Additionally, it’s all-natural and contains a higher percentage of marbling than most.  An added benefit is that the burger comes with any and/or all of 20 toppings without an upcharge, and costs only $6.99 for a 6 ounce patty. ($5 on Mondays)  Cheese is a dollar extra. I’ve been there at least six times. The bun is toasted and super fresh. My favorite is topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, pickles, banana peppers and their special Monger Sauce.

I always feel full after one of their burgers, but not bloated. Perhaps that’s because Akaushi beef contains a much higher ratio of mono-saturated fat relative to saturated fat, which the American Heart Association says can actually lower cholesterol and preventions heart disease. No need to tip at Burger Monger because

you place your order cafeteria style. Service is fast, efficient and friendly. Located: Burger Monger, 1325 4th St. N. St. Petersburg, 33702 (727)-592-4206. Other locations in Tampa, Safety Harbor, Brandon and Wesley Chapel.

My second favorite was at Engine No. 9, located on a corner downtown on MLK Boulevard Jr. Their signature burger is 10 ounces, non-fatty, and nicely presented. Though the action revolves around the bar, there are tables to the rear. There’s a long list of burger choices, but according to my waitress the most popular is the “Demi-God” consisting of cheddar, swiss, portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions, and horseradish mayo. Spectacular — including a fresh baked and toasted bun.

If you’re in the mood for a touch of Greek cuisine there’s the Saganaki made with fried Kasseri cheese, Tzatziki sauce, feta and Kalamata olives.  All burgs are served with fries or a choice of sweet potato fries, pencil fries, tater tots, baked beans or a delicious cucumber-tomato salad.  Prices for a burg with a side range from $11.95 – $15.95. Engine No. 9 is located at 56 MLK Jr. Street North, St. Petersburg (727) 623-0938.

My third best discovery was found at Willy’s Burgers & Booze on St. Pete Beach. This den of deliciousness was suggested by a patron I befriended at another burg bar. Signage is poor, so keep your eyes peeled. Yet, once located I guarantee you’ll go back for more.

Just a short stroll from the beach, this bastion of scrumptious food turns out 10 burgers, thick, juicy, loaded with lettuce, red-ripe tomato and a good bun. Order it with cheese and call it The Big Gooey!  Dine al fresco if the weather’s cool; otherwise choose to dine in the rather teeny inside bar where you can here the latest beach gossip from the local dudes enjoying their daily beers. Willy’s Burgers & Booze, 675 Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach, Florida, 33706, 727-329-8667.

There are many honorable mentions, in fact I sampled so many burgs that I may be on a pesco-vegetarian diet for a few weeks.

Sandbar Bill’s, behind the Bonaire, is situated on the Gulf. Here you are welcome to dine in your bikini, shorts, flip flops…you get the idea. Grab a seat at one of the tables overlooking the Gulf, or hang with the friendly locals at the cozy rum-runner filled bar. Their burg is famous for its generous eight ounces, nicely dressed with lettuce and tomato on a sesame coated bun. Not to mention that it is one of the best values on the beach where a burg runs you about $6. Sandbar Bill’s is located at 4350 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach 33706, (727)-360-5596.

The Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg is populated with millennials who travel the distance to enjoy their eight ounce Angus burgs and unique craft beers.  If you don’t mind the noise, (it is loud!) this one of the best downtown eateries. Burgs are served on a lovely toasted brioche bun with a hefty side of fries. Other winners are their wings, fried pickles, corndog nuggets and chicken mac n’ cheese. A superb burg menu runs the gamut from $12 to $15.  The Avenue is located at 330 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg 33701 (727)-851-9531.

At Ted Peter’s Famous Smoked Fish you expect to order smoked mackerel, their red oak smoked salmon, an awesome fish dip and a side of German Style potato salad. These guys have been blowing smoke for years, but they’ve also been serving one of the best burgs near the beach. Burgs weight, about one-third of a pound and will cost you a mere $6.99 Ted Peter’s Smoked Fish is located at 1350 Pasadena Ave. S, So. Pasadena, 33707 (727) 381-7931.

Locale Market, the downtown gourmet  marketplace by Wunderkind, Mike Messina serves a luscious burg, composed of aged and non aged beef served on an amazingly fresh bun along with all the accompaniments.  It will cost you around $13 but, it’s worth every bite. Upstairs is a lovely bar where you can find a hearty red wine to go along with it. Locale Market is located at 179 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg 33701 727-523-6300.

I’ve been patronizing The Chattaway in south St. Petersburg since my kids were in diapers —  and that’s a lot of years.  Never once been have I been disappointed. The history of this uniquely-decorated icon is unique. It once housed a grocery store, a gas station and a trolley stop. You must try the seven ounce Chattaburger “All the Way” with relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and mustard. Onion rings are so large they’re more than a mouthful.  Chattaway is located at 358 22nd Avenue, St. Petersburg, 33705 (727)-823-1594.

el-caps-burgerAnd last— but never least— is a sports bar called El Cap, an institution alive and well after 60 seasons. Hamburgers are only four ounces, but the beef is ground daily and the price is right, only $4.75 for a “World Champ” burg, or you could opt for the Daily Double, two burgs in one. Owner Mary Jean Bonfili oversees the busy operation and keeps the décor much as it always was with sports memorabilia flanking the walls. At least half of the décor on the walls was contributed by avid sports fans. Check out the “Up for the Game” daily specials including a Sunday Super dog. El Cap – 3500 4th St. N, St. Petersburg, 33704 (727)-521-1314. 

Story by Joyce LaFray

Hurricane Prep Vital For All Barrier Island Towns

hurricane-emergency-access-permitAlthough our Pinellas County barrier island towns dodged a bullet when Hermine zipped by, it should be a wake-up call for all residents and businesses. Our entire area A is a “Must Evacuate” when the Hurricane Warning officially is published and the Evacuation Order is issued.

It had been 12 years since the devastating storms of 2005 hit the Florida mainland when Hermine came ashore near Port St. Joe in the Big Bend area and luckily zipped through quickly before heading up the East Coast. Many Pinellas County areas still experienced heavy flooding, beach and dune erosion, and many homes suffered wind and flood damage.

Although thunderstorms and lightning are a more frequent threat within the Tampa Bay area, all our barrier island communities are extremely vulnerable to the damaging effects of hurricanes and tropical storms, with the official season June 1 through Nov. 30.

As an example, St. Pete Beach, with an average land elevation of approximately 7.5 feet above sea level, is highly susceptible to flooding and surges associated with these large storms. In serious storm threat situations, residents and guests of the city are asked to evacuate. This is your basic guide to being prepared and protecting your family and property from the effects of storms.


Hurricane Watches are issued when a storm threatens coastal and inland areas and the development of hurricane conditions is a real possibility.

Listed below is a basic checklist to do if a watch is issued:

Have cash on hand, Proof of Identification and important paperwork available, Stock up on extra water and non-perishable food items, Fill your automobile with gas or make sure you have transportation if needed, Check flashlights, radios and batteries to make sure they are in working order, Stay tuned to radio or TV for storm updates, Keep your cell phone charged, if you have one, Have extra supplies for everyone but especially for young babies & children, special needs individuals and seniors who need the extra help and care, Make arrangements for extra water, food and safety of your pets if needed, Make sure all members of your family are aware of the storm and your plans for evacuation if needed, Refill prescription medications and attend to all medical supply needs, Keep your Hurricane Re-Entry Tag available (see Accompanying Sidebar), Vacationers keep receipts from your place of commercial lodging available, Be prepared if an Evacuation Order is issued.

Hurricane Warnings are issued when hurricane conditions (winds are in excess of 74 MPH, high water and/or storm surge) are expected in a specified area within 24 hours. You must be prepared to evacuate at anytime after a hurricane warning has been issued, even if the weather does not seem threatening at the time.

When a warning is issued:

  • Include the basic checklist for a Hurricane Watch listed above
  • Clear your yard of loose objects such as lawn furniture, garbage cans or anything else that might become launched in high winds
  • Secure your boat if you have one (Most draw bridges will be closed to boat traffic when the Evacuation Order is given)
  • Protect windows, glass doors, garage doors and all entry & exit points to your dwelling
  • Gather items that you will need to take to a shelter or place of safety.
  • Be prepared to leave when the Evacuation Order is issued Evacuation Routes – If you are on or south of 44th Avenue, you evacuate via the Pinellas Bayway Bridge. If you are north of 44th Avenue, use the Corey Causeway Bridge. [Contact your City office for your Evacuation Route.)

Hurricane Re-Entry Tags – In an effort to prevent looting and burglary after a large-scale mandatory evacuation, the City of St. Pete Beach (and all other Barrier Islands) has joined the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to provide free Emergency Access Permits to all business and residents of the barrier islands.

Once a mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, Emergency access Permits will be required to re-enter an evacuated area. Access will be limited based on the closest entry point to your residence. Residents are asked to hang the permit from their vehicle’s rear view mirror upon evacuation. When the order is lifted, law enforcement officers posted at the entry points to the City will scan the barcode on the permit to verify your residence.

As of June 15, 2015, the Sheriff’s Department reentry tags replaced the old St Pete Beach (and other Barrier Island town) reentry tags. Therefore, every resident was required to obtain a new tag. Reentry tags are limited to two (2) per residential property and a maximum of Ten (10) to commercial properties (depending on the commercial property size and needs).

Residents in each town need to bring a driver’s license as proof of residency. Persons who do not have a local address on their driver’s license, may bring in a utility bill or rental agreement showing the address of their residence.    

For all Barrier Island residents and businesses, here are some important contact numbers:

Pinellas County Emergency Management: 727-464-3800
Citizen Information Center (open only during declared emergencies: 727-464-4333
Duke Energy Power Outages: 1-800-228-8485

Story by Steve Traiman

[Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Kavontae Smalls, PCSO Public Information Officer; Pinellas County Emergency Management Office.]

[Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelance business writing services. He can be reached via email at

Hurricane Re-Entry Tag & Evacuation Route Info

Residents from any barrier island community can register directly with their local city government, confirm Evacuation Routes and pick up Re-entry Tags during general office hours.

Belleair Beach — 727-595-4646 or

Belleair Shore — 727-593-9296 or

Clearwater — 727-562-4141 or

Indian Rocks Beach — 727-595-2517 or

Indian Shores — 727-595-5414 or

Madeira Beach — 727-391-3400 or

North Redington Beach — 727-391-4848 or

Redington Beach — 727-391-3875 or

Redington Shores — 727-397-5538 or

St. Pete Beach — 727-363-9206 or

Tierra Verde — 727-582-6636 or

Treasure Island — 727-547-4575 Ext. 0 or

Making History: Downtown’s First Block

st-pete-preservation-centralEverything old is new again. Historical buildings are tres chic, and Downtown’s First Block/Detroit Block is a real beauty. But can it be saved?  The answer is yes, if it’s designated a Landmark District.

It’s been slow going but that’s all about to change.

In 2014, St. Petersburg’s then Councilmember Jeff Danner brought it up and now it’s  finally moving forward.  On September 13, the city’s Community Planning & Preservation Commission (CPPC), conducted a public hearing and voted to recommend city council approve the historic district designation.  The final step  in the process will be another public hearing and a vote by city council on October 20. (Mark your calendar for the 6 pm hearing in City Council chambers – City Hall, 175 5th St. N.)

There are many benefits to the Local Landmark District Designation for the First Block. Most importantly, it minimizes potential for demolitions or alterations that would significantly harm the block’s historic & cohesive sense of identity. It provides tax incentives for property owners within the block and recognizes the significance of First Block in the Burg’s history.

First Block is essentially where the ‘Burg started and includes the individually landmarked Detroit Hotel building on Central Avenue and the historic Bishop Hotel building on 1st Ave. N. Certain owners in the block have publicly stated that they want the unfettered right to tear down their buildings to build high rises and are opposed to the designation.

But consider how significant First Block is in the city’s history. Over the years, it has been called many things including the Detroit Block, Janus Landing and Block 25. Bordered by Central & 1st Ave. N, 2nd and 3rd Streets, it’s home to the 1888 Detroit and 1910 Bishop Hotels.

It’s downtown’s oldest block and the site of some of the city’s earliest businesses and a majority of blocks are pre-1910 structures. So far, only one historic structure on the block has been lost (building at 1 Ave. N & 3 st rd St in 1966). The other structures retain their historic integrity as examples of early 20th century commercial architecture, some designed by prominent architects. Many of the buildings are associated with city founders and pioneers.

Thanks to the hard work of the St. Petersburg Preservation group and other concerned citizens, the Burg might just have a new attraction to boast.  For more information, contact

By Nanette Wiser

Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

We are talking about mosquitoes, and everybody knows that they can be a huge nuisance. However, using chemical products to keep them away is not on the top of everyone’s wish list. Here’s a list of plants that repel mosquitoes – naturally!


Chances are, you’ve heard of this one before- it’s one of the most common  ingredients in most mosquito repellents. Strange enough, citronella is actually a plant! Citronella is a beautiful perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. That aroma masks other scents, and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to things located around it. The citronella plant has a much stronger aroma than other mosquito repellents that contain citronella, so it is a great choice.  Citronella is very easy to grow, and can grow 5 or 6 feet high! Grow in pots and place it around a porch or patio, or plant it directly in a yard or garden bed. It’s a great choice for repelling mosquitoes naturally.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, the plant is also known as horsemint and beebalm. It is a very easy plant for beginning gardeners to grow, even if you don’t have a green thumb! Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant, it resists drought, and grows well in shade. A fast growing and sometimes aggressive plant, you might want to plant it in a pot, so you can move it to wherever you like it doesn’t take over the garden! A bonus, dry the leaves and use for a delicious tea!


Your feline friends will be happy to know that catnip is a great mosquito deterrent! In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. A very easy plant to grow. Be careful not to plant catnip in with other flowers, veggies, or herbs if you have cats in your garden. They’ll roll around in the catnip and smash everything nearby!


A bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive. The flowers make a great border or addition to the flower bed!

Top Tip: Companion plant marigolds with tomatoes. The insects hate them so much they’ll stay away from your beloved tomatoes.


A double whammy when it comes to mosquito protection; plant some basil!  A quick and easy mosquito repellent, and also a delicious fresh herb on hand for your favorite recipes! There are many different varieties of basil around, so find the ones that you like best. Many expert gardeners recommend trying lemon basil or cinnamon basil to deter insects. Plus basil is one of the easiest herbs to keep alive – even the biggest novice can manage it!


Lavender is a gorgeous purple flowering plant with a soothing, calming scent, but, also a natural mosquito repellent? Grow it indoors near a sunny window, or outside in your garden or flower bed to keep the bugs away. Make a delicious herbal tea, or fill your home with a wonderful calming aroma.


Most bugs despise the smell and taste of peppermint, so planting it around your home is a great way to keep them from dropping by uninvited! Plus, if you do happen to get bitten, peppermint leaves rubbed directly onto the skin make a great bite relief treatment!  A bonus is the wonderful minty smell that makes a delicious addition to food and beverages!


Unfortunately, several studies have shown that EATING garlic does not repel mosquitoes. (Unless, however, you were to eat a HUGE amount!) Make sure to add some garlic to your flower bed or vegetable garden for added protection! Not only will you keep mosquitoes away, you’ll also have a whole load of garlic to flavor your food.


The adorable pennyroyal flower is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes! Plant some around your flowerbeds. It also make a great ground-covers.  They attract a plethora of beautiful butterflies. Some people even use pennyroyal to flavor certain fish dishes. As you can see, this plant has plenty of benefits!


A flowering plant that’s a great choice for mosquito repellent. When planted in a hanging container, the colorful blooms cascade over the side of the pot, providing a beautiful visual piece and a very useful bug repellent!


A beautiful flowering plant that is often used to flavor lamb or fish dishes.  It’s perfect to add to your herb garden or flowerbed to keep bugs away and it even attracts butterflies! Plus, you can simply snip a few springs off every time you need to add extra flavor to your lamb or steak!

As you can see, there are many different plants out there that can help to keep bugs away! Next time you reach for the chemical bug spray, take a minute and think again, then choose something more natural!   PN


SPB Support Our Troops – Don’t Forget Those Serving!

spb-city-bannerMore than 10 years have gone by since former St. Pete Beach Mayor Mike Finnerty began helping the Support Our Troops operation that had been started in Indian Shores by then Councilwoman Marlene Clausen.

“St. Pete Beach Support Our Troops has been sending packages filled with food and hygiene products since 2007 to local service men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” notes Terri Finnerty, Mike’s wife and current District 1 Commissioner. “There are still about 9,800 in Afghanistan and 3,200 in Iraq, according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”


Mike and Marlene met at a Barrier Islands Governmental Council meeting shortly after he was first elected to the Commissioner seat for District 1. She announced that she had started a group of volunteers that were sending care packages to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. She wanted to know if anyone else would be interested in helping her with this program. As a former U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, Mike was very enthusiastic about the program.

The Mayor brought the idea of setting up a donation box in City Hall to the Commission and it was thoroughly supported. He made the announcement to residents in June of 2006 and committed to picking up donations each week and delivering them to Indian Shores City Hall.

The donations soon overwhelmed the limited space available there, and the City’s weekly Bingo earnings were not enough to support the necessary shipping costs. As a result, St. Pete Beach took over the operation, finding storage space at City Hall with the City Clerk helping get volunteers to sort, pack and ship the boxes.

Within the first two years almost 1,000 boxes were shipped and the program received over 450 thank you letters from our troops.  These have been on display at all fundraising events, along with pictures sent by our troops, showing them doing their job – defending our country and freedom. This is truly a program that has grown into something all the residents of St. Pete Beach can be proud of – every time a package is sent and a letter is received.


In early 2009, Terri incorporated the program as a non-profit with the state  of Florida, under the name SPB Support Our Troops, Inc. On March 23rd,the  program was granted 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status by the Treasury Department. Therefore, all donations are tax exempt for income tax purposes by individuals and corporations.

By May 2011 the program had outgrown SPB City Hall, which was only open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Since then, the new home of SPB SOT has been St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on 85th Avenue in a much larger first floor room, with access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“At the beginning of this program it was difficult to get money for postage,” Terri recalls,  “so our mailings were not that substantial.  However, with monthly donations from the Friends of the SPB Library, among others, we have not had much of a problem finding money for postage the last four or five years.  Congressman W.C.  ‘Bill’  Young was a great contributor and put us way ahead with money for postage the years he donated to our program before his death.

“My best guess is that over the nine years we have sent approximately 550 boxes a year – to be conservative – over 4,000 total packages.”

“With an extensive wish list of requested products (see at the end of this article), St. Anthony’s Hospital started doing a drive for products we sent to our troops about six years ago. Helen Rogers, their Team Resource Manager, was ultimately promoted to work at the Corporate headquarters of Bay Care Systems where she continued to promote our program.”

“Last year the corporate office began asking individual hospitals in their system to make donations. She sent a copy of the  ‘wish list’  of items requested to each of the 19 hospitals that showed an interest in participating. Therefore, everything on the list and more  has been donated, with dozens of boxes currently being sorted for packing and shipping.”

“Also, financial donations may be sent to SPB Support Our Troops, Inc., 330 85th Ave. St. Pete Beach, FL 33706. A loyal group of dedicated volunteers has been doing this fulfilling labor of love for some time now, and we can always use more help.  Included are Barbara Koceich, Barbara Wiktor, Terri Wiktor, Brenda Wigginton, Diana Simpson, Maureen Carr, Vicki Svensson, Terri & Mike Finnerty.”

Terri emphasizes,  “One of the most difficult issues we have been facing in the last year or more is the confidentiality of disclosing where our men and women are stationed. Currently we use the voter registration list provided by the Supervisor of Elections.”

“We would love to continue sending as many packages as we can every month. However, it is difficult to find names. If you know of anyone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan from this Pinellas County area – family member, friend or client, please let us know with their name, rank and mailing address. We are currently mailing packages to service people from St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Gulfport, Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park.” 

To volunteer for SPB SOT, or to provide area service personnel information, please contact  Terri Finnerty by calling 727-641-2314 or

Terri concludes with this promise:  “The residents of St. Pete Beach are committed to continuing this program until the last of our brave men and women return home safe and sound.”  PN


[Editor’s Note: Special thanks to SPB District 1 Commissioner Terri Finnerty and former SPB Mayor Mike Finnerty for the excellent history and update information for this article.]

Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelance business writing services. He can be reached via email at

SPB Support Our Troops Donation ‘Wish List’

Below is a list of items needed to continue sending packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. For a cash donation please make checks payable to SPB Support Our Troops, Inc. and mail to SPB Support Our Troops, Inc., 330 85th Ave., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706. For a receipt please contact Terri Finnerty at 727-641-2314 or by email at

Food Goods & Toiletries

__ Toothpaste

__ Toothbrushes

__ Moist Wipes

__ Hand Sanitizer

__ Hair Spray (non-aerosol)

__ Lotion

__ Deodorant

__ Razors

__ Shaving Lotion (non-aerosol)

__ Soap

__ Shampoo

__ Conditioner

__ Mouthwash

__ Eye Drops

__ Q-Tips

__ Kleenex (travel size)

__ Feminine Hygiene Items

__ Ibuprofen

__ Tylenol

__ Advil

__ Sunscreen

__ Foot Powder

__ Cotton Balls

__ Washcloths

__ Boot Inserts

__ Packaged Cookies

__ Cheese n Crackers

__ Packaged Candy  (not chocolate)

__ Pudding Packs

__ Gummy Bears

__ Granola Bars

__ Licorice

__ Chapstick

__ Pringles

__ Jerky

__ Gum

__ Peanuts

__ Lifesavers

__ Doritos  (in Pringles container)

__ Salsa in plastic

__ Sandwich Kits  (crackers, tuna)

__ Granola Mixes

__ Powdered Lemonade

__ Powdered Gatorade

__ Hot Cocoa Packets

__ Ice Tea Packets

__ Individual Coffee Bags

__ Cough Drops

__ Tea Bags

__ Ramen Noodles

__ Condiment Packets

__ Trail Mix


__ Bandanas  (Khaki or Camo),

__ Socks

__ Pens

__ Stationary

__ Postcards

__ International Phone Cards

__ Disposable Cameras

__ Batteries

__ CD’s & DVD Movies

__ Mini DVD-Rs or DVD-RWs for recording stories for their children,

__ Magazines 

__ Battery-Operated Fans.

__ Paper