Sunday, January 09, 2005

WHERE WILL BE THE PLACE TO GO NOW IN TAMPA?

In every city, large and small, there is a restaurant considered by many of it's movers and shakers to be "the place" to see and be seen, to get deals done and enjoy a great meal at the same time. In Tampa, that place was Malio's Steak House on Dale Mabry Highway.

Until last night.

The local institution, which attracted celebrities of sports, business, and entertainment over it's 37 years, closed down last night Both the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune featured the restaurant's last night of business, the Times noting that regular George M. Steinbrenner, III --- who had his own private room in the place to do deals --- did takeout including 20 quarts of Malio's special sauce.

The building will be demolished to make room for an office owned by Masonite International.

Owner Malio Iavarone says he would likely be back in time with a smaller steak house.

1 Comments:

Blogger Barry Friedman said...

When I was a reporter in Tampa in the 1970s, the place to take the political pulse of the Latin community was Tropicana Cafe in Ybor City. Roland Manteiga -- the editor of the tri-lingual La Gaceta, a newspaper whose political influence far exceeded its modest circulation -- held court in the corner at a large table equipped with its own telephone. Sitting in his ornate chair, he entertained politicians who wanted to exchange gossip with him and seek favorable coverage.

The walls of the Tropicana were lined with photos of local politicians. The placement of the photos was a guide to the politicians' relative popularity in the Hispanic community. The only large photo was a portrait of Nick Nuccio, a former mayor held in the highest regard by the Tropicana denizens. I don't recall the exact order of the other photos, but I do remember that State Attorney E.J. Salcines and Sheriff Malcolm Beard were at the top of the pecking order. The order of photos shifted after elections, as various office holders' political stock rose and fell.

So Tropicana wouldn't rival Malio's as a place where the downtown blue-bloods made deals. But the walls there were essential political reading to understand a large part of the Tampa population.

12:13 PM  

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