Best Of 2012

Best Lunchtime Serenade
JULIE GARISTO

Just past the hectic Saturday deli line at Mazzaro’s, a crooner with a striking swath of white hair winds through the store’s patio tables, serenading couples with tunes like “Torn’a Sorrento,” “O Sole Mio” and other plaintive pop classics. Singer Beppe Cuomo wields a black acoustic with a coy eyebrow raise and wide grin, arresting lunchers mid-panini with his impassioned vocals and sweet strums. Adding to the authenticity of his act, Beppe was born in Campania, the region of Napoli where many of his tunes originated. Grazie, Beppe, for interrupting the din in the most welcome way. Bravissimo! Mazzaro’s, 2909 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-321-2400.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink


Best All-Around Restaurant
James Ostrand

Runners-up: Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe, Datz


Watch: Greg Baker shares the secret dish he makes for his wife Michelle that he never makes for anyone else. The winners of several Best of the Bay awards this year, including Best Restaurant Tag Team, Greg & Michelle spoke with CL's David Warner during the Best of the Bay awards reception Sept. 19 at Creative Loafing.

Best Attempt to Turn St. Pete into SoHo
macdintons.com

When St. Pete changed its drinking curfew to 3 a.m., the downtown area exploded with new bars. Instead of continuing to try luring drinkers from St. Pete over the bridge to Tampa, a few popular SoHo hangouts set up sister establishments in the ’Burg. In November of 2011, World of Beer and MacDinton’s opened their doors, catering to patrons who put a premium on drinking beer over mixed drinks, and who prefer to sing along to cover bands rather than dancing to DJs. MacDinton’s Jannus, 242 First Ave. N, St Petersburg, 727-565-0544, macdintons.com/Jannus-St-Petersburg; World of Beer. 100 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg, 727-823-2337.

Best Bagel Shop

Runners-up: Einstein Bros., Panera

Best baguette
cafeparisbakery.com

Outside of France, good baguettes are hard to come by. You know the kind. They crackle, and spray you with crumbs when your teeth pierce the crisp, chewy crust to reveal what seems an impossibly airy interior. Luckily, Café de Paris Bakery brings France to you in the person of master baker Xavier De Marchi. He’s the real deal, and so is his bread. 2300 Gulf Boulevard, Indian Rocks Beach, 727-593-0277, cafedeparisbakery.com.

Runners-up: Mazzaro's, Housewife Bake Shop

Best Bar Food

Runners-up: Five Bucks, Fly Bar

Best Barbecue Restaurant

Runners-up: Holy Hog, Kojaks

Best Bargain Restaurant
James Ostrand

Runners-up: 220 East, La Teresita

Best Bartending Organization

Tampa has done an amazing job of attracting members to its guild from all aspects of the business; there are “cocktail bartenders,” but also club bartenders and dive bartenders. It’s inspiring to see a small community come together and work harmoniously. I was lucky enough to return to Tampa for their Sunset Tiki party and experience that same energy. I find myself taking pages out of their book here in Boston.

David Delaney Jr is the VP of Boston USBG.