Best Of 2020

'Pint And A Pocket'

Ron DeSantis’ lack of a plan to combat, track and contain coronavirus is extremely bad news for bars and breweries, and while many of them are still navigating the governor’s fuck up, several took Halsey Beshears (DeSantis’ Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation since Jan. 2019) upon his 509 restaurant license loophole that basically let any bar open if it served food. None pointed out the ludicrousness of the 509 gimmick louder than Dissent Craft Brewing Company which offered a Hot Pocket and pint of beer special to patrons both desperate to get out of the house and pour money into one of their favorite breweries. dissentcraftbrewing.com —Ray Roa

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Winner: SOHO Juice Co. sohojuiceco.com

Second Place: Sweet Soul ilovesweetsoul.com

Runner Up: Escape Root Juicery escaperootjuicery.com

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Winner: Red Mesa Restaurant redmesarestaurant.com

Second Place: Bella's Italian Café bellasitaliancafe.com

Runner Up: Bern's Steak House bernssteakhouse.com

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Gourmet Pizza Co.

Netflix and chillin’ with your vegan or gluten-free boo might be a bit cumbersome when you don’t know what takeout to order. Gourmet Pizza Company’s menu is flush with delish options literally anyone can enjoy, and it’s constantly adding new allergy-friendly ingredients. Plus, you can add vegan cheese to just about anything, and you might feel a little less guilty about your carb coma if you opt for the cauliflower crust. gourmetpizza-company.com —Alexis Chamberlain

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7th + Grove, Oxtails

“Rude Boy” is a comfort food supernova. Perhaps because my late mother introduced me to them in my youth, braised oxtails hold a special place in my heart. If you’re a fan of lamb shanks, you’ll be delighted with these. There’s so much collagen that the meat is the lushest imaginable. It sits on a creamy, balanced sage and garlic mash with some braised veggies and crispy cornbread nuggets that have soaked up all the juices, but maintain their crunch. A sprinkling of thin green onions on top finishes off this wonder in style. 7thandgrove.com —Jon Palmer Claridge

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Winner: St. Pete Bagel Co. stpetebagelco.com

Second Place: Bella’s Bakes Cakes and Bagels bellasbakescakesandbagels.com

Runner Up: 18 Bagels Co. 18bagelsco.com

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Winner: Mazzaro's Italian Market mazzarosmarket.com

Second Place: La Segunda lasegundabakery.com

Runner Up: Alessi Bakery alessibakery.com

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Winner: Mazzaro's Italian Market mazzarosmarket.com

Second Place: The Cake Girl thecakegirl.com

Runner Up: Bake'n Babes bakenbabes.com

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Curious Cat Bakery

Curious Cat Bakery owner and one-woman band, Natalia Lima, got crafty once coronavirus forced a switch-up in the small business game. The vegan baker began offering free virtual lessons via Instagram live for all of her bored and ambitious fans practicing social distancing in their homes. On top of lessons, Lima began offering free delivery and weekly pop-up menus for customers (she could safely whip up in her commercial kitchen in St. Pete). Lima also made headlines back in October for making vegan versions of dishes from Netflix's “Great British Bake Off.” Talk about a bakery boss up. curiouscatbakery.com —Jenna Rimensnyder

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Winner: La V lavfusion.com

Second Place: Phoedin phoedin.business.site

Runner Up: Bamboozle Cafe bamboozlecafe.com

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