Largo’s MAGA coffee shop, restaurant owners behaving badly, and more of CL’s most-read food and drinks stories of 2020

Oh, that Hooters where guys can work was popular, too

click to enlarge The view from Conservative Grounds' Oval Office replica in Largo, Florida. - therightcoffee/Twitter
The view from Conservative Grounds' Oval Office replica in Largo, Florida.

The irony of restaurant owners reveling in ruffling feathers to bathe in “liberal tears” is not lost on any of the 81.2 million people who voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris last month (that’s 7 million more votes than Trump got, by the way, but Bay area food news was more than Trump cult members and anti-Antifa sandwich makers. Check out some of 2020’s most popular Food & Drink stories and then really dive in via

Pasco County restaurant owner is sick and tired of Black Lives Matter ‘terrorists,’ says liberals can 'eat somewhere else' In July, Ronald Pentaude—owner of Local Fresh Grill, a Port Richey restaurant described as a “safe harbor for police”—posted a 633-word rant aimed at protesters, and Colin Kapernick and liberals on his businesses’ public Facebook page, adding that people who disagree with his opinions can “eat somewhere else.” He also took aim at Black Lives Matter, antifa and Nancy Pelosi, then told everyone to unfriend him.

Hoots, a new concept from Hooters where dudes can be servers, opens today in St. Pete In May, the new concept described itself as “a little bit Hooters, a little bit its own thing,” which may refer to the fact there’s no servers in pantyhose, and instead the staff (including men) sport khakis and orange shirts. Like it’s mothernest, Hoots focuses on wings, tenders, shrimps and boasts 11 different sauces. It will also give you (read: me) diarrhea if you eat a whole to-go box of wings by yourself.

South Tampa’s Green Lemon 'embarrassed’ and appreciative after Cinco de Mayo shutdown The South Tampa hotspot with particularly good margaritas said that it made the decision to close its doors at 7:20 p.m. when the precautions the restaurant had in place could not handle the thirsty, partially sombrero-ed masses. In a statement to WFLA, Ciccio Restaurant Group’s (CRG) Jordan Warshavsky said The Green Lemon fell short after being swamped by requests for in-person dining, takeout and third party delivery orders, adding that his group was “incredibly embarrassed.” The place has stayed out of trouble since, so that’s something, right?

Following backlash over employee pay, The Getaway in St. Pete shuts down social media In April, during a nearly 10-minute clip intended for staff members, Karina Tashkin, who co-owns The Getaway attempted to explain a presumed lapse in employee paychecks. “When the virus began, and the shutdowns began in restaurants. We didn't have to pay you. Even the last paycheck. But we did. We knew that you needed that we had it, we gave it to you and that's it,” she said. “By now you should be figuring out what job you're going to get, seeing that the industry that you have spent so much time in is not going to be up and running for a while, a long time.”

Tampa Bay Restaurant Depot locations are now open to the general public Historically, the only-Depot-that-matters exclusively served those in the restaurant and hospitality industry. That changed in April, and I still have 50 pounds of frozen kielbasa in my fridge.

FBI and state attorney now investigating violent comments from Tampa restaurateur Lanfranco Pescante Remember when a video showing Mole y Abuela’s crowded rooftop patio during the coronavirus pandemic was the Nocturnal Restaurant Group’s biggest problem? Within a month, co-founder Lanfranco Pescante stepped down after violent and racist comments about protesters surfaced online. Then, on the same day, Nocturnal got dropped by its celebrity chef Fabio Viviani and saw the FBI and state attorney start an investigation of Pescante. Nighty night.

Cheesecake Factory's new Clearwater location will open this fall A pre-pandemic announcement from February. If you’ve never been to a Cheesecake Factory, God bless you. The restaurant chain offers a wide variety of American-style cuisine and over 50 desserts, including 35 different varieties of cheesecake. So make sure whoever you’re dining with isn’t indecisive, or it might make for a long night.

Park & Rec Tampa is being sued by condo association In another pre-pandemic blast from the past this January, loud music and flashing lights proved to be a problem yet again for a downtown Tampa business. We’d give up some sleep to have those kinds of problems back.

Tampa Bay Aldis are selling a mask that could certainly help protect your face in various situations This $14.99 full face snorkel was the weekly special at everybody’s favorite bag-it-yourself grocery store over the summer. It could’ve been a good thing to wear not just in the water or to try protect yourself against COVID-19, but it could’ve also been a nice thing to have on hand if you’re cooking and making tea in the kitchen and something goes wrong with a kettle. And then maybe some pepper sprays everywhere. You might be glad you had this mask. We’re not saying that Aldi is on the side of the revolution, but we’re not not saying that, either.

A new right-wing coffee shop called 'Conservative Grounds' opens in Largo this weekend In February, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay broke the news that Tampa Bay would soon be home to a coffee shop dedicated to Trump, guns, and conservative values. According to its Twitter bio, Conservative Grounds is “a place where rational, conservative, moral, God loving people congregate without the scourge of liberalism.” In the months since, owners have organized supposedly world record-breaking Trump boat parades (officials from the Guinness Book of World Records have yet to confirm it), played host to Don. Jr. and Roger Stone, plus also started holding church services in the parking lot. Owning the libs, for sure.

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About The Authors

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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