Bavaro’s for an Authentic Napoletana Experience

Yesterday was not only celebrated by love struck Valentine’s everywhere, but it also happened to be Ash Wednesday.

As my husband Jim and I are not only forty year hospitality veterans, but also devout Catholics we needed to factor in a couple of carefully considered pieces of criteria for our dining options.

One, we absolutely could not eat any meat whatsoever and Two, we did not want to be anywhere close to any restaurant at all past 5:00 when vast numbers of lovebirds would begin to line up two by two at the door.

Therefore, at 3:00 in the afternoon we decided to head towards downtown St. Pete to one of our favorite restaurants on Central Avenue.

Tap the picture for the Bavarro website
The red, while & green colors of the Italian flag are part of the Margherita Pizza.

Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana and Pastaria filled number one of our essential criteria as they serve one of the finest Margherita Pizza’a anywhere.

The Bavaro’s well written website shares some very intriguing history on the beginnings of pizza within sixteenth century Naples culture when it was served strictly as a street food.

The website goes on to say that it wasn’t until 1889 in honor of the Queen Consort of Italy Margherita Savoy that a Neopolitan Pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita” by using red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil to represent the national colors of Italy as seen on the Italian flag.

Dan Bavaro and his wife Anna- Maria have gone to great lengths after leaving their New Jersey home and opening their first restaurant in March of 2009 in Tampa to provide the most authentic Napoletena wood fired pizza imaginable.

Their ovens are hand crafted in Napoli with materials such as Santa Maria bricks for durability and Italian Mosaic tiles for the perfect exterior aesthetic.

You can watch your pizza being created while sipping a draft Moretti or Peroni

At a 900 degree oven temperature we were able to fill criteria number two by ordering, being served and completely devouring our crispy and perfectly executed pizza in one hours time.

We did allow ourselves a Moretti draft beer, but only one in observance of a day in which we believe a certain amount of fasting is appropriate.

Next time in we are less restricted by our religious convictions, we may want to indulge in the Tre-Carne Pizza with Soppresata, Proscuitto and Spicy Italian sausage.

I would also be very interested in the Penne ala Vodka with San Marsano Tomato, Pancetta and onions. I think that would go very nicely with the Mediterranean Salad of baby spinach, pine nuts, red onion, grape tomato and feta cheese with a fig Vinaigrette.

Great lunchtime specials

On Wednesday’s between 5-10 p.m. and Friday’s between 11-3 p.m. you can take advantage of 50% off Vino and Birre. I think a Sangiovese, Caldora or a Chianti, Casa di Monte would pair nicely with the items that I have mentioned above.

No matter the occasion you simply can’t go wrong by trying Bavaro’s freshly made dishes that include only the finest of ingredients and a whole lot of love.

Patti Abate and her husband are loving our opportunity to enjoy the fun restaurants and taverns of St. Pete, Tampa Bay and beyond. We have great chefs here and delicious foods,…and wines & craft beers. We can’t contain ourselves, but we are loving the fact that we can be so positive in sharing our food blog thoughts.

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And Thank you from Patti and Jim

Art Architecture & Great Prime Rib

After reading a great article on the site Jim and I decided to check out the Hive Restaurant located in the Historic Grand Central & Warehouse Art District.

The owners and staff were in the mist of making some major changes to the menu offerings and the overall design of the restaurants entrance on the day we happened by.

The Hive Prime Rib topped with Rosemary Bacon butter

Still, our server and bartender whose name is Pam was very friendly and endorsed our decision to order the 10 oz. Prime Rib special that is offered at a mere $9.95 and included garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal sauteed vegetables.

We enjoyed the delicious and juicy prime rib immensely and plan to return soon to see what other developments have occurred at this art-deco fifty room property that is inspired by 1920’s Mediterranean revival architecture and possesses a certain type of ambiance that you are not likely to find anywhere else.

The wall sized mural of the restaurants namesake Dr. Vinton J. Hive, a well traveled and colorful character, displays a fashionable gentleman who is credited with quotes such as, “I believe books should be like a prime rib steak – good and thick.”

I agree with you Dr. Hive and that’s exactly why we will be returning to one of St. Pete’s newest and most eclectic additions to the food scene soon.

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Patricia Abate is a true lover of delicious prime rib and we had to make our way to The Hive as we are sure you will if you are a fan too. Patricia is co-creator of Tampa Bay’s Remarkable Restaurants with husband James Poling.

We offer a Hospitality Training Site to teach skills to new people to our industry and help refresh those skills of professionals including managers and owners. Check out our page at:


The Perfect Light Lunch at The Friendly Fisherman

While taking photo’s at John’s Pass Boardwalk Village last week we decided to stop for lunch at the Friendly Fisherman.

First of all, we enjoyed our server Peter’s friendly, fun, and attentive service so much that we decided to feature him on our blog page entitled The Remarkable One’s.


(Peter was such a good waiter that we reflected on the style of wait-person we love to  envision when we discuss our Hospitality Training Program at 

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We were also elated by the seventy five degree temp in late January and the perfect waterfront view of the bay.

In addition to all of the above the Friendly Fisherman’s Corn Fritters that were lightly dusted in confectioners sugar and served with a side of honey and the Blackened Whitefish Sandwich that we shared made the perfect light lunch along with the Key West American Pale Ale.

Stop at the Friendly Fisherman the next time you are taking in the sites and sounds of John’s Pass Boardwalk Village. You will be glad you did.


Patti Abate is co-creator of this blog and the Hospitality Training Program titled

She is committed to sharing only positive attributes of a restaurant, hotel or winery along with great service provided by staff and management or ownership.  Please feel free to share our blog with anyone and we thank you for viewing our site. Her husband Jim Poling and she have been forty year veterans of this industry and share a tremendous passion for it.

Remarkable Owners at The Old Key West Bar & Grill

Stopping in for the Wednesday $5 burger special at The Old Key West Bar & Grill on Central Avenue in St. Pete was a great experience in more ways than one.

Jim and I have driven past the tropically landscaped pastel colored corner restaurant so many times on the way to some of our favorite downtown dining destinations.

On this particular late January afternoon we noticed the burger special that was advertised on a hand written sandwich board and decided to stop in.

We were greeted by a very friendly man who directed us to sit wherever we liked and soon after doing so he appeared at our comfy over-sized booth to offer the menu and ask about our beverages.

When we inquired about the draft beer selection he proudly recited every single one and they seemed to number a dozen or so.

Within that selection were two that were notable for us, the locally made 3 Daughter’s Beach Blonde and the Big Storm Amber Ale.

We of course took advantage of the burger special which comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and pickles and a side order of crispy seasoned fries.

I couldn’t resist the bacon and American cheese for a slight add-on and Jim added Blue Cheese crumbles. The burger arrived quickly and was absolutely juicy and delicious.

After telling Mitch how much we appreciated his service and everything about our visit to The Old Key West Bar & Grill he told us how much he appreciated that as he and his wife Crystal are the owners.

We asked if we could take their photo and feature them as our Tampa Bay Owners of the Week which we list on our site under the tab Excellent Servers We Have Met.

They were very appreciative and it is apparent that they are a couple that puts a great deal of talent, passion, & excitement into their operation.

You can review their extensive menu offerings and fun weekly events on their very attractive website:

The only thing that would make this restaurant more authentic as a Key West Bar would be live chickens running around the restaurant.

We are now loyal fans and we’ll be stopping in soon for their fried fish dinner with home made hush puppies or maybe their Mexican Rice Bowl and a nice slice of Key Lime Pie.

Well done Mitch and Crystal as a couple who has worked together in the hospitality industry for over 40 years we like your spirit. This is a couple that truly believes in giving #remarkableservice. If you are looking to join the ranks of great servers making a great income or possibly becoming an owner of your own restaurant or bar consider viewing our training options at

Anyone for a game of cornhole?