Best healthy food:
For healthy eating, I go to Fresh Kitchen on Howard. They have healthy proteins, brown rice and cold-pressed juices.
Best exercise spot:
I work out at The Prep of South Tampa, where former Buccaneer Chris Hovan and I will be training linemen.
Best place to get a craft beer:
Cigar City Brewery. I have watched Joey Redner grow Cigar City from the bottom up, and I consider Cigar City to be the pioneers of craft beer in the Bay area. Cigar City was my first craft beer experience, and I consider it the best!
Best place to catch a live band:
Jannus Live. I’ve watched groups from Wu-Tang Clan to Citizen Cope at Jannus Live. I love an outdoor venue where there are no bad seats, and everyone is up close and really laidback.
Place that’s worth the drive over the bridge:
Mazzaro’s Italian Market is like Disneyland for foodies. Whether you’re looking for a great wine, a particular cheese, fresh homemade pasta, fresh brewed coffee or a ready-made meal – Mazzaro’s is the ticket. It can be a zoo, but their product is worth the mayhem.
Cucumber Gimlet at Ocean Prime. The drink is perfect, the ice is perfect and it equates to my favorite Bay area drink. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny. There is always nice scenery at Ocean Prime.
Best place to have dinner on the water:
I.C. Sharks, which has a tiki bar full of laidback fishermen-type of people, who love fresh seafood and a good stiff drink. The view of the mangroves and incoming boats is quite soothing while you sip on an “orange crush.” They have the freshest oysters, fabulous fish spread and nice smoked salmon.
4 Rivers Smokehouse. Ray Lampe first exposed me to 4 Rivers several months ago, and I’m glad there is now a 4 Rivers on MacDill and Swann. They have a championship brisket, great smoked sausage, killer beef ribs and a gang of great sides.
Sakana. Chef Daniel is a genius! The sushi at Sakana is very creative, and it makes eating sushi an experience. You can sit down at the bar or in front of the chef and watch your meal being prepared. Sakana is tucked in at the Bayshore end of Gandy Boulevard, so you might miss it, but it’s definitely worth the trip!
Best dive bar:
Elmer’s Sports Café. It’s a place to hang out if you just want to throw on some sweatpants and a raggedy T-shirt while sipping on drinks that are served in plastic cups. The bar itself is not much to look at, but they have top-notch wings, all-around great bar food and I promise nobody will judge you there.
Best place to grab a drink in downtown after work:
The Station Grill right next to the University of Tampa is a great new place to hang out and meet some interesting characters. It’s my personal hangout for Monday Night Football and an ideal choice for craft beer, domestics or top shelf. Simply put: it’s a hidden gem.
Best place to watch a Lightning game:
Amalie Arena’s WDAE Den. It’s filled with WDAE on-air talent and big-time WDAE clients and listeners. It’s always a great time when you get with your co-workers outside of the work environment to enjoy action-packed entertainment and endless food and drinks.
Place you take friends from out of town:
717 South has been in my top ten Bay area restaurants forever. Their consistent food and great service makes me recommend 717 South to anybody asking for a unique restaurant. It’s a great place for lunch, dinner or happy hour. I’ve always loved their pot roast, brussel sprouts and their famous 717 house salad. You can’t go wrong at 717 South.
Best Italian food:
Who doesn’t know of Bella’s in South Tampa? If you’ve been there, you know you will experience amazing authentic Italian cuisine. Bella’s makes one mean lasagna! When it comes to their meatballs – fuhgeddaboudit! And their grouper piccata is a culinary delight.
Square 1 Burgers is my go-to place to curb my burger fix. They have over 25 different burgers to choose from. Some of my favorites are the 3 Mushroom, the Double Bacon Boomer Sooner and the Buffalo Bob. Pull up to the bar and order my all-time favorite drink, Pinks and Greens.
DeLosa’s. I drive all the way to John’s Pass for DeLosa’s wings. They’re known for their pizza and Italian food, but I think their wings are the best on the planet. Their wings are perfectly cooked and crispy, just how I like them. I suggest you order them with their famous Cajun crinkle-cut fries.
Favorite place for date night:
Z Grille. My wife and I agree that Z Grille is our favorite restaurant to enjoy on our date night. The food speaks for itself. Chef Zack will wow you with his brussel sprouts and bacon, dirty deviled eggs, WTF fries with black truffle salt or his foie gras steak burger. But the star of the show is his Dr. Pepper fried ribs, aka “meat candy,” in a sweet chili sauce served with sesame slaw. The bridge isn’t big enough to keep me away from Z Grille.
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. Late, great legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee exposed me to Anthony’s about a half dozen years ago. Anthony’s serves my favorite style of pizza – not too greasy with a well-done crust. My go-to pizzas are their meat lover’s and their cauliflower pizza. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s delicious! Don’t sleep on Anthony’s wings and ribs, as well.