Rod Martinez

Author of Middle-Grade and Young Adult Mystery Novels

Favorite place for a power lunch: Brocato’s. The devil crab there is famous, but I dare you to eat a whole Cuban sandwich in one sitting!

Favorite waterfront restaurant: Rusty Bellies in Tarpon Springs. My wife surprised me by taking me there on our anniversary. It’s on the water with a great view for a writer.

Favorite place for authentic cuisine: Arco Iris for Cuban and Spanish food. It’s one of my wife’s favorite places, and she got me hooked.

Favorite weekend brunch spot: The Egg and I in Riverview. I went there for the grand opening, and they’re the bomb diggity. They serve eggs-alent food (get it?).

Favorite Asian food: Wat Temple in Palm River-Clair Mel. It’s become an icon in the Bay area. If you haven’t been, bring an appetite.

Hidden gem restaurant: Maryland Fried Chicken in Plant City. They have the best chicken on the planet, and there’s only one in the whole Bay area!

Favorite place for a long walk: The Riverwalk. I feel like they built that just for me. With the beautiful downtown backdrop, you have the University of Tampa across the water, Curtis Hixon, the Tampa Museum of Art, a dog park and even bikes if you want to rent them.

Favorite museum: The Glazer Children’s Museum. Hey, I write kids’ books.

Favorite place to catch live music: Ricks on the River, right on the river just past downtown. Take the water taxi, and enjoy good music and great food.

Favorite local attraction: Busch Gardens. Being born and raised here, it’s always interesting to see all the changes they’ve made. I remember when the Python roller coaster was the big thing.

Favorite Bay-area beach: Treasure Island. Pop took us there as kids, and I brought my family there. I’m sure I’ll take my grandkids there one day.

Favorite restaurant across the bay: Sloppy Joe’s at the Bilmar in Treasure Island. You have to eat there at least once. That’s Tampa Bay right there.