great newsgroup, guys. i'm definitely a chowhound, and have just graduated from U of S. Fla with an MA in History. I've been working on a book about the history of Tampa--- through its restaurants. I've been doing serious research (written and oral) since last summer, and hope to finish it by the end of the year.
i've been doing interviews with many people in Tampa: Chowhounds, restaurant owners, cigar workers, restaurant workers, etc.
I'm covering the entire 20th century in Tampa, including the Spanish, Cuban, Italian, and African-American influences to the city's cuisine. I also cover segregation, the Depression, WW2, the changing roles of women, fast food, fine dining, city planning, urban renewal, race riots, labor militancy (cigar worker and waiter's strikes), industrialization (hence the restaurant INDUSTRY), suburbanization, food courts, prohibition, etc... in other words, just about any angle you could think of!
I was hoping some of you Chowhounds out there would be familiar with some of Tampa'ds old restaurants--- but my inquiry doesn't stop there. Any new or contemporary restaurants of interest (food, culture, history)would be included as well, like Betty's Corner (bad neighborhood, great sould food), Tampa Bay Brewing co (good food, GREAT beer) La Teresita (old fashioned Spanish diner), the old Meeting House (diner, soda fountain), Palios (old school cracker fry shack), Trang Viet Cuisine (my fave) and on and on. how about places where foreigners and immigrants eat out together, like the ill-fated Yangtze River. I'd even like to hear more feedback on Bern's as i still have to eat there. Unfortunatley, i don't have much of a choice, as i should cover it on its reputation alone.
Anyway, i've already made an appeal for feedback in the Tampa Trib (an article in early March by Leland Hawes), and have gotten a great response--- interviews, antecdotes, suggestions.
So now i appeal the elite corps of diners in this great country: Chowhounds! Hope to hear from you all, and i will post any suggestions as i come across them.
Once again, a great site. I'll be sure to mention it.