Paul’s Shrimp House
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Craft Beer, Dining, Family, Florida, Food, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs, Wine | 0 comments
Are you craving fresh shrimp? Paul's Shrimp House at 530 Athens Street, Tarpon Springs has been a local favorite at the Sponge Docks for more than seventy years!
First open in 1940, Paul’s Shrimp House has been a cornerstone for fresh, delicious seafood in Tarpon Springs for more than seventy years. Since then, Paul’s has been the place to go for the freshest fish and coldest beers.
Today, Paul’s Shrimp House is still just as popular with the community. They still promise the freshest catches while specializing in delicious shrimp. Of course, Paul’s Famous Shrimp are the most popular choice from the menu that are ready to peel and eat and served with Paul’s dressing. Another fan favorite is the Seafood Lasagna that is made with shrimp, blue crab, and scallops in a delicious white sauce. It’s so popular that the restaurant has trouble keeping it in stock.
Paul’s Shrimp House also offers an array of different daily food and drink specials to take advantage of. Make sure to checkout their Facebook page for a full list and details on all their specials. The restaurant also has a full bar and happy hour that occurs all day every day where guests can find great deals on drinks. Paul’s offers beer, wine, hard liquor, and some specialty craft beers as well.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with a personable and hard working staff. Customers may also order their food for take-out if they don’t have the time to dine-in. Paul’s also offers catering services and can accommodate a wide range of events and parties. The next time you’re in the area craving fresh seafood, look no further than Paul’s Shrimp House for a delicious meal that comes from straight from the sea to your plate – you won’t be disappointed!
This blog post contributed by Paul's Shrimp House. Call (727) 938-5093 for reservations, take away dining or more information.
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Dining, Family, Florida, Food, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
How did potato salad get in the middle of Tarpon Springs' Greek salad? Opinions vary
By Laura Reiley
It's lurking there at the center, biding its time. You're happy-go-lucky, chatting with table mates, eating a tomato, then a cucumber and a little flurry of feta cheese.
Your fork hits something yielding. You peer down, scooting lettuce leaves and pepperoncini out of the way.
"Waiter, there's potato salad at the heart of my Greek salad."
That salad, in turn, is at the heart of Greek cuisine in Tarpon Springs, which in turn is the heart of Florida's Greek population. But this potato salad scoop is not normal. Head to Hydra or Skiathos, Greece: no potato salad. Greek restaurants in New England or Canada: no potato salad.
In fact, it is Greek salad heresy.
I decided to figure out how it got there. (Lettuce isn't exactly traditional, either, but that's fodder for another story.) First I had lunch with Tina Bucuvalas, Tarpon Springs' curator of arts and historical resources. We settled into a table at Costa's and were soon joined by Billy "The Kid" Emerson, a Rockabilly Hall of Famer who was once in the Kings of Rhythm with Ike Turner and who wrote and recorded with Sun Records (Elvis rerecorded Emerson's When It Rains, It Really Pours.)
Emerson at first said he couldn't reveal the way the potato salad got there for fear of retribution. (Here he drew a finger dramatically across his neck in the universal sign for getting whacked.) He grew up in Tarpon Springs where, he said, the Greeks and the African-Americans got along just fine.
Black people had some of the most important jobs in sponging, he said: First you had to sort the sponges and then you had to string them. They were called stringers. Sometimes they were sponge divers, too, as long as their wives didn't find out.
Over lunch he talked about a fast boat called The Doris; about playing baseball as a kid at the park by the creek and how Greeks would trade their bread for African-Americans' biscuits; about his uncle, a preacher named Zachariah Hannah, who was so devout he wouldn't take the sip of whiskey that might have saved his life after he ate honey out of season (which, Emerson said, is poisonous). Eventually, talk came around to Greek salads.
One day, he said, restaurateur Louis Pappas had company coming in from Tampa. They had run short of things and had to come up with something already on hand. So an African-American kitchen worker named Lily took what she found and put it together.
"Louis Pappas said, 'What is this?' She said, 'It's a Greek salad.' "
So Lily deserves the credit.
"Louis Pappas didn't do anything wrong," Emerson said as lunch wound down. "If you invent something on the job and you work for them, it belongs to them."
Stelios Migadakis, the owner of Costa's, swung by as we were paying.
"I'm from New York. I got here in 2006; this restaurant had been here since 1977. It was strange. At first I said, 'Can you come here? What is this doing here?' " he recalls, pointing to an imaginary scoop of potato salad. "It was an abomination."
But how did it get there? He asked a server named Zan, sister of the original owners. She said it started somewhere between 1938 and 1940.
"You had to have it," Migadakis added. "If you didn't have it, customers left."
Bucuvalas and I kept going, heading to Dimitri's on the Water in search of Dimitrios Salivaras, swiftly tracking him down across the street at his father Andreas Salivaras' restaurant, Mykonos, where he sat with friends eating a platter of fried sand perch.
"Back in the 1920s, Pappas used to feed the sponge divers and fishermen. They ran out of proteins and they had to figure out how to feed everyone. I think it was Jack (Pappas' fourth child) or Bertha (Pappas' eldest), or maybe it was Lucas Louis (third of his five kids), who added the potato salad, thinking that would fill them up. And it stuck. Overnight it became a thing."
Salivaras described it as an "oh, s--- moment" and made it sound like Louis Pappas' kids deserve the credit. To hear it from the horse's mouth, we next decided to stop into Yia Yia's, owned by Pappas' youngest daughter, Nina. Nina, who visits sister Bertha every afternoon in a nursing home, wasn't in.
But her employee Rita Koutsourais had the story.
"The story I heard from Nina and Bertha was that Louis Pappas was a chef in the Army. They needed to make the salad for the troops more filling and make it go a little further. So when he opened his restaurant he did it the same way and people fell in love with it," Koutsourais explained, pointing to a picture on the wall of Pappas' wife Flora (nee Paraskevas) proudly holding said salad.
Sure enough, there's evidence that Louis M. Pappamichalopoulos served as an Army chef in France during World War I, his culinary chops significant enough that it is said that Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Forces to victory over Germany, sent Pappas a Christmas card every year.
I was willing to let it go at that, but Bucuvalas said we should go visit Goldie Parr, "the CNN of Tarpon Springs," who oversees St. Michael's shrine and lives next door. Her house was cool and dark, the television on and a confusing number of people arriving and departing, Parr presiding from an armchair the size of a Buick Enclave.
"Pappas' chef made it for a specific individual. The chef had run out of food and was scrounging around. They had potatoes, so they put them underneath to mound it up, then topped it with a shrimp, a beet and a scallion sticking up."
Still, Parr's time frame doesn't quite work. Pappas opened a restaurant in Tampa in 1922 and when the economy collapsed he decamped to Tarpon Springs and opened Louis Pappas Riverside Café around 1925.
"I was 6 years old in 1936 and I still see my father with his Model T packing them up and moving them from Tampa to their first house in Tarpon Springs. My mother-in-law was Italian and she would bring them spaghetti."
Still ruminating about all the competing stories, I decided to try one more person. I called the Rev. Milton Smith of Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, Emerson's cousin, a former firefighter and a lifelong Tarpon Springs resident.
"I talked to some of the elders, some of my parents' friends. I heard that it was at Louis Pappas' restaurant and they were about to run out of salad. Miss Susie, she was African-American and I think she was maybe a cleaning person, it was her idea to put the potato salad in the heart of the salad and put the other ingredients around it."
Susie, not Lily? Definitely Susie. And when was this exactly?
"I would say in the 1970s."
So sometime between the 1920s and the 1970s, someone — maybe Louis Pappas, one of his children or one of his kitchen workers — stuck a scoop of potato salad in the middle of a Greek salad, maybe as inspiration, maybe as desperation. What is clear is that this innovation is widely known.
I called Xeno Kohilas, owner of Ikaros, a famous Greek restaurant in Baltimore.
"I come from the island of Icaria and we have a convention every year. I went down to Clearwater in 1992. Of course I went to Tarpon Springs, and of course I went to Pappas, and of course I had the salad."
In Kohilas' mind, is this modification genius or scourge?
"A potato is a potato."
So why does he think the tradition started?
"In Greece we do not put potatoes in the Greek salad but I guess they did it to familiarize people with Greek food. To make it more friendly."
That's as good a reason as any.
Contact Laura Reiley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.
Funds Needed To Dredge The Anclote River Waterway
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in News, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
Tarpon Springs has a unique and amazing opportunity to secure funds to dredge the Anclote River Waterway. These funds will help to restore and maintain access to the City’s working waterfront for both commercial fisherman, commercial sponge divers (for which Tarpon Springs is known worldwide), and for our many visitors who bring tourism to our City and County. Please take a few minutes to submit a survey and comment on this issue. Your support is needed and appreciated. Give the County Your Feedback about using the BP Settlement Funds by Friday, April 29th, 2016. On April 13, the County issued a news release with an online survey on its website as public call for input into the use of the $7.1 million in BP Settlement Funds. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to get our project in the forefront at the beginning of the County’s process. We encourage each of you to complete the online survey, and please share this with others that you know who are supportive of the dredge project. HERE is a link to the survey The last part of the survey allows you to type in your ideas for a project, and this is where we encourage you to submit comments. SAMPLE TEXT TO USE IN THE SURVEY (Use this directly or draft your own): As a (member of the Marine Commerce Committee/resident/business owner), I would like the County to consider a maintenance dredge of the Anclote River. The dredge is a Federally Authorized Project, and was last dredged nearly 20 years ago. Commissioner Eggers has met with City leadership and has expressed his interest to utilize BP Settlement Funding to support the City in the same or similar manner as the 1998 dredge. I feel that such a project would be an ideal fit for the use of the BP Settlement Funds as it will help to restore and maintain access to the City’s working waterfront for both commercial fisherman, commercial sponge divers (for which Tarpon Springs is known worldwide), and for our many visitors who bring tourism to our City and County. I thank you for considering this input. HERE is a link to a recent news article about this project Read a Newspaper Article About the Project In case you didn’t see it, HERE is a link to the Tampa Bay Times article of April 15 on the project Watch a Video about BP Settlement Funds At a work session on April 5, Pinellas County Commissioners had an initial discussion about the funds, and HERE is the link to the video City of Tarpon Springs We have also posted links to the survey on the City’s Facebook page (comments welcomed) and the City’s Official Website
Ghostly Hot Sauce
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Shopping, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
Looking for something scary this Halloween? Chuck, from The Spicemans' Kitchen at the west end of the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks is serving up some Ghost Pepper hot sauce!
And if that doesn't scare you, try some Carolina Reaper...BOO!
The Spicemans' Kitchen is dedicated to improving the variety of sauces, spices and condiments available for the adventurous cook who is interested in experiencing cuisines from around the globe.
The Spicemans' Kitchen carries over 300 hot sauces, 50 BBQ sauces & marinades, pickled vegetables, seasonings & rubs, jams & jellies, coffee, tea, honey, dips & spreads, gluten-free products, low sodium and salt free.
Need a quick and easy dessert for your next dinner party?
The Spicemans' Kitchen now carries sixteen flavors of no-bake cheesecake!
Mention this post and receive 10% off The Ghost hot sauce.
The Spicemans' Kitchen 815 Dodecanese Blvd.
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Florida, Shopping, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
Who doesn't love to visit an old time candy store?
Miss Merrie's Sweets & Treats makes every day a little sweeter!
Take A Virtual Tour Of Tarpon Springs!
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Amusement, Boat Cruises, Boating, Dining, Downtown District, Events, Florida, News, Shopping, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs, Things To Do | 0 comments
Expect The Unexpected
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Amusement, Boat Cruises, Dining, Downtown District, Events, Florida, Food, Shopping, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs, Things To Do, Wine | 0 comments
Expect The Unexpected In Tarpon Springs!
For more information about the unique shops, restaurants, bakeries, taverns, breweries, tours, cruises, events, and more, visit TarponSpringsFloridaUSA.com.
"Like" Tarpon Springs Florida USA on Facebook for frequent updates, specials and event news. Follow @Visit_Tarpon on Twitter.
Expect The Unexpected In Tarpon Springs!
Sweeties Ice Cream Parlor | Tarpon Springs
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Florida, Food, News, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
Given With Love | Tarpon Springs
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Florida, News, Shopping, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments
Dimitri’s On The Water
Posted by Jeff Stolbom in Dining, Florida, News, Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs | 0 comments