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Everybody's Business

Best key lime pie? Mike's Pies reigns

For the fourth straight year, the pie maker wins the national title and also snags three other blue ribbons in the contest, a personal record.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 28, 2003


KEY LIME DYNASTY: Mike's Pies has four-peated.

For the fourth consecutive year, the pie maker at 4004 S MacDill Ave. has won first place in the Key Lime Pie category at the American Pie Council National Championship.

The Feb. 8 competition held in the Florida town of Celebration was a banner day all around for owner Mike Martin and his crew.

They also won first place in the chocolate category (with their chocolate mousse pie), apple crumb category (Apple Crisp), and candy pie category (Reese's Peanut Butter pie).

That's four blue ribbons in one competition, a Mike's Pies record. Which brings their total to 10 first places won at the championship over the years.

When asked the secret of his success, Martin mentioned insisting on high quality ingredients, and baking procedures that must remain secret.

Then he summed it up with a one-liner, an indulgence we frankly think he's earned.

Cue the rimshot.

"We cut no corners at Mike's pies, because there are no corners on our pies."

BREAD TO SCENT HYDE PARK AIR AGAIN: The Hyde Park area will endure the thin supply of baked bread aromas for only a few more months.

It's too early to tell if the Great Harvest Bread Co. will have the wafting power of the old Wonder Bread factory, which closed Jan. 31, leaving only Panera to tease our noses.

But Great Harvest franchise owners Keri Eisenbeis and Michael Matthews intend to open shop at 500 S Howard Ave. in early summer and find out.

Currently the married couple are undergoing the Montana-based chain's training program, which is designed to make master bakers out of aspiring franchisees.

Great Harvest has 169 locations around the country, with 32 more pending, counting the upcoming SoHo location.

Eisenbeis and Matthews, plus eight to 10 part-time employees, will mill their own whole wheat flour in a one-ton stone mill. They'll knead and bake for all to see. Aside from whole wheat leaves, they will offer wheat-based spinach-feta bread, Apple Scrapple, cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, and cookies. They will also bake white bread made from unbleached flour and sell drip coffees and bottled drinks.

Eisenbeis plans on having some indoor and outdoor seating, plus a children's area, but the store will be primarily a place where "people come in to pick up fresh bread."

Humans will get free slices of wheat bread, and dogs will have whole wheat dog biscuits and a water bowl at the ready.

If you want a preview of their wares, Eisenbeis and Matthews will offer free bread samples at the March 29 YMCA Spin-Off 2003, held in the Channelside courtyard from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CHANGES IN STORE FOR PLATT STREET DELTA: Attorney Emmett Abdoney is a popular guy these days with folks who live around the wedge-shaped property bordered by Tampania, Azeele and Platt.

The three abandoned apartment buildings on the plot had become shelters -- and even restrooms -- for trespassers and vandals before he bought it in December. Abdoney has since had the buildings cleaned out a little and boarded up to prevent further squatting. He says he's gotten a lot of attaboys from neighbors, along with inquiries about what he plans to do with the property.

Its prime location right at the convergence of Parkview, Southern Pines, Oscawana and Courier City neighborhoods isn't lost on Abdoney. He says he's attempting to get the property rezoned for office space development.

If that doesn't work, Abdoney says he'll refurbish the existing apartment buildings, which comprise a total of five units, for residential use.

SONIC GROWING THUSLY: And so we goofed here a couple of weeks ago, saying the pending Sonic Drive-In at 4411 W Gandy Blvd. is the bay area's first. Locations of the Oklahoma City-based fast food chain opened in Largo Dec. 16, and in Kenneth City Jan. 9.

Matthew Clements, assistant manager at the Kenneth City Sonic, said the rights to 80 more franchises in the bay area have been sold. Though Sonic considers the bay area to include Lakeland and Winter Haven, it's safe to say that Texas Toasters are going to give Big Macs, Champburgers and Big Bacon Classics a run for their money around here in the next few years.

-- Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail citytimes@sptimes.com .

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