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Who's hot, who's not, locally speaking

Published November 30, 2003

In the spirit of great rivalries like Jennifer Marlowe vs. Bailey Quarters, Manchester United vs. Arsenal and Coke vs. Pepsi, we present another round of local favorites pitted against their natural rivals. Enjoy.

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South of Kennedy vs. North of Kennedy. We include this topic just because it always seems to launch Dan Ruth of the Tampa Tribune (also known as the Right Wing Register, the Pat Buchanan Bugle and the Daily Dittohead) into a tizzy.

SOK has Bayshore, SoHo, the Palma Ceia Country Club and the Pinarama. NOK has five Bennigan's, five Friday's, five Chili's, three bowling alleys, the airport and, most important, Mons Venus.

Give the edge to NOK. They have more malls and a spaceship. Britton Plaza just can't compete.

* * *

Ybor City vs. Channelside. A woman recently told me Ybor's night life has grown stale. And she was 18!

The bar owners need to wake up and smell the cafe con leche. Channelside's newest additions - Grille 29, Hooters and Splitsville - are going to give it the adult (as in, money-spending) crowd everyone craves, and Ybor's hold on the younger crowd will last only so long unless the district reinvents itself.

The noise ordinance and the potential addition of the House of Blues will help Ybor, but I think Channelside is going to pass it by.

* * *

Emmy Acton vs. Dan Kleman. They both resigned, but Acton outlasted Kleman by six days. You go, girl.

* * *

Marble Slab Creamery vs. Golden Corral. I'm sure the comparison of a new ice cream shop in Brandon to the proverbial "Golden Trough" seems odd, but let me explain. Students at Valrico Elementary who made the principal's honor roll (all A's) got gift certificates to Marble Slab. Students who made high honor roll (all A's and B's) got free meals at Golden Corral.

One ice cream serving vs. overindulging on a buffet bonanza? Come on, the kids on the principal's honor roll got robbed.

* * *

Four Green Fields vs. Zudar's. The Green is getting a new neighbor, but something tells me Zudar's isn't waiting for the Welcome Wagon. You would think a deli and an Irish pub could co-exist, but the efforts of Four Green owners to block Zudar's from operating the way it wanted to has made this one of the city's newest rivalries.

Zudar's has applied for a liquor license, but no one can beat the Harps at Four Green.

Starbucks vs. Panera. I'm leaning toward Starbucks because of the dark wood and the Frappuccino ambience. Okay, that's bull. I choose Starbucks because Panera replaced my beloved Chatterbox, and that will remain my rallying cry until I'm 90. Or until Panera installs a jukebox that has Frank Sinatra, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Patsy Cline and Sister Sledge. Keyshawn Johnson vs. Jon Gruden. We wouldn't be having this discussion if it wasn't for Sports Illustrated. Rumor has it when the magazine offered to put Gruden and Johnson on the cover of its annual football preview, Gruden refused to appear with Key. (He eventually appeared with Warren Sapp.) It was all downhill from there.

Twenty years from now at the Super Bowl reunion, they will kiss and make up, but for now the edge goes to Keyshawn because of the dumplings at Profusion. Gruden has never fed me.

Mayor Iorio vs. Mayor Greco. Kudos to Greco because he doesn't want Ice Palace Drive named after him, and he's handy with a skeet-shooting rifle.

But in other ways, Iorio is more of a straight shooter. She would have fired LaBrake.

Edge to Iorio.

* * *

In case you're wondering, it's Bailey, Arsenal and Coke. Everybody knows that.

That's all I'm saying.

- If there's a comparison you want Ernest Hooper to ponder, call him at 813 226-3406 or send an e-mail to

[Last modified November 30, 2003, 01:16:37]

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