Yesterday, Rebekah and I went out to lunch with Lynn Oakley Marx, one of her great friends from growing up. Lynn and her husband, Randy, live in Richmond, but Lynn periodically heads this way to visit her mom in Sun City.
Lynn’s brother Keith has lived in the Tampa area for years; recently he opened his own eatery on Bruce B. Downs in New Tampa. Believe me when I say that Oakley’s Grille is a name you’re going to want to remember.
A GOOD REVIEW? My writing slant tends to lean toward the positive, so if our meal had been anything less than outstanding then I’d wouldn’t mention Keith’s restaurant at all. Fact is, outside lunch being been better-than-good then I’d be blogging about something else today (There’s more than enough going on in the world right now to capture my attention without wasting posting space on food if I’m not going to recommend it).
However, while there may be more than enough stories to share, the same can’t be said for great casual dinning venues. So this is definitely news you can use; I’m letting you in on a noteworthy secret by pointing out the yum at Oakley’s Grille.
I ordered a Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sandwich; Rebekah had the French Dip; Lynn enjoyed the Fajitas. Other people who have been to Oakley’s say the Black Angus burgers are the best they’ve had anywhere. We also shared a generous order of Sweet Potatoes Fries that was most certainly state of the art.
GOURMET CRED: Most of you know how much I enjoy cooking at home in our amazing kitchen. Once in a while I’ll post a blog about a recipe, or how much fun it is to entertain a few friends and to share a great meal together. I have no interest at all in cooking professionally, but I can confidently say that I’ve developed a modicum of gourmet cred over the last few years.
My gourmet radar tells me the following: Don’t let the lack of white table-clothes, china, crystal and stainless fool you; the food is all fresh, made-from-scratch with top-quality ingredients, and prepared by actual cooks. What you’re getting when you eat at Oakley’s is a sit-down South-Tampa bistro dining experience for the price you’d pay at a homogeneous, processed, fast-food chain.
Keith Oakley serves Rebekah and his sister, Lynn
LIVE FORWARD: My final word is this. Keith Oakley may be 61, but he’s reinvented himself one more time and he’s doing something creative and new and to the best of his ability. Personally, I find a lot of inspiration and hope in that quality of a story.
Which leaves me to wonder: what are we (any one of us) doing to “live forward” at this stage of our life?