By now, you must have guessed that my favorite Food TV show is Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” If not, then you’ll be convinced of it after this post.
Neither St. Pete or Tampa (anywhere in Florida?) is a 24-hour town. Both are better than they used to be, but I still haven’t yet figured out where to go at 3 AM for breakfast But, I do know where to go for breakfast at 5 AM: Skyway Jacks, founded in 1976.
Back before the tragic Skyway Bridge disaster on May 9, 1980, Skyway Jacks was in another location, even closer to the foot of the bridge. It was a small, cozy, very rustic joint with poor lighting and parking that catered mainly to fisherman shoehorned in, shoulder to shoulder. After the collapse and rebuilding of the bridge, Skyway Jack’s relocated a few blocks farther inland to a more accessible location and a larger building at 2795 34th St, S., St Petersburg, FL 33711 — (727) 867-1907.
Google map of Skyway Jack’s location
They still cater to fisherman, especially at 5 AM. Last time I was there for breakfast, I asked about the fried fish I saw one fellow eating. She said, “Oh, he brought those with him.” It’s that kind of place. Their corn muffins are homemade and served with apple butter in jars on the table. (When was the last time you had apple butter?!) The menu still has corned beef hash, SOS (the acronym for the X-rated term for chipped corned beef on toast), and other breakfast comfort foods such as sausage-gravy and biscuits, breakfast pie, Philadelphia scrapple, and scrambled eggs & brains (or maybe eggs & scrambled brains?).
Even though more non-fishermen now come to Skyway Jack’s, it’s lost none of its attitude. The place is peppered with homemade signs, though not quite as many or as colorful as some of the ones in the old Jack’s. Their attitude—indeed the emotional tone of the whole joint—is summed up in their logo printed on the saucy waitresses’ t-shirts and on the mugs you can buy there.
I’m not sure of the significance of the extensive collection of painted ceramic pigs…bacon, ham, and sausage, I guess. See you at Jack’s, but be sure to bring cash…that’s all they take.
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