One hundred and fifty or so years ago before the tankers, cargo and cruise ships plied the waters of Tampa Bay, the residents along the shores of Ballast Point (south of Gandy) could watch as the tall masted sailing vessels dumped the rocks used as ballast overboard before picking up cargo in Tampa.
We got the chance to relive a little history yesterday before lunch as three sailing ships puffed in to port. These ships are used as training vessels by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Columbia Navy, and the Uruguay Navy. We didn't see whether or not they tossed their ballast overboard, but it was an impressive sight none-the-less.
The Gloria from Columbia
The other two ships wouldn't have sailed up Garrison Channel for several more hours, so my bride and I decided it was time for some food and an adult beverage. We went to Channelside and wondered around for a bit trying to decide which food venue to patronize. We spied the new Greek restaurant, Opa, and decided to try lunch there.
Unfortunately it was closed.
Instead we went across the courtyard to Stump's. Stump's Supper Club has, or maybe I should say had, a good reputation. Our lunch wasn't horrible, but what was off-putting was having to cool our heels waiting for the hostess to seat us. She was too busy on the phone to bother with us. When we were finally seated, service was fairly speedy and efficient, though the place was nearly empty.
I had the fried chicken with waffles and syrup, and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy . The mashed potatoes and gravy were very tasty. The chicken not nearly as much. I was given a choice of white or dark and I chose dark. I got four skinny little drumsticks with a thin, flavorless breading that may have sat in the fryer a little too long. I think the waffles were the frozen kind from Publix that one would heat in the microwave. I may be wrong, but I was not impressed. I saw this dish served to Anthony Bourdain on his show, No Reservations. What he was served in a L.A. restaurant and what I had were two entirely different dishes based upon appearance alone. My spouse had the fried chicken salad which she declared was good. The beer was cold and the prices were reasonable though.
Stump's appears to be getting a little "long in the tooth" so to speak. It looked a little worn and our booth had foam rubber and cotton padding poking out from a number of ripped seams.
While lunch at Channelside left a bit to be desired, those tall sailing ships were definitely the highlight of our adventure north of Gandy.