Summer's here and I'm now continually on the lookout for ways to occupy the kids during these humid Florida days. We've almost survived Week 1 completely without Mrs. Hackknife (who's toiling away at her new position in NYC) using a combination of swimming pool, Disney movies, our usual extracurricular activities, and strategically selected meals, including today's visit to Pete and Shorty's for lunch. P&S's is conveniently located down the street from Costco (our ultimate destination) at 2820 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater (next door to the original Hooter's for those of you who care about these things) and has been a reliable dining choice for the family by virtue of its Midwestern vibe (my visiting in-laws enjoy the fried fish during Lent, for example).
Self-styled as a small-town tavern and "Iowa bistro", the owners have recently changed their marketing approach to emphasize their corn-fed roots (see the idyllic farm field on the front page of the website). Heartland references aside, my favorite decor touch in all of Florida has to be the restaurant's tabletops, which appear to have been crafted from the 1950's floor tile in my grandparents' basement.
While not all that different from most bar menus, the bill of fare does lean a bit towards Iowa-specific cuisine, including such regional gems as the loosemeat sandwich (which they describe as containing ground chuck and not the, um, leftover cow parts you'll find in a traditional loosemeat recipe in, say, Mason City) and the fried pork tenderloin sandwich, my lunch choice below.
Topped with mustard, pickles, and chopped onions and served with a side of Cole slaw (that was extra), the tenderloin sandwich wasn't as massive as others I've seen around the Midwest and probably wouldn't satisfy a discerning pork tenderloin connoisseur from either Iowa or Indiana, but it'll do in a pinch.