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Nov 13, 2003 08:00 PM

Old Tampa Steakhouse - can't remember name

  • m

In the early 70's there was a steakhouse in downtown Tampa that you entered by going down a flight of stairs because they were in the basement of a buildling. They had been around for many years by that time and the place was rumored to have been a Mafia hangout so the prices were kept very reasonable. Does anyone remember the name of the place? I had my wedding party there and the name totally escapes me. Thanks.

  1. In talking to one of my friends who is a longtime Tampa resident said they think you are talking about The Turf Restaurant. I have a call to one other source and will let you know if that is not right.


    5 Replies
    1. re: RibDog

      Well, I have received better information on your question.

      The restaurant was Licata's and yes it was rumored to be a mafia hangout.


      1. re: RibDog

        ahh yes, the Licatas. They had a few businesses in the area, including the Seabreeze and the Flaming Sword.

        Tony L. testified about his dirty deals with Sheriff Hugh Culbreath (known as "Melon Head" to the gangsters, who had nicknames for everyone) when the Kefauver Committee came to town. Tony was heavily involved in Bolita, the numbers racket in Tampa that was eventually run by the Mafia, with laundering courtesy of the Tampa/Hillsborough PD. The money funded the election campaigns of many politicians over the course of about 50 years.

        I wrote a litttle chapter on this called "Bolita, Bag Men, and a Raw Deal," in the Seabreeze Cookbook. The restaurant, by the way, is due to shut dfown sometime in the coming months, and food is still fabulous.

        1. re: andy huse

          It was Licata's.... I had an office in that new Paragon building across the street. They demolished the building eventually so Licata's is but a distant memory

          1. re: andy huse

            Where can I get a copy of your cookbook?

            1. re: jord9801

              call Helen Richards 913-626-5849.

      2. It was (indeed) 'The Turf'. It had a racetrack theme. We had dinner there more than once.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lanny

          You are wrong, it was Licatas. the turf was on ground level and down the street. I know because I am married to one of the cousins.

        2. I worked in downtown Tampa in the 70's at Tampa Photo Supply and remember those recollection is that it was Licata's, but somewhere in my brain I associate the same area with a steakhouse named The Turf.....may have been the same place at different times?

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. okay, different family, same name. But i'm certain of the info i gave above, just a different set of Licatas. I didn't mean to insult your family.

              Tampa's mafioso past is a documented fact, and has nothing to do with Hollywood.

              1. re: andy huse

                Are you talking about Santo Trafficante's Steakhouse? That could be it.

                1. re: steakman55

                  not that i know of. in any case, i plead the 5th.

            2. The original comment has been removed