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Aug 31, 2010 09:43 AM

Tampa- Ate at Love's Artifacts Grille today

On Macdill just south of Gandy. Crazy decor, one room looks like a hoarding grandmother exploded in it, the other was completely covered in diamond plate sheet metal, like a tool box. I dug it. Had the pork sammich and collards ($9) Pork was excellent, tender and a very nice sized portion BBQ sauce was good-not-great, would have personally liked a bit more bite to it (spice/vinegar/etc), but BBQ sauce is usually something that people are very specific about and this sauce should be pleasing to most. They have some cool stuff on the menu, like peanut butter stuffed jalapenos, this place would be a fun candidate for a chowdown. Service was perfect, sat at the bar and the bartender was very polite and attentive. Food came out quickly. Would definitely return.

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  1. Todd, it took me awhile but I finally followed up on your recommendation. I started with the brisket sliders. I dislike the concept of sliders, but I had no gripes about these (well one). Very juicy, little smoke, with just the right amount of sauce. The gripe? Because there were three of them, my friend who ordered the stuffed jalapenos thought he was entitled to one. That was not a fair trade. I am not partial to sliders because I see no merit in miniaturized food. Stuffed jalapenos, well, I just don't like them. Wrap 'em with bacon, do whatever you like. They still do nothing for me. These were the same. For my dinner, I had no choice but to order the fried chicken. I am fried chicken. There has been a bit of a revival in Tampa with the fried chicken and waffle craze but it is still an underrepresented food from my perspective. Skin was crisp and had some spice and the meat was juicy. Very high marks. The sides were inexplicably bad. I ordered french fries and cheese grits. You would think that if they are frying the chicken right that they would get the potatoes right also. Not the case. The were wedges that weren't cooked very well. Mediocre would be a stretch. The cheese grits were basically inedible. Sometimes you get grits and they can be brought to life with some salt. Wasn't the case this time. My friend got the pork. I couldn't taste it because sharing would be a violation of moral code. It looked to me like a huge pile of pork. Compared to my chicken, I didn't feel like I was missing anything. The waitress sold us hard, too hard really, on a chocolate mousse for dessert. We both fell for the pitch. I was admittedly full at this point but there was really nothing to that mousse. It was lacking a good bit of chocolate. Oh well. Despite the misses, I am excited about the brisket and the fried chicken. By the way, on the subject of brisket. I recently went back to Holy Hog for a brisket sandwich and it was very good. Service was a nightmare (I don't often complain about that having worked a good deal in restaurants) but the sandwich was right on.

    8 Replies
    1. re: CFishman

      CF, one of my favorite things about you is your dislike of sharing food. :) It's an interesting idiosyncrasy for a foodie as seasoned as yourself (haha, seasoned) to have, but I think it makes your reviews and opinions that much more meaningful.

      I agree, the food at Love's isn't really worth canceling other plans for, but I felt it was worth a visit, if for no reason other than to support a non-chain restaurant that makes fare quirky and entertaining enough to write about. I always feel sad when a new restaurant has food that's creative and enticing on a conceptual level but shows up on the plate no more impressive than something from your neighborhood red lobster.

      I wish that Love's was something to fall in love with, and something to help encourage other on-the-fence restauranteurs that their visions can be realized, and even profitable, bearing in mind that the crucial element to success in a town this size is consistency in excellency.

      I need to get over to holy hog ASAP!

      1. re: askdrtodd

        Well, I 'love' that you're talking about three of my favorite foods...
        Pork, Brisket, and Fried Chicken!

        In New Jersey, in the 70's and 80's before cell phones, when my friends couldn't find me, they got in the habit of driving past Chicken places looking for my car!
        True story!

        I get a smile out of the 'no sharing' thing too, but I'm probably going to be prodding for a point of negotiation...

        For the love of God----TAAAASTE THIIIIIS!!!!

        1. re: Mild Bill

          Todd, I must not have gotten the tone of my comments right because I really would go back to Love's/Artifacts whatever this place is called. I thought the fried chicken and brisket were great. Even if there were nothing else decent on the menu, I would go there eat those two things and be a very happy man. I'll be back there soon. You can't keep me away from fried chicken. Bill, your friends trolling the chicken places looking for you is definitely the funniest thing I am going to hear today.

      2. re: CFishman

        Glad to hear about the brisket at HH. I always thought it was fairly good also. Especially if you order it from the point (read: fatty) end of the brisket.

        And real glad to hear about the fried chicken. While I have a second source for fried chicken, Munchies in St. Pete, they only make it on Tuesday and Saturday each week. If I get a hankering any other day of the week, I am in trouble.

        1. re: RibDog

          You know, I have heard about Munchies and thought on several occasions that I was going to make it over there on a Tuesday but it hasn't happened. Now it's a priority.

          1. re: CFishman

            It's nothing fancy, just good ole fried chicken. Don't know whether it is pan-fried or deep-fried. I would guess deef-fried as not many places pan-fry anymore. But I was in Kansas City earlier this month and went to Stroud's while I was there. Excellent!!! And they pan-fry!

            Ping me when you are coming over and I will meet you there. Just so you know, they close at 3 PM.

            1. re: RibDog

              Yoder's in Sarasota pan-fry on Friday night because their deep-fryers are taken over by the fish fry. Oddly enough, I have only been there on Friday night, so I don't know which is better their pan-fried chicken or their deep-fried chicken. Munchies closes at 3 pm during the week? That makes it impossible for me. Brutal.

              Yoder's Restaurant
              3434 Bahia Vista St, Sarasota, FL 34239