The Florida Power Lunch
There are plenty of power lunch spots in Tallahassee, says former Lt. Gov. Bobby Brantley. The best place when the Legislature is in session, he says, is the members-only Governors Club. "The people you need to see will be there," says Brantley, who is now a governmental affairs consultant with the law firm of Shutts & Bowen. "The downstairs grill is the place to see and be seen." His personal favorite, though, is Georgio's. He's known the owner since Brantley first arrived in Tallahassee as a member of the Florida House of Representatives in 1978.
The power, or client, lunch in Miami, says Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart attorney Arthur Furia, is about making his guests feel comfortable and at home. In Miami, many guests come from out of town, even out of the country. That's why Furia chooses the private Bankers Club for business lunches. It's in the same building as his offices, and he can introduce his guests around the office, have them sign his guest book and then take the elevator to lunch where the Bankers Club manager welcomes him by name.
Boca Raton PR executive Charles Epstein prefers power breakfasts with clients, drinking a cup of joe and eating a pastry. His coffeehouse of choice? Starbucks. But it's not the fancy-named, creamy lattes that he drinks, just the good old vintage, unadorned black coffee. That Starbucks is a T-Mobile hot spot is a bonus. "I can arrive for my meeting 10 minutes early, plug in my laptop and pick up my e-mails before my client arrives," says Epstein, who runs BackBone Inc., a public relations company that caters to small to medium-sized businesses.
Newcomers on the power lunch scene: Longtime hangouts for Tampa's movers and shakers, Palio's Brothers Seafood and Malio's, recently closed, making way for Spanish-style Valencia Gardens. Located on the outskirts of downtown, it's not fancy or expensive but has plenty of local color and signals a change from private clubs to local establishments as the place to power lunch...
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami recently opened Tropibleu, a 175-seat student-run restaurant catering to the business crowd. Located on the college campus in Miramar, the menu offers student-chef specialties such as Florida yellowtail snapper, mahi mahi or steak. Entree prices range from $9 to $11...
Gourmet magazine recently named Baleen at the Grove Isle Hotel and Spa as a restaurant to watch for its stylish yet simple menu. Located in Coconut Grove, it offers a unique venue for a low-profile power lunch.