My Neighborhood: St. Petersburg, Best of the West

Hank HineDr. Hank Hine is a native Californian, but he felt at home the moment he arrived in St. Petersburg. “The sun goes down, as it should, over the sea to the west,” says Hine, executive director of The Dalí Museum, which celebrates the work of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí. A lot has changed since Hine took over at the museum in 2002. St. Petersburg “was small and very, very quiet when I arrived, like a small midwestern city, dragged down to the Gulf of Mexico,” he says. “Now the buzz of new things happening is in the air every day. New art, new arts institutions, new people. The micro-brewery scene and the boutique restaurants keep us exploring something new all the time,” he says.

—by Catherine Bindman

Think Green

The Dalí Museum
Cafe Gala and Helical Staircase at The Dalí Museum

“During the day I take a walk in The Dalí Museum’s Avant-Garden. It’s a delight. You can start with a sip of water at the Fountain of Youth that springs from our building’s cornerstone. The garden is half subtropical (think ficus and palm) and half Mediterranean (think cypress and olive). We have a Wish Tree with the handwritten wishes of hundreds of our visitors hanging from its branches and a plaza of tiles laid out like the golden rectangle. Dalí used that mathematical relation to structure his paintings.” One Dalí Blvd., 727.823.3767

“Further along the waterfront from us is Coffee Pot Bayou, named for its shape. It’s a very long sidewalk along the calm waters of Tampa Bay. My wife says it’s the most beautiful place in the world, and I’m fortunate that it’s the route I bike with my kids to their public school.”

Best Dishes

The Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum


Brick & Mortar has great American dishes with a taste of Chef Jason Ruhe’s grandmother’s Indonesian roots.” 539 Central Ave., 727.822.6540

“I can also recommend The Dalí Museum’s Café Gala (with three Michelin stars), named after Dalí’s wife. The Spanish-inspired menu reflects Chef Chuck Bandel’s background at the celebrated Miramar restaurant in Catalonia, Spain. His gazpacho and serranitas sandwiches  (roasted pork, serrano ham, manchego cheese, tomato, pimentón aioli) are local favorites.” One Dalí Blvd., 727.623.4725

Mazzaro’s Italian Market is equal to any deli in New York. If I were mayor, I’d make sure it was open every day. (It’s closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.)” 2909 22nd Ave. N., 727.321.2400

“Jack Kerouac lived his last years here and hung out at the Flamingo Sports Bar. It’s still here, still down and dirty. Pure Kerouac.” 1230 9th St. N., 727.821.9397

Museum Mecca

The Dalí Museum
The Chihuly Collection



“St. Petersburg has become a city of museums. There are 10! Truly. The Museum of Fine Arts, the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, the Chihuly Collection, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the Imagine Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Great Explorations Children’s Museum, and soon the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. And, of course, The Dalí Museum, a collection of more than 2,000 works by Salvador Dalí housed in a unique glass-paneled building known as The Enigma, overlooking the waterfront. Take a weekend and see them all!”

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