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DINING: Clearwater neighbors pair nicely

Jason's Deli/ The Flying Cupcake

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Dining - A&E

Nowhere is it written that you have to eat your entire meal in one place. State Fair visitors know this instinctively, but restaurant diners sometimes forget that simple fact.

So in wrapping up IBJ’s month-long look at Clearwater-area restaurants (all of which, it turns out, can be seen from the same spot), I’ve opted to combine two near-neighbors, the chain cafeteria Jason’s Deli (4026 E. 82nd St., 578-0543) and the local dessertery The Flying Cupcake (also 4026 E. 82nd St., 536-0817).
It was my first visit to a Jason’s—there’s another spot on North Meridian Street in Carmel and plans for greater expansion in the market—and my first surprise was the size. My impression from the outside was that it would be no larger than the average Qdoba. But Jason’s has a long counter, a good-size salad bar, ice cream dispensers (free—a nice plus) and ample seating with room to spare.

With a push toward cutting out trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup and MSG from menu items, Jason’s sells itself with freshness. We started with soups—there are a dozen or so in the daily lineup—settling on Fire Roasted Tortilla ($2.99/cup) and Chicken Pot Pie ($3.99/cup). Both were thinner than we had hoped but with plenty of flavor in the broth. Still, this was yet another case of in-store photos at chain restaurants being a dish’s worst enemy, building up expectations that reality didn’t meet.

I had better luck with the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad ($7.99 and available in a lighter portion for $6.49). Combining grilled chicken breast with organic field greens, grapes, feta, nuts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, raisins and organic apples, the salad gave me only one regret—the thought that I might have had more if I had opted for the $7.59 salad bar, which also included sides and mini-muffins.


ae-jasons-flying01-1col.jpg The Nutty Mixed-Up Salad from Jason’s Deli. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

From the substantial menu of sandwiches, paninis, potatoes and pasta we picked Jason’s signature sandwich, the Muffaletta ($6.29/quarter, $7.99/half, $11.99/whole), offering grilled pleasures for those drawn to the olive-heavy, thick-breaded New Orleans staple. It’s available either with turkey breast or ham and hard salami.

We bypassed the free ice cream but indulged in a fresh-baked cranberry walnut oatmeal cookie (99 cents) before scooting down the strip center to The Flying Cupcake just before it closed for the evening. (FYI: The Flying Cupcake has additional locations in Carmel, on Massachusetts Avenue, and on Illinois Street, with another slated to open in Fishers.)

Rather than hold up the lock-down, we took home the goods, including the Red Velvet Elvis ($3.50) with a heavy dose of chocolate chunks embedded in the bright cake all topped with cream cheese and white chocolate shavings. (Yes, I know that white chocolate isn’t real chocolate, but that doesn’t prevent it from improving just about anything it touches.) Peanut Butter Blackouts ($2.75) provided subtler pleasures, with traditional chocolate cupcakes capped with peanut butter frosting.

I’d trade a box of either, though, for the Blueberry Cream Cheese ($3.50). That reminds me that I need a few miles on the treadmill after such an indulgence. Your mileage may vary.•

–Lou Harry

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Last in a month-long look at Clearwater-area restaurants.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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