More than a decade later, she’s still talking about what drew her to the Café. “I love the natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows,” she says, “it just creates such a nice, happy environment. The windows not only brighten the restaurant but let guests see downtown from their table.” And Dina is no doubt a downtown cheerleader. “The murals are amazing. Where I’m from in New Jersey we have nothing like this,” she says, smiling ear to ear, “there’s color everywhere here. I love the colorful houses in the neighborhood near Beltrees and seeing the homes on the water as I bike on Edgewater Drive.”
One thing Dina never leaves home without is a positive mindset. She tells me, “I joke with my regulars that I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I have fun with them.” Whether it’s a first-timer or one of our frequent guests, it’s clear that Dina enjoys being the Café’s friendly face and showcasing the personal service that the Café is well known for. That may be her favorite part of the job, but her favorite perk of the job is unequivocal: “the coffee. It’s so good, and there’s no coffee pot to mess with!”
When she isn’t working, Dina is at home… working! She is the founder and creative mind behind Amber’s Shipyard, a business that makes science fiction models of ships and characters from different shows and movies. A self-proclaimed ‘Trekkie’ (fan of the science fiction show Star Trek), Dina’s interest in models was piqued in the nineties, but she rediscovered her passion a few years ago and has taken it to the next level. In fact, she recently won third place in an international model-building competition! “It’s been really nice to discover this whole community of model builders in Tampa Bay,” she explains, “one of my friends owns a hobby shop and I’m part of a local modeling club, and it’s amazing to meet so many people with this shared passion.” To see some of her models, and to keep up with her competitive adventures, visit her website: www.ambershipyard.com/finished-projects.