Alexis Mateo Talks Hamburger Mary's & Ybor City in Tampa
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Alexis Mateo found worldwide fame in 2011 as a cast member of season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race. One of the final three competitors in that season, Alexis also returned to Drag Race for the All Stars season in 2012.
Now living in Tampa, Florida, we recently caught up with Alexis to swap travel stories and check-in on her plans for the holidays:
Do you feel a bit fortunate that Tampa wasn’t damaged too badly this hurricane season?
Oh my god, yes! I’ve witnessed hurricanes in the past, and I was so happy that we didn’t get directly hit by one this year. We were very lucky.
Have you been back to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by Hurricane Maria?
No. It wasn’t until nine days after the hurricane that I was able to establish communication with my family. At that time I brought my Mom to Tampa to stay with me. She’s still here, our town in Puerto Rico remains without power.
Have you been on any memorable vacations recently?
I visited New Mexico in the beginning of December, and this time I got to explore more of the beauty of this state. I was fascinated with the Native American history there, and got to witness the parade of lights.
Last time we spoke, you were hoping to get to Lebanon with your boyfriend?
We didn’t make it. The storms here made it impossible for us to fly. But fingers crossed that we’ll make it to Lebanon in 2018.
Egypt was also on your travel wish-list, is that a destination that you’ve been able to get to?
It’s still number one on my to-do list! My work schedule this year was crazy.
Do you still compete in pageants?
Yes, pageants are a passion for me. Right now, I am National Showgirl 2017, and the national contest will be in Hamburger Mary’s in Daytona, Florida, in July 2018. We’re excited to be welcoming contestants from across the country to Florida.
You’ve got a residency at Hamburger Mary’s in Tampa, what sort of show do you produce there?
Hamburger Mary’s Tampa is located in the heart of our historic city Ybor. It’s a dinner and show, where all ages are welcome. My cast are award-winning entertainers, and the experience is unique.
What’s the gay scene like in Tampa?
Tampa has a huge gay scene, and we have a lot of gay bars and gay-operated places. I love it because when you walk into Ybor City, you always feel free to be yourself.
What travel tips would you give someone visiting Tampa?
Ybor City is a must! We have restaurants, movie theatres, tattoo shops, souvenir shops, clubs, and historical points of interest.
The best clubs are Honey Pot, Southern Nights, or Bradley’s.
On Sunday’s at 1PM, come say hi to me and the Mary’s Divas at Hamburger Marys Tampa for the best brunch in town.
How are you spending Christmas this year?
This year I get to stay home, spending my holidays with my loved ones, and my dog Bambi. I’m so excited!
What about New Year’s Eve?
I get to see in the New Year at Hamburger Mary’s Tampa. This place is a second home for me, and this year we have a Viva Las Vegas-style party, with show girls, celebrity lookalikes, and blackjack tables.
Ybor City’s New Year’s parade passes right in front of our restaurant, so it will be a fun time – a champagne and balloon-drop kind of night for me.
What next for Alexis Mateo?
I’m excited about 2018. I’ll be traveling more, and attending Drag-con in Los Angeles. Also maybe some music, a little tour, and new merchandise for my fans. Possibly also a web series about me and what I do.
From Gareth Johnson at gaystarnews.com.