One Man’s Clearwater Guide

I get a lot of e-mails from readers asking me for recommendations for their trip to Clearwater. If you’ve been here before, you probably don’t need my help. If you’re new to town, here are a few suggestions:

  • Stay near the beach, if possible.
  • A Phillies spring training tradition is breakfast at Lenny’s, which is a short walk (and an even shorter drive) from the ballpark. If you go on the weekends, don’t expect to roll up at 10 a.m. and get a table. There’s usually a line out the door, but it’s worth it.
  • Another spring training tradition is a stop at one of the four Frenchy’s restaurants. Frenchy’s is famous for their grouper sandwiches, although generally everything they serve is excellent. Frenchy’s Rockaway is on the beach, and has a good atmosphere at night and on the weekends. Some say Frenchy’s Original has the best food of the four. A good, relaxed beach vibe at every one.
  • My personal favorite place to eat in Clearwater? Island Way Grill. Probably the trendiest place near the beach. Make a reservation.
  • A close second is Salt Rock Grill on Indian Shores. Make a reservation.
  • Like sushi? Kiku is right around the corner from Frenchy’s Original.
  • Keegan’s was featured on that show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. That’s the show where that guy shows how crazy he is by wearing his sunglasses on the back of his head.
  • A couple solid places on Sand Key are Colombia and Backwater’s.
  • Looking for places to go after dinner on Clearwater Beach? There is Frenchy’s Rockaway, Palm Pavilion, Brown Boxer, Kelly’s Beach Bar, Shephard’s and more. (I’m personally not a fan of Shephard’s, but some folks like it. Shephard’s also is a hotel, but if you’re over 25 I don’t recommend it, unless you love spring breakers.) There are other places in St. Pete Beach and Tampa, obviously, but I’m sticking with Clearwater Beach here.
  • If you’re in town during the NCAA tournament, Tilted Kilt is across the street from the ballpark and has a bunch of TVs. (Not a fan of the food, but that’s me.)
  • Looking to blow some coin on a big steak dinner? Bern’s in Tampa is great. Make sure to hit the dessert room.
  • Everybody always asks about autographs. The only advice I can give is stand along the third-base line and hope for the best. Another piece of advice: If you’re an adult, it’s best to act like one. Don’t try to guilt a player into signing, like, “Come on, dude, I drove here from Philly!” Don’t try to use your child as a reason to sign, like, “Come on, man, sign for my three-year-old son! It would mean everything to him!” Be respectful. Be polite. And say thanks. I think that generally works best.
  • The postgame scene at the Tiki Pavilion at Bright House Field in left field is great. That’s a must.
  • If you have any other questions or think I missed something — there are plenty of other good places to eat in Clearwater – let me know.
  • Need something to read while you’re on the beach? Read below!


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!


What can tell us about getting tickets for sold out games at BHF from street vendors or going to see a minor league spring training game?

If you’re looking for good Italian food while in the Clearwater area, I definitely would recommend Villa Gallace in Indian Rocks Beach. It’s in an old gas station, but the food is world class. And besides, you may run into some Phillies players or staff while you eat there. It’s a place they frequent — and for good reason.

Heading down in a couple of weeks for the first time! Thanks so much, Todd! This should be invaluable!

Todd, why not just tell them you are a sports writer and not a tour guide?

Can you post a blog that has the players with thier cooresponding number next to their name? This would be a good thing to have when watching practice at the Carpenter Complex…

As usual, a smidgeon of Internet searching can uncover the answer:
A list of non-roster invitees:

And the 40-man roster:

@JerseyJosh – You can use StubHub or just go to a parking lot. Seriously, scalping is legal and they will be buying/selling as soon as you open your car door.

Todd, thanks for the suggestions.

Far out. Thanks. I have one free day in Clearwater. As luck would have it, it’s Mar. 17. Had to be the most popular Grapefruit League game of the season.

Todd, thanks for the info! Always looking for restaurant reviews. We’re headed down March 16-20th, first time ever! It’s a 50th bday gift for my husband. Looking forward to seeing the guys in action pre-season!!!

For those of you wanting to celebrate a special occasion, and don’t mind the cost, have cocktail hour and dinner at the SandPearl Resort on the beach. Great sunsets on the outdoor deck for cocktail hour, then dinner inside or out at Caretta on the Gulf. I’ll be there soon! Can’t wait!

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