Driving to St. Pete - I-95 and Florida

We’ll be wintering in St. Petersburg, and driving down from Philly in early December. Any suggestions for:

  1. BBQ in Georgia near I-95?
  2. Good Chinese in St. Pete (ABC Seafood is in new hands and not nearly as good)?
  3. A great and cheap grouper sandwich in St. Pete (Dockside Dave’s closed their St. Pete location)?

I can recommend Smokin J’s BBQ in Gulfport.

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Top of mind for grouper sandwiches would be any of the Frenchy’s group (which also have sone crabs now) or the granddaddy of them all, the Hurricane on south St Pete Beach

I know it sounds silly perhaps, but I am so excited that someone here is heading my way :wink:

Sunshine gave you some good recs. But we have a whole month to gather a nice starting out point and a good list to rely on once you get here.

Where are you, Robin?

I’m near Tampa, Scubadoo is in Pinellas I think, and sandytoes is up be Pasco

The Hurricane was my go-to for decades. They had a wonderful peppery grouper chowder too which disappeared from the menu after the remodel. Then they seemed to slip during the 2000’s. My last visit was 2008 and it was bad enough that I have not been back.

I hope your mention means they have improved? I’d love to add them back to my rotation.

Went to the Hurricane last winter with an Eckerd/Olli group (great tour of Pass-a-Grille historical museum), and it was pretty good, not as good as Dockside Daves. Maybe we should set up some tasting group expeditions for January.

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It’s been a while since we’ve been there:


Frenchy’s too:


I am up in the woods of N.Fla. about 45 mins outside of St Augustine and Jax. I grew up in St. Pete and my parents still live in Pinellas County. Everytime I go across the Howard Franklin bridge I feel like I am home even though I have lived here for 20 yrs. It even smells like home.

The Gandy bridge still smells like reefer and beer tho. :blush:

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Wow, I haven’t heard anything (good or bad) about them in a while. We haven’t been there since 08 or so (had that 5 years of French exile in between) – and just haven’t been over there to try them again. I started going there when it was a one-story beach dive – I’d hate to think they’ve become irrelevant.

The previous owners of ABC seafood opened a resturant in Clearwater called Asian Pearl


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I heard it had gone down as well

Downtown St Pete has a slew of new resturants on and around Central avenue, along the water and near the new Sundial shopping plaza

For what it’s worth, we’ll be in Indian Shores this Jan, Feb & March. Will you all be wearing HO name tags so we can recognize you?

We rarely get that far north, but we are regulars at the Saturday Market in St. Pete (HO tags is a great idea).

Robin I was in your area a couple weeks ago and went to Woodpeckers BBQ near Palatka. It was so good we went back again. Highly recommend everything!! http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34599-d7350000-Reviews-Woodpeckers_Backyard_Barbeque-Saint_Augustine_Florida.html

Thanks for the tip!

We haven’t been there yet, but it sounds like a good reason to take a short road trip.

It is always a pleasant drive to St Augustine from here.

I’m in Orlando and St. Augustine is one of my favorite road trips. I will make a point to stop here the next time I’m there, found the menu online and it looks awesome.

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@Hoffmanspa, Re: BBQ in Georgia near I-95.

It’s been quite a while since we last went to Florida via I-95. On one of those trips, we discovered Sonny’s BBQ, off Exit 3 (easy off/easy on), and despite its being a chain liked the food so much that we made it our business to go there on subsequent trips. The baby backs were some of the best we’ve had anywhere, and sides were not too shabby either.

You didn’t say when in December you’d be leaving, so if this is too late for the trip down, perhaps you can try Sonny’s when you head back north.

My husband’s family has a bit of history with Sonny’ s.

The original Sonny’ s was on Waldo rd in Gainesville, Fl. My DH older sisters worked there as teens. They were still working there when their father passed away and my mil was left with 4 children, including my husband, under the age of 18.

Sonny Tillman and his wife catered the service gratis. They also sent meat for the freezer. Those folks will always hold a special place in my husband’s heart. Good, kind people.

They have since sold the business. But the food is still good. Although, since it is a franchise, it depends on the location.

The Palatka location is great as is all of the Gainesville…

I have a friend that has 3 stores in our area. When he purchased the one by us he made major improvements. He’s instrumental with helping others improves their franchise. It changed my opinion of Sonny’s in a good way

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