Make us your home page

Review: Seabreeze Island Grill in Redington Shores is fun food with a view


“My family's first restaurant was just down the street in the space now occupied by a Thai restaurant. As a boy I was a dishwasher there. This was well before we ever had dish machines. My little brother and I would spend evenings pitching clam shells into the little harbor behind the restaurant. It was a real circle to find myself back here 38 years later."

So says Matt Loder Sr., longtime Tampa Bay restaurateur of the Crabby Bill's franchise. He's speaking of his and partner Greg Pohn's Seabreeze Island Grill and Raw Bar, opened at the start of 2012. It moved into the longtime Shells location that briefly became CiCi's Pizza, a spot with absurdly lovely water views off wide patios and open dining rooms.

The original idea for the space was something upscale, leaning closer to Salt Rock Grill than Crabby Bill's. But as they settled in and took the pulse of diners, they realized those pulses raced more for casual, good-times seafood at reasonable prices. Done and done.

"I felt like an actor who had always done westerns," said Loder. "The actor tried a serious role in a drama and the fans said get back on that horse."

The revised Seabreeze requires you to consult your calendar: On Thursdays the special is $4 for a dozen oysters, on Wednesdays it's all-you-can-eat fish and chips for $9.99, on Sundays there's a mimosa and Bloody Mary bar during the day and then a shrimp and grits dinner for $10.99. Happy hour runs from opening until 7 p.m. with $3.50 drink specials, and special meal deals are offered every night giving you a smallish protein, two sides and a dessert for $12.50.

With roughly 200 seats and live music from 6 to 10 p.m. most nights, it's a rum runner kind of place ($5). There's nothing cerebral about rum, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur, pineapple, orange and grenadine in a mason jar over lots of ice, but that's just fine. In fact, the wine list and house cocktails represent a lineup that is familiar, accessible and affordable, the dessert list following suit with a dense chocolate cake ($8) the size of a Mac Classic and a key lime pie ($4.99) that's the Florida sweet-tart original.

Despite a clear focus on value, the kitchen aims to take full advantage of the area's dayboat catch. Hogfish is a regular menu item, the sweet, moist fish ($17.99) getting a panko coating and a quick pan-frying, offered with a choice of two sides (the most interesting of which are cinnamony mashed sweet potatoes with golden raisins or a creamy-tangy tropical slaw. They were out of hogfish on my first visit, but on my second I found out why this is a top seller — a lovely piece of fish.

Meals start with soft, warm house-baked bread accessorized by seashell-shaped butter pats, one of them a beguiling coconut butter. From there, fried coconut shrimp with key lime honey butter ($7.49), garlicky steamed mussels ($10.99) or an island salad ($8.49) of pulled chicken, blue cheese fluffs, bacon, onion, cuke and tomato are all flavorful and generous enough to share. And if fish (grouper, salmon, grilled Bairdi snow crab) isn't floating your boat, the house guava barbecue sauced baby-back ribs ($12.49 half rack) are meltingly tender and zesty.

Service can be all over the map at Seabreeze, one night the waiter going MIA regularly and plopping down new plates before clearing the empties, another night spot on and knowledgeable about the menu (don't get him talking about hogfish). In a place of this size that's not surprising. With its indoor/outdoor space, Buffett-inspired musical selections and brightly colored rooms, it's got the easy, breezy feel of a beachside classic, even with no sand between your toes.

And for Matt Loder, having started his restaurant career journey so close to this spot, Seabreeze is like coming home.

Laura Reiley can be reached at or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter. She dines anonymously and unannounced; the Times pays all expenses.

Seabreeze Island Grill and Raw Bar

17855 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores

(727) 498-8688;

Cuisine: American/Seafood

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Details: AmEx, V, MC, Disc.; reservations accepted; full bar

Prices: Appetizers $4.99-$10.99; entrees $7.99-$24.99; desserts $4.99-$8

Rating out of four stars:

Food: ★★

Service: ★★

Atmosphere: ★★★

Overall: ★★½

Review: Seabreeze Island Grill in Redington Shores is fun food with a view 07/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28


    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  3. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach



    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  4. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires


    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 27


    Tampa Bay Margarita Festival: The Barenaked Ladies will headline this festival with opener Cowboy Mouth. Enjoy more than 50 varieties of margarita drinks including a Sriracha strawberry, a bacon rita and even a jalapeno Cabo rita. There's beer and vodka for the non-tequila drinkers. Noon, Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N …