Though it might seem like St. Petersburg and Tampa have seen all the restaurant action so far this year, there were plenty of buzzy openings to report from around the Tampa Bay area. From the long-awaited debut of Dunedin’s Prohibition Kitchen + Tap to a biker-themed restaurant in Clearwater and the latest Frenchy’s outpost, here are five new Pinellas County spots to check out the next time you’re looking for a place to eat.
Frenchy’s Stone Crab & Seafood Market
The Frenchy’s empire expansion continues with its latest concept: a seafood market on the Dunedin Causeway where guests can shop for fresh fish and seafood and a bevy of other pantry staples. A cooler case is stocked with a large assortment of chilled fresh seafood and meats, including black and red grouper, red snapper, steaks and beef kebabs and — when in season — stone crab claws. Aisles are lined with everything from fish fry seasoning to hot sauce, chips and salsa, fresh produce and wine. The highlight of the operation is the spot’s steamer bar, where diners can build their own steamed seafood combos with the likes of Dungeness crab or Cedar Key clams and fixings like andouille sausage, corn and potatoes. A shaded patio area along the building’s perimeter provides a place to grab a seat and dig in to the stash if you can’t wait till you get home.
501 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin. 727-250-4127. frenchysonline.com/frenchysmarket.
The Nest at Caracara
Part cocktail lounge, part speakeasy-style restaurant, this French colonial-themed spot tucked behind the tapas restaurant Caracara is creating a big buzz in downtown Dunedin.
It’s the latest endeavor from the ambitious local restaurant group NINA Hospitality Co., which also runs the neighboring Jack Pallino’s, a casual sports bar and Neapolitan-style pizza joint; the boutique wine and gift depot Jack’s Bottle Shop; and Taco Baby, a petite takeout taco hub inside a former ATM vestibule.
Featuring plush armchairs and plenty of nooks for lounging, owner Traci Bryant Ferguson furnished the space with a hodgepodge of collected antiques salvaged from estate sales, and the resulting vibe is sultry, sexy and cozy — a spot that feels just as well-suited to a big evening out as it would for a casual date night.
While the menu at Caracara sways Asian and pan-Latin, the menu at the Nest is heavily rooted in French technique with Asian influences. Think: Saigon Snails (escargot wrapped in puff pastry with chile and lemongrass compound butter); turmeric-spiced gougeres with goat cheese mousse and Indian “everything” spice; and steamed pork dumplings with chile crunch.
730 Broadway, Dunedin. caracaratapas.com.
OCC Road House & Museum
Biker fans, this one’s for you: The new restaurant, museum and Harley-Davidson dealership on 49th Street N in Clearwater is a bold tribute to biker culture and the next best thing to Daytona for those looking for the quintessential biker experience.
The massive new venue, which opened in June, includes Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson, where a 15,000-square-foot showroom sells everything from low riders and fat boys to touring bikes and trikes.
But wait, there’s a restaurant, too: The indoor-outdoor space features a full menu and bar, so you can grab a plate of fried gator tail bites and a Budweiser while you’re checking out the choppers. Expect an amped-up, quirky bar food selection (fried frog legs and beer cheese soup, I’m looking at you) plus a lengthy list of appetizers, salads, pizzas, burgers, barbecue plates and several entrees, including a bison meatloaf and a ghost pepper-rubbed salmon.
The spot also features two live music stages with daily acts, pool tables and foosball, so when you’re done eating, you can stay and play.
10575 49th St. N, Clearwater. 727-231-1510. occroadhouse.com.
Prohibition Kitchen + Tap
Arguably one of the buzziest restaurant openings in Dunedin this year, the new restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge made a big splash when it opened in March inside the long-vacant Whiskey Cartel space.
Billed as a “Southern comfort gastropub,” the restaurant features a Prohibition-era theme, with raw-cut cedar walls, porcelain tiling, wainscoting and the building’s original brick fireplace.
The roughly 5,700-square-foot space includes seating for 210 people and features two bars — one inside and one outside on a large, smoke-free and dog-friendly patio, which is surrounded by green space and outfitted with fans and televisions.
A cocktail menu anchored by a strong selection of whiskeys and gin features a Prohibition-themed selection with several riffs on an Old Fashioned. The comfort fare-inspired dinner menu is heavy on stick-to-your-ribs barbecue and other Southern staples, including creative snacks like smoked pork boudin balls with remoulade and smoked brisket-topped sweet potato waffle fries with tomato bacon jam and smoked Gouda.
One thing’s for sure: Go hungry.
1600 Main St., Dunedin. 727-754-8448. prohibitionkitchendunedin.com.
Sea Dog Cantina
Margaritas, anyone? The ones at this new Latin-inspired joint pack a potent punch, and feature a long list of creative spins made with house-infused tequilas. (Try the spicy jalapeno.)
Featuring colorful murals and a large outdoor beer garden, the Clearwater spot opened in April and marks the second location of the Mexican restaurant and tequila bar from the owners of Sea Dog Brewing Co. (The flagship opened in Gulfport in 2019 and more future locations are in the works.)
The lunch and dinner menu follows a casual format with shareable appetizers like queso fundido, shrimp ceviche and deep-fried chicken thigh nuggets. A fairly straightforward selection of tacos features standards like battered fish with jicama slaw and pork carnitas, along with some more whimsical creations, like a vegan version made with Beyond meat, black beans, cabbage and avocado.
Beyond the solid margarita selection, a lengthy list of tequilas and beers from Sea Dog Brewing Co. rounds out the drink menu.
26200 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater. 727-726-6800. cantina.seadogbrewing.com