GUIDE: Where to celebrate Easter 2019 in Tampa Bay

Looking for something to do for Easter Sunday 2019 in Tampa Bay? Numerous hotels, restaurants, and bars are having events with buffets. Most have options for kids as well.

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Here are some options:

  • Shepard’s OCEAN FLAME: This Clearwater Beach spot is serving your favorites from 10AM-9PM and offering brunch items until 2:30pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged. 619 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach 33767. (727) 442-5107. http://bit.ly/shepoceanflame
  • Bizou Brasserie: Bizou’s Easter brunch buffet in Downtown Tampa will be served from 10AM to 3PM. Buffet prices are inclusive of all non-alcoholic beverages. Bloody Marys and Mimosas will be offered for $6 each (after 11AM) during brunch. Buffet is $45+ for adults and kids over age 12, $22+ for ages 5-12 years old, and FREE for kids ages 4 and under. Reservations are highly recommended, as preferred dining times fill up quickly. 601 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 227-9555. https://www.opentable.com/bizou-brasserie.
  • GameTime: Head over to Ybor City for Easter brunch with Sonic the Hedgehog, everyone’s favorite mascot. Take a picture and enjoy a delicious buffet on Easter Sunday, April 21st from 10AM to 3PM. Enjoy food and entertainment for all ages. Only $16.99 per adult, and $9.99 per child under 12 years old. 1600 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 241-9675.
  • Rusty Pelican: Enjoy a waterfront Easter Sunday Champagne Buffet from 9:30AM to 4PM. Tickets are $75 for adults and $35 for children ages 5 to 12. On the menu: Applewood Smoked Prime Rib, Pesto Crusted Leg of Lamb, Honey Glazed Salmon, Crab Legs, Raw Bar, Decadent Desserts, Bottomless Mimosas, Bloody Mary Bar, Photo Booth, and more. 2425 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607. (813) 281-1943. http://bit.ly/2UdieSI
  • FarmTable Cucina: Enjoy a special Easter brunch for $89 per person from 11AM to 3PM, which includes bottomless mimosas. On the menu: Seafood Bar, Bowtie Pasta, Potato Salad, Roasted Beet Salad, Caprese, Panzanella, Breakfast Pastries, Breads, Desserts, and more. 179 2nd Ave N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. (727) 523-6297. http://farmtablecucina.com/reservation/
  • Sirata Beach Resort: Head to the beach for an annual Easter Buffet Brunch. Enjoy fun, food, and festivities for the entire family. $49.95 for adults and $16.95 for kids. and $39.95 for Seniors. Add an unlimited Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar for just $20. 5300 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706. (727) 363-5100. http://bit.ly/SirataEasterBrunch
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BJ’s Charitable Foundation donates $50,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay to celebrate new Clearwater store

BJ’s Charitable Foundation, part of BJ’s Wholesale Club, recently donated $50,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay, part of Feeding America®’s member bank network, to celebrate their new store opening in Clearwater.

The donation will help to provide fresh and nutritious food for people who are food insecure and lack access to healthy food. BJ’s donated 193,000 pounds of food in 2018 to Feeding Tampa Bay, helping to provide nearly 160,000 meals in West Central Florida.

According to Thomas Mantz, Feeding Tampa Bay Executive Director, “Florida is 4th in the nation for family hunger and 1 in 6 people in our region live with daily hunger”. Nearly 60% of all people in West Florida are eligible for food stamps from all ethnicities with seniors and children primarily suffering from food insecurity according to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The new BJ’s Wholesale Club location in Clearwater will expand this program and donate unsold produce, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and bakery products daily to help reduce food waste and provide fresh meals to people who need it most.

The Grand Opening for BJ’s Wholesale Club is set for Saturday, April 13th, 2019. The new club will be located at 26996 U.S. 19 North Clearwater.

BJ’s beats average supermarket prices by up to 25% and will offer BJ’s Gas. The new location will feature a full-service deli with premium meats and cheese as well as butchers who can cut and repackage meat at no additional cost.

Some services offered for guests include same-day grocery delivery, in-store pickup for online orders, and digital add-to-card coupons.

BJ’s Wholesale Club currently operates 216 clubs and 138 BJ’s Gas stations in 16 states. BJ’s is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts.

Feeding Tampa Bay has served the Tampa Bay area since 1982 and serves a food-insecure population of more than 700,000 people in a 10-county area. Over 100 million pounds of food have been served in the last 5 years by Feeding Tampa Bay. Find out more about Feeding Tampa Bay at feedingtampabay.org.

Clearwater Beach named “Best Beach in America” 2019 by Tripadvisor

Clearwater Beach has been named the “Best Beach in America” by Tripadvisor for 2019 beating out Siesta Key down south.

Clearwater Beach is known for powdery white sand, beautiful sunsets, and really embodies the heart of Florida. Tripadvisor analyzed the quantity and quality of the reviews for beaches over a 12-month cycle to decide on the list.

Credit: City of Clearwater


Clearwater averages 361 days of sunshine every year and holds the record for consecutive sunny days at 768.

The home of the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival and Clearwater Beach Uncorked has a number of beautiful resorts and hotels popping up every year along the Gulf of Mexico.

You really have not watched a Florida sunset until you’ve seen it at the top of the Grand Hyatt on Clearwater Beach with a drink and snacks in hand at their pool deck.

What are some of the top ranked restaurants in Clearwater Beach according to Tripadvisor?

  • Marina Cantina
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe
  • Caretta on the Gulf
  • Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza
  • Badfins Food + Brew
  • Maggie Mae’s Sunrise Cafe
  • Salty’s Island Bar & Grille

View the complete beach rankings here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches-cTop-g191

Gigglewaters offers free movie and beer to those impacted by U.S. government shutdown

Gigglewaters is offering a free movie and beer to those impacted the current U.S. government shutdown with proof of position each night until the shutdown ends. The local speakeasy in Safety Harbor, Florida is a popular spot to catch old flicks and enjoy some excellent food and cocktails.

The current government shutdown is one of the longest in U.S. history and has no clear end in sight for government workers and contractors. More than 400,000 are working without pay during the shutdown according to CNBC.

Gigglewaters is located at 737 Main Street Safety, Harbor, Florida 34695. You can reach them at (727) 669-7077. Visit them online at www.gigglewaters.com

Ice & Cream Creamery – delicious scoops in Dunedin

Yesterday I visited an ice cream shop with my family in Dunedin that was truly phenomenal called Ice & Cream Creamery. They have a few locations on Clearwater Beach and Madeira Beach for those of you hitting the sand this summer.

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The shop is beautiful on the inside and feels like a blast to the past. The shop features 36 premium flavors from sherberts and sugar-free ice creams to candy-filled sweet spots. Some of the flavors include watermelon sorbet, pistachio, sugar free mint chip, key lime sherbet, and butterscotch bomb.

According to their signage they are committed to fresh and local ingredients and are a big community player with a focus on the local arts.  We were promptly greeted upon entering and proceeded to enter the line and make our move for ice cream.

My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough. I wasn’t in the mood for a scoop so I asked for a root beer float and it was excellent.

They stacked the cup all the way with ice cream and gave me the whole can of soda to take with me. You could really taste the quality in the ice cream, it was very creamy and also the cookie dough and chocolate chips were plentiful and tasty.

I would really recommend giving this place a try if you find yourself in Dunedin or their sister store on Clearwater Beach.

Milkshakes are hand-spun so that might be a future option for me if I’m in the area.

We caught the sunset at the Dunedin Pier nearby afterwards and it was a beautiful evening.

Restaurant Name: Ice & Cream Creamery

Neighborhood: Dunedin

Address: 200 Main St. #109, Dunedin, FL 34698

Phone Number: (727) 223-8742

Cost: $

Website: http://www.iceandcream.com

Win Free Tacos For One Year From Jimmy Hula’s Clearwater

Jimmy Hula’s in Clearwater will celebrate its one year anniversary with a contest where customers can enter to win FREE Tacos for a Year (valued at over $19,700 in tacos) to the first 50 guests to enter the restaurant at 10AM on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018.

Customers of all ages are welcome to this celebration. Live music will be playing throughout the event.

Enjoy a hula hoop contest every hour for a chance to win a $20 gift card. FREE appetizers for every table until 3PM. Their bottomless brunch drinks and menu will be available during the event as well.

As an added bonus, Jimmy Hula’s will also donate 50% of the proceeds on Saturday to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). This local non-profit works daily to rescue marine life, rehabilitate, and release them back into the ocean. CMA also cares for resident animals and seeks to educate the public about marine life.

The restaurant is also shifting from a counter service concept to a full sit-down concept starting on Monday, February 12th, 2018 so look out for that.

Event name: Jimmy Hula’s Clearwater – One Year Anniversary Party

Date & Time: Saturday, February 3rd, 10AM-3PM

Address: 454 Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/528319754201956/

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach’s Ocean Hai Supports Local Charities

The next time you dine at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach‘s Ocean Hai restaurant, sit at table #31 to support Pinellas County local charities.

The program “You Dine, We Donate” will select a new local charity every month to feature and donates all net proceeds from food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases at the assigned table to a cause. Here is the upcoming list:

  • April: Autism Awareness Month – Tampa Bay Chapter
  • May: Troop Rewards
  • June: Pinellas County Lifeguards
  • July: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • August: Pinellas County Schools
  • September: Eckerd Kids
  • October: Hooked on Hope
  • November: Clearwater for Youth
  • December: Arts for Life

Ocean Hai is the signature restaurant at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach serving Asian-fusion cuisine with inspirations from Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, and China.

Chef de Cuisine John Capponi previously worked at Tampa’s On Swann in Hyde Park Village as Executive Chef and as Executive Sous Chef at Skytop Lounge in Pennsylvania.

The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is located at 100 Coronado Drive and is ocean-front. Clearwater Beach was recently named #4 on the 2017 “Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Beaches in the United States” by TripAdvisor.

Visit Ocean Hai online to book a reservation at http://www.wyndhamgrandclearwater.com/dining/ocean-hai

Sweet Saturday and Chocolate Sunday this weekend @ Ruth Eckerd Hall

The popular Chocolate Sunday event in Clearwater that I covered last year on my food blog will return this weekend, January 21-22, and is now a two-day event: Sweet Saturday and Chocolate Sunday and is once again sponsored by Tampa Bay Woman Newspaper. I can still taste the chocolate covered bacon that was provided by The Vine last year…delicious. I will be in attendance this weekend and you have a chance to win free tickets as well in my latest giveaway!

How to win: “Like” Carlos Eats on Facebook and post about your favorite chocolate vendor in Tampa Bay. You can gain 1 additional entry by sharing this post with your friends on Facebook from the fan page. I can view who shares the page from my fan page. Hurry because winners will be  randomly drawn Tomorrow, January 20th, at 5:00PM. Finally make sure you comment below so I can have your contact e-mail in case you win! If chosen, I will send the organizer your name for ticket pickup.

You can also take advantage of this $5.00 off coupon provided to me by the Chocolate Sunday organizers. I hope you’ll be enjoying the goods this weekend like I will. :]

Event Name: Sweet Saturday & Chocolate Sunday

Address: 1111 McMullen Booth Road Clearwater, FL 33759

Dates: January 21-22, 2012 – 11AM-6PM

Website: http://chocolate-sunday.com/

Tampa Bay becomes a Yelp Elite City

Yelp was the first food community I joined online back in 2006 after I was introduced by a Xanga friend living in San Francisco. Since then I have gone on to write over 500 reviews on Yelp and been a member of their Elite squad since 2006 as well. Yelp always had aspirations for Tampa and sent me free Yelp goods (including a t-shirt and hoodie) during my first few years as a member. I was one of the first reviewers, plowing my way through Tampa Bay. Reviewing every restaurant and business I interacted with.

Despite all the reviews Yelp Tampa never seemed to kick-off. I began losing interest as I noticed no sense of community was being built in Tampa like other cities. Over time Yelp grew and in 2009, a few consistent members began to have Unofficial Yelp Events (UYEs) around town. I joined a few and some dining trails included an Asian tour, pizza tour, and many trips to The Wat Thai Temple. Many Yelpers were bitter that Yelp would not allow them to become Elite members because Yelp did not recognize Tampa as an Elite city.

The Yelp Tampa crew on the 4th of July in 2009 at Pine Tree Karaoke Cafe (now called One Family Korean Restaurant) during our Asian tour weekend.

They continued reviewing and contributing for years on, hoping that Yelp would finally someday give Tampa Bay a chance. Finally, earlier this year Yelp announced it would be hiring a Community Manager for Tampa Bay…a sign that Tampa would soon be developing into a Yelp Elite city. Yelp Elite members contribute regularly to the site and have exclusive events they can attend around town, usually at local restaurants or bars with exclusive promotions and it is a great way for Elite members out of town to meet the locals. The Community Manager helps organize official events and find events around the city to promote on the website. A foodie network is vital to this growth.

This week an Events tab appeared for Yelp Elite members to submit events and Review of the Day (ROTD), a way to recognize excellent reviews, also appeared on the home site for Tampa. It’s exciting to think where this could go and how this can help Tampa’s food scene grow as the powerful social media site Yelp backs the way. I know I’ll be motivated to keep contributing as much as possible. Congrats Yelp Tampa reviewers! Your hard work has now paid off.

http://www.yelp.com/tampa-bay

Where to Dine on Father’s Day in Tampa Bay

In case you haven’t heard, 50 million Americans are expected to dine out for Father’s Day this weekend. Trying to figure out where to take Dad to eat on Father’s Day? I have you covered. Here are some suggestions of dining deals happening around Tampa on Father’s Day (Sunday June 19, 2011 for those of you who didn’t know).

Stump’s Supper Club in Channelside is offering a free appetizer for Dad’s on Father’s Day (with the purchase of an entree).

Yamato Japanese Steakhouse has Morgan Chardonnay for $5 down from the usual $17 for Father’s Day.

The Yacht StarShip has a Father’s Day Brunch Cruise with tickets selling at $39.95, boarding at Noon on Father’s Day.

Father’s get free food and get to bowl for free at Splitsville in Channelside when they come with their kids.

Charleys is offering free 24oz Ribeye steak for dads, along with a signature salad and French bread (with a purchase of equal or greater value) on Father’s Day.

The Bearded Clam in Sarasota has a buffet with live music for families. $20 for adults and $6.95 for children 10 and under.

IKEA is having an all-you-can-eat Father’s Day brunch. $9.99 for adults and children 12 and under are just $2.49. Quite a deal with the amount of things on the menu.

Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City will be offering free Lasagna or Spaghetti for Dad’s on Father’s Day. No coupon necessary.

The Columbia will be open for Father’s Day and is accepting reservations. They have a number of specials for Father’s Day including a Coca de Langosta y Chorizo tapas special and two entree specials: New York Strip Sirloin “The Bambino” and Vieiras y Ibérico “Canarias”. Note: The Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk will have their usual menu and not be offering Father’s Day specials.

Grille 54 has a special Father’s Day menu. They will be opening at Noon on Sunday.

Beef O’ Brady’s will give Dad’s a free meal for Father’s Day (with the purchase of an entree of equal or lesser value and a limit of $10, some restriction apply…check with your local Beef franchisee for details).

Fleming’s Steakhouse has a 3-course Father’s Day Brunch for $32.95 and you get a free $25 gift card for your father with your purchase.

Visiting the Cheesecake Factory for Father’s Day? Print out this coupon for a free cheesecake for every $30 purchase. Valid until 6/28/2011. Even if you aren’t going for Father’s Day print it anyway. Who doesn’t love free cheesecake?

Hope everyone has a Happy Father’s Day! 🙂

Did I miss your restaurant? Shoot me an e-mail to carloseats [at] gmail [dot] com and I will add you to the list.