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Chamber serves up Restaurant Week
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The fifth annual Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week is May 12-18, beginning with the Taste Fest on Friday, May 9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
CLEARWATER – Darlene Kole, president of the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce, put the reason for the popularity of Restaurant Week in terms that are easy to swallow.

“I think that overall, there’s a foodie in every one of us,” Kole said April 25. “When we hear food, our little ears perk up.”

The fifth annual Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week is May 12-18, beginning with the Taste Fest on Friday, May 9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fireworks will be launched at 9 p.m. along the beaches.

Taste Fest allows restaurants to showcase their signature cuisine and specialties to thousands of beach guests and local patrons. There will be a premium wine and craft beer village sponsored by Premier Wines.

Kole said the beauty of Restaurant Week is that it’s a success for everyone involved.

“All the restaurants that are participating are in front of an awesome audience,” she said. “So they get to introduce something new they are having at their restaurants or they’re reconnecting with long-time customers or introducing new customers to their restaurants.”

The event gives restaurants the opportunity to promote anything that’s new, such as a new location.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for all the participating restaurants to be in front of a really good, qualified audience,” she said.

Kole said that Clearwater Beach is an anomaly in that other corridors, such as U.S. 19, have great restaurants, but most of them are owned by chains.

“Here on the beach they are all privately owned restaurants – family owned and operated,” she said.

The event is held in May to give local residents an opportunity to come to Clearwater Beach “now that spring break is over,” Kole said.

“It’s the end of the tourist season. The weather is perfect, and it’s just a nice time to come out and experience Clearwater Beach and all the restaurants that make Clearwater Beach just a great destination for dining,” Kole said.

The Bright House Networks and Lokey Motors stage will feature a concert from local favorites Espree deKor. There is a ticket needed to attend the Clearwater Beach Taste Fest on Clearwater Beach on May 9. Tickets are $25/person. We will ID and apply wrist bands to all attendees. Entrance tickets will be available at the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce office or at the gate during the event. 

Restaurants will be competing for the best in class in a variety of categories. Diners will have an opportunity to vote on their experience at each restaurant. Each vote will be entered into a drawing for great prizes.

Each participating restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu priced from $15 to $35. Some restaurants offer a prix fixe menu for lunch at prices of $10 to $15.

The menus from participating restaurants will be listed at www.clearwaterbeachrestaurant just before the event’s May 12 start date.

Another important aspect of Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week is helping local nonprofit organizations. Thousands of dollars are raised for the Ryan Wells Foundation and the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan Wells was a culinary student who was killed by a drunk driver and his parents established the foundation to provide scholarship money for culinary students. To date more than $430,000 has been raised for the foundation.

Participating restaurants are Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Clearwater Beach; Bobby's Bistro, Clearwater Beach; Caretta on the Gulf/Sandpearl, Clearwater Beach; Clear Sky Beachside Café, Clearwater Beach; Clearwater Wine Bar & Bistro, Clearwater Beach; Cooters Restaurant & Bar, Clearwater Beach; Cork-N-Brew Bistro, Clearwater Beach; Crabby Bill's Seafood, Clearwater Beach; Crabby's Bar & Grill, Clearwater Beach; Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on the Beach, Clearwater Beach; Frenchy’s Salt Water Café, Clearwater Beach; Frenchy's South Beach Café, Clearwater Beach; Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Clearwater; Hooters, Clearwater Beach; Island Way Grill, Clearwater Beach; Jimmy’s Fish House, Clearwater Beach; Pensare Italian Bistro, Dunedin; Pizza Bizzar, Clearwater Beach; Reflections/The Hilton, Clearwater Beach; Rusty’s Bistro/Sheraton Sand Key, Clearwater Beach; Sands Beach Bar & Grill/Wyndham Garden, Clearwater Beach; SHOR American Seafood Grill/Hyat, Clearwater Beach; Shucker's Seafood Grille, Clearwater Beach; Watercolour Grill House/Marriott, Clearwater Beach.
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