Cabin fever was kicking in pretty hard this spring. It’s been well over a year since I’ve traveled anywhere over an hour away due to the pandemic and I can’t even remember the last time I’ve spent a few nights in a hotel. When I plan vacations, I always pick the restaurants I want to eat at first, then everything else just falls into place. I’ve been following the St. Petersburg Foodies for a few years now, so I thought this might be a good time to reach out to them and see if they would be up for helping me plan a foodie weekend. My only requirements were that they choose a few places for me to visit that gives a nice overview of the food in St. Pete, from diner food to fine dining and a little in between. My only specific request was for Nash’s Hot Chicken. I’ve been dying for good Nashville Hot Chicken and I can’t find any great places for it over on the East coast, so I had to include them.
I left Vero at noon on Friday, May 21st and got to the hotel around 3pm. Traffic wasn’t too bad until I got to Tampa and Google GPS routed me on to I-4, which I try to avoid at all costs. My foodie weekend consists of 6 stops at different restaurants around the downtown area, so it’s going to be a full weekend of eating! Getting around St Pete wasn’t too difficult. I was able to drive to most places, but we did Uber to both dinners on Friday and Saturday nights due to the location and in case we had a little to much to drink!
Now let’s dive right in and see what all these cool places have to offer and what I had to eat!
I asked Kevin and Lori, owners of St. Petersburg Foodies for hotel recommendations. I was looking for something locally owned and right in the downtown area. They suggested a few different places, but I ended up choosing The Hollander. A few years ago I stayed at The Avalon, their sister hotel next door for a wedding in the area, so I figured this would be the best place due to it’s central downtown location and the free parking. I thought the price per night for a King room was also very reasonable. The rooms were clean, had cold A/C, and a ceiling fan. The bathroom was a bit small, but since it was only me staying there, that wasn’t an issue. I would definitely consider this hotel or The Avalon again when staying in the area.
Kevin and Lori came at me with both barrels blazing with this fabulous first night dinner selection. This place is less than 1 year old and is located at the far end of the St. Petersburg Pier. We took an Uber to get as close as we could, but still had a 15 – 20 minute walk to get there. They do provide tram service from end to end of the pier so you can get around pretty easily if you don’t feel like walking the entire length of the pier. As you can see from the pictures above, this place has spectacular views from all sides. It’s surrounded by water, and you can even see Tampa in the far distance (not pictured). The food is considered fine dining and was just as amazing as the views. The most memorable dish of the night was the grouper. It had a wonderful crust on it and seasoning was on point!
Address: 800 2nd Ave NE 4th Floor, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 513-8325
2nd & Second
Kicking things off for my full day of eating on Saturday morning is the only diner located in Downtown St. Pete! I browsed the menu before heading over and they had one dish on the menu that caught my eye. When I was a kid, I have memories of going over to grandpa’s house and grabbing an old fashioned donut from the freezer and taking a bite, even when it’s still frozen. That rich doughy flavor is what I remember most, so I had to try the Old Fashioned Donut French toast. With the Boston cream sauce over the top, it was a match made in heaven! Up next I ordered the Mexican inspired omelet called the Tijuana. It’s served with “plain jane” hash browns and choice of toast. Since I’m always looking for something unique, I decided to “Upgrade” my hash browns to the Philly Brown. Shaved ribeye and caramelized onions are folded between the two layers of hash browns and topped with the “liquid gold” cheddar cheese. They were so good, but I had to stop myself from eating more since I had 3 more stops later that day!
Nash’s Hot Chicken
I’ve been on a quest to find the best Nashville Hot Chicken outside of Nashville and I’ve not found any good options anywhere on the Treasure Coast. When I was planning this foodie weekend, I already knew I had to pay these guys a visit! All of their hot chicken is made with oversize chicken tenders and they offer a spice level from 1 – 4. If you are a bit more adventurous, then ask them about spice levels 5 & 6. These are not usually advertised since these are not for the faint of heart. I’ve heard level 6 uses ghost pepper, which is one of the hottest peppers in the world. I LOVE spicy, but I decided to go with spice level #4 as to not numb out my taste buds for the rest of the day. My two favorites were the Early Bird and the Cluck Norris. I first had hesitations about the Early Bird, with the cream cheese and strawberry jam, but the combination of creamy, spicy and sweet really paired well together. The Cluck Norris was my early pick when I first checked out the menu before my visit. It was an explosion of flavor and definitely lived up to my expectations!