Friday, March 09, 2012

Spring training eateries in Tampa Bay area near Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Pirates, and Orioles

"This week, we're thinking baseball. One of the joys of living in Florida is being able to tour the various spring training parks within a drive of the Tampa Bay area, soaking up 80-degree sunshine while chilling with a hotdog and beer. But sometimes we want to extend the day by grabbing a bite at one of the fun eateries near the ballpark. Here are a few of our favorites.

La Teresita, 3248 W. Columbus Drive, (813) 879-9704; (New York Yankees) — A short drive from Legends Field, this West Tampa landmark offers authentic Spanish cuisine in a casual setting (don't let the waiters in white shirts and black bow ties fool you). We're especially big fans of the signature Roast Pork and Chicken and Yellow Rice.

Lenny's, 21220 U.S. 19 N., Clearwater, (727) 799-0402; (Philadelphia Phillies) Phillies fans will appreciate the atmosphere as much as the great breakfasts (Redneck Benedict or Scrapple, anyone?), lunches (deli favorites, piled high) and Jewish favorites (knishes, latkes and bagels). The walls are lined with enough memorabilia to make any Philly native feel right at home, as will the attentive wait staff.

Kelly's For Just About Anything, 319 Main St., Dunedin, (727) 736-5284; (Toronto Blue Jays) — Downtown Dunedin has become a fashionable late-night destination, with its numerous restaurants and bars within walking distance. Kelly's menu ranges from basic (burgers, salads) to more standard dinner fare (Cornish game hens, baby-back ribs), but in an inviting, eclectic setting. Cap off your night next door with a martini at the Chic a Boom Room.

Charisma Café and Art, 1004 Tenth Ave., Bradenton, (941) 748-8203; (Pittsburgh Pirates) Take in a little culture after the game. This quaint 1920s home, at The Village of the Arts, includes a restaurant that highlights healthy options such as smoothies and sandwiches, and salads that feature ingredients such as hummus, taboule and sunflower seeds. Be sure to walk around and take in the bright colors and works of local artists.

Hob Nob Drive In, 1701 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 955-5001; (Baltimore Orioles)Patrons will get a good idea of what they'll experience as soon as they approach the 1950s-style exterior. We're talking drive-in favorites such as hefty burgers, onion rings and milk shakes, served curbside so you don't even have to find a table — just like your parents would have enjoyed it 50 years ago.

Yeah, we know. You think we're clueless because we didn't include your favorite place on our list, right? Tell us about it at TBO.com, search: Short List"

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