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Grapefruiting 2009: It's A Philly Thing

So when you do make that trip, remember to bring a few of your closest friends, and remember to stay Philly.

Food to make you fat

Nothing means more to a Philadelphian than gross, disgusting, delicious fatty food. And since Clearwater is Philly south for a good lot of the year, there are some options:

Philly’s Famous Cheesteaks, 4375 E. Bay Drive, Clearwater
Cheesesteaks. Duh.

A Taste of Philly, 7810 Highway 19, Port Richey
They boast steaks, Hank’s and Tastykake. You may want to start there.

Cary’s Soft Pretzles, Pinellas Park, 727-548-1194‎
What’s a day at the park without a soft pretzel?

Yes, they distribute Yuengling in the Tampa-Clearwater area. I apologize, I did not scour every bar and liquor store to see if Yuengling was available.

So okay, there are some food options.

Wait …

The big one

Lenny’s, 21220 Highway 19, Clearwater
Moments from the complex, Lenny’s is the place to go for Phillies fans. It’s a Phillies diner with exceptional food. Go for breakfast, but be ready to wait in line. Doors open at 6 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. everyday.

Lenny’s is a great Philly hangout. Are there others?

Other Philly hangouts

Frenchy’s Original Cafe, 41 Baymont St., Clearwater
Fish and drinks make the original Frenchy’s a good time. A usual haunt for Clearwater baseball regulars, sometimes even of the playing kind. They’re the ones with the left field Tiki Bar at Brighthouse Networks Field. In fact …

Frenchy’s Tiki Pavilion, Brighthouse Networks Field
Do yourself a favor: After Lenny’s at like 8 a.m., get to the ballpark and head to Frenchy’s as soon as it opens. Grab a stool at the bar and enjoy the sun and, of course, the game. With a nice beer selection and a nice chance to strike up conversation with a beautiful baby or slick stud, it’s a hot gametime destination. And it stays open after the final out.

Jimmy’s Fish House & Iguana Bar, 521 Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater
Another popular spot for baseball people, it’s at the Holiday Inn on Clearwater Beach.

Of course, it’s Philly this way, too

I would advise, however, not to walk around in Clearwater. No, it’s not dangerous, but it’s a lot of ghost town sprinkled with tourist attractions and restaurants. And roads. Plenty of roads. You’ll want to scope the beaches and look at the golf courses. But for walking around, check out St. Petersburg (especially BayWalk).

Personal aside

You will need a car, or a lot of taxi money. Basically, you’ll want to check out St. Pete for its nightlife and beach scenes, and even Tampa for its college scene (if you’re of that age). Between those cities and the baseball and Philly flavor of Clearwater, you’ll put some mileage on the tires. But it’s worth it.

Gas prices in the area aren’t terrible (comparable to Philadelphia) and if you rent a compact car with good mileage, you might only need to fill the tank once in four days. Considering you’re shuttling between three cities, that’s a pretty impressive feat.

Make sure, then, you have a plan for your trip. You know what times the games are. Plan around the games. If you have a 1 p.m. game, plan your round of golf for 6 a.m. and your visit to Lenny’s at 11 a.m., so you’ll be right near the park most of the day. Head back to your hotel after the game. Change, plan your night and do dinner along the way. Spend the day in Clearwater; spend the night in St. Pete. Rinse, repeat. Flying by the seat isn’t the best idea.

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