The locals go to Woody’s to eat and drink late into the sunset evenings of summer on St Pete Beach. They savor the quiet and enjoy the music and the views.
That’s because every Snowbird in west Florida in the winter has told every other northerner on the continentabout this place for decades and it’s simply human gridlock from Thanksgiving to Easter.
Built in 1945 on the inlet facing the Gulf of Mexico on Blind Pass, Woody’s has been providing live music, beautiful waterfront views and epic sunsets along with cold beer, margaritas and delicious fish spread as long as I’ve been in Florida.
Heck, it’s on a street named Sunset Way, for goodness sake.
The menu’s as it should be, with plenty of fresh fish, shrimp, sandwiches and nightly specials on drinks and food. They do tuna and mahi well, on their dinner specials and cooked to your liking.
On a typical evening, a live musician is playing as you select a picnic table with umbrellas to shade you from the sun. You sit and watch boats heading in from a day on the water into the private communities to the north, or glimpsea dolphin or two swimming by, and here comes the Sunset Cruise Boat with tourists drinking draft beer and waving like they’ve discovered something the rest of us didn’t know.
It’s campy, still believes the 50’s and 60’s were cool, and it’s very rare to see a collar on a shirt or pants below the knees.
Last week I was there with my friend Denise, who likes farm to table restaurants and vegetarian choices. We had cold boiled shrimp fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and split three meaty, thick-stuffed tacos with blackened Mahi smothered in cole slaw and cheese.
Oh, and a couple of icy-cold beers you’re simply forced to slam quickly because of the heat.
Can I get an “Of course you did’
I’m an ex food and beverage guy, love to cook with my foodie friends, and incessantly curious about what everyone’s eating and how it comes out.
‘The burgers are really good here,’ I told Denise. ‘Grilled and American cheezed and thick. Awesome,’ I said as folks at the table next to us assaulted a couple doubles with extra cheese.
‘Did you ask where the beef came from Is it farm raised and organic’ she asked.
The thought had honestly never occurred to me.
‘Another round here, please.’
The Amberjack Fish spread is the only one I’ll eat. Smother it with hot sauce on a saltine and go to town. The others are to stay away from.
Who eats Crawfish Spread or Salmon Spread Really, who does that
Sunday & Monday are Big Fish and Margaritas, Tuesday is Naked Wings all day special (quite good), and Fish & Chips rounds out the weekly specials. Fish & chips are one of my favorites, along with the Seafood Nuggets Basket. They were busted a few years ago for selling white fish they called Grouper, as were many Florida restaurants.
The sandwiches can be left in the kitchen along with the salads. C’mon, you’re at Woody’s.
Margaritas are good, but get them in a beer glass and not that tippy plastic fake goblet thing they try to spill on you.
It’s casual, laid back, the service is really fast and accommodating, and some of the waitresses have been there as long as the locals.
Wear your shorts and favorite shirt with a fish picture on it and prepare to be taking sunset photos from the deck like a Mayonnaise-White teenager from Baltimore saying ‘What’
Food: 8 of 10
Woody's Waterfront, 7308 Sunset Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706