Enjoy Music with Fine Food and Wine to Casual Eats at SOUTHBEACH Grill Supper Club
By Donna Malloy
Photo Courtesy Fran Bartlett
You can take the chili out of New Mexico, but you can't take New Mexico out of the chili entrees at SOUTHBEACH Grill. Originally a south beach sports bar, three years ago this past February the business blended into south beach grill, thanks to owner Fran Bartlett.
Raised on a cattle ranch in New Mexico, Fran moved to San Francisco, California, to attend college and majored in finance. It was at this time that Fran discovered her musical talent and became the lead singer and drummer in several college bands. In 1976, Fran held the distinction of being the first woman sports trainer for an NFL team, the San Diego Chargers.
Years later, after taking two computer software companies public, Fran decided it was time to retire. Then living in Dallas, she felt like she was "too far from the ocean," in 2004 Fran migrated to the salty air of the Gulf of Mexico. Not content in retirement, in 2006 Fran purchased the old British Pub and formed SOUTHBEACH Grill and the rest is history.
Open every day except Monday, the restaurant is located at 731 Bayway Boulevard on south Clearwater Beach. During the day, the grill still caters to local sports fans but by late afternoon as the sun sets on the Gulf of Mexico the restaurant begins its metamorphosis into an intimate supper club complete with linen napkins and tablecloths.
Soft candlelight dances to the sound of smooth jazz from such noted jazz musicians as regulars Allon Sams, B.K. Jackson, Al Coffee, Two Close, Doug Wilson, Jim Feazell and Jeff Red. Doug Wilson doubles as Elvis on occasion and every Wednesday evening hosts "Open mic" night. But as Fran explains it, "Be prepared to showcase your talent. This is not karaoke." Thursday is funk jazz with Two Close.
On weekends the house band, Bus Stop Band, begins their slow jazz renditions at 8:30 pm, allowing diners soft conversation in a relaxing atmosphere. Slowing building in intensity, it's not long before diners become dancers.
Fran, in partnership with Smooth Jazz WSJT, is dedicated to presenting up and coming celebrities monthly on our very own Clearwater Beach; recording artists such as Les Sabler, Blake Aaron and Level 10. You will be able to say you saw him or her "when." It's not surprising that after all these years, Fran returned to her first love, music.
Unique to Clearwater Beach, SOUTHBEACH Grill features New Mexican delights such as Tacos de Carnitas, a Grouper Taco Dinner serviced with rice and beans and an Enchilada Dinner serviced with rice, pinto beans and sour cream. The recipes for the New Mexican entrees "are my mothers and the ingredients are fresh from New Mexico" confirmed Fran.
Succulent appetizers include Duck Wings and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp Tapas, Pizza To Go, Soups and Salads such as South Beach Chili, Eye of Prime Rib, Pasta, South Pacific Ribs (winner Taste of Clearwater) and even Philly Cheese Steaks are available.
This past January, Fran purchased 30-year-old family owned restaurant The Lobster Pot on Redington Shores. The pastry chef at The Lobster Pot prepares desserts for both restaurants, including Key Lime Pie and Apple Walnut Upside Down Pie.
SOUTHBEACH Grill's hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m.; Happy Hour weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. But, "if the party is great, the manager reserves the right to keep it going!" SOUTHBEACH Grill will reopen for lunch in September. Please call 727-446-8809 or go to their website at: www.SouthBeach-Grill.com for more information.
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