tampabay.com

Ultimate Cheap Beach Eats

By Jay Cridlin
Published June 29, 2007


Ricky T's Bar and Grille, Treasure Island

Hanging behind the bar at Ricky T's Bar and Grille in Treasure Island is a T-shirt that reads: "Ricky Taylor: Lotta love, lotta life!" "I don't know who came up with that, but that was Rick, " said Taylor's widow, Cheri. "He was full of life, full of love." So, it seems, is his namesake diner. Sports pub, beach bar, greasy spoon, local watering hole - Ricky T's, and its sister joints in St. Pete Beach, have long filled all these roles to locals and vacationers alike. No one had more to do with that than Taylor, who in March literally died of laughter, suffering a heart attack while guffawing at a joke about frog legs. At Ricky T's you can get 12-inch pizzas and greasy half-pound burgers for under $6, and Reubens, Philly cheese steaks and grouper sandwiches for not a lot more. "It's funny, because some people on their first day of vacation will come there to eat, and then you keep seeing them day after day, " Cheri said. "They've tried everywhere else, and they keep coming back. It's really quite a tribute." Ricky T's: 10601 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, (727) 363-7425; 6100 Gulf Blvd. (inside Howard Johnsons), St. Pete Beach, (727)360-4575.

How you voted

Ricky T's, Treasure Island/St. Pete Beach: 62%

Frenchy's, Clearwater Beach: 20%

Dockside Dave's, Madeira Beach/St. Pete Beach: 8%

Other: 6%

Keegan's Seafood Grille, Indian Rocks Beach: 3%

Vito and Michael's Gourmet Pizzeria and Restaurant, St. Pete Beach: 2%