Matt Lugo pours hibiscus tea for Aaron Clark at Kara Lynn's Kitchen, where organic “clean food” is served, made from scratch, and expanded outdoor seating is offered for added safety. Photos by Amber Sigman
Linda and Murry Talasnik celebrate the anniversary of their first date 15 years ago while dining out at Soul Sicilian Fusion. Photos by Amber Sigman
Murry Talasnik is served dinner outside at Soul Sicilian Fusion. Photos by Amber Sigman
Elizabeth McLuskey and her mom Patti play during Juno Vibranz’s Drag Bingo night outside of Pour Yours Wine Bar in downtown Clearwater. Photos by Amber Sigman
Artists Dacota Maphis and Daniel DeWindt of Safety Harbor order sushi at Chiang Mai Thai and Sushi Bar in downtown Clearwater. Photos by Amber Sigman
Peter Kourtoulidis takes an order at Vera’s Kitchen serving up home-style Greek food and pizza. Photos by Amber Sigman
Local art for sale at Vera’s Kitchen specializing in authentic Greek food and homestyle pizzas. Photos by Amber Sigman
Zach Seufert, a Clearwater musician, plays classic covers with his own arrangements as guests enjoy dining outside. Photos by Amber Sigman
Guests dine out in downtown Clearwater where outdoor seating has been expanded, part of Clearwater’s Summer 2020 Dine in Downtown Program. Photos by Amber Sigman
Music fills the street as the sun begins to set. Boats sail under the causeway in the distance. A mother and her young son dance. An older couple celebrates their first date 15 years ago, and friends eat organic at sidewalk cafes flowing into the street.
Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency is helping to boost revitalization efforts by offering 2,500 individual vouchers for a $20 credit toward a dining experience in downtown Clearwater through the end of August. Customers can choose from one of nine restaurants on Cleveland Avenue, where two blocks are open to foot traffic only for safety and ambiance.
On a recent evening, two artists from Safety Harbor were ordering up sushi. It was their first time eating out since the start of the pandemic. They like the idea of the Summer 2020 Dining Program to help support businesses.
“It’s an amazing way to fight what’s becoming the norm,” says Daniel DeWindt. “I think this will be good as long as people respect each other’s space. It’s all about respect.”
Linda and Murray Talasnik were celebrating their anniversary at Soul Sicilian Fusion for what also makes their first time eating out since the COVID-19 lockdown. Linda says she feels safer eating outside.
“I prefer the outside seating now, and you’re not distracted by outside traffic, noise, or exhaust,” she says. “It’s a better use of the available space,” her husband Murray adds.
Lina Teixeira, the owner of Pour Yours Wine Bar, is grateful for the expanded outside seating experience to help her and other business owners downtown.
“It encourages people to hang out, and be safe,” she says. “It encourages camaraderie and a sense of community.”
For more information and access to a limited number of vouchers, check out the Downtown Clearwater Summer Dining Program