Clearwater was an uncharted area of the state of Florida until the early 19th century. Perched on the west coast of the St Petersburg peninsula, separated from the mainland by Old Tampa Bay and backed by everglades and marshland, Clearwater remained isolated with its only inhabitants being natives of the Tocobaga tribe until the US Army constructed a fort there. To promote the habitation of the coastal area the army gave away parcels of land to settlers who set up home and began farming. Access to Clearwater became much easier following the construction of highways and a railway line. Developers soon realized the growing town's potential for vacations and one by one, hotels were erected. However, the army didn't withdraw and Clearwater maintained its military connection until well after the end of WW2. Many of the soldiers who had trained in the facilities there returned after being demobbed. Among them were a small percentage of Italians who made the most of the increasing tourist trade to open the city's first pizzerias.
Go out to eat pizza in Clearwater and you'll be in for a real treat as Clearwater is known for its Naples-style pizzas. One of the best variations of traditional pies, Naples or Neapolitan-style pizzas originates from the Campania region of southwest Italy. This pizza's rustic, handmade appearance is what sets it apart from other, more factory-made looking, pies that are popular in America. There are certain requisites that have to be met to bake an authentic Naples-style pizza and one of the most important is the way it's cooked. Along with using only buffalo mozzarella in the preparation, a Naples-style pizza should be baked in a wood-fired oven. It's a method of baking that gives the crust a slightly charred or blackened look and increases by ten-fold the flavor of the dough. Other than the standard dose of mozzarella, the range of toppings used on a Naples-style pizza are usually restricted to ingredients like Parma ham, fresh tomatoes, spinach, and basil.
Making a pizza may appear to be simple, but it's not. It's a practiced art and one that's been more than mastered by the chefs at Granadino's Italian Restaurant who bake the best delivery pizza in Clearwater. If you're going to get a Naples-style delivery pizza then you really should get it from here. Granadino's has a premises on Drew Street which shouts, we make Italian food – inside and out. Well-placed ambient lighting makes the dining area warm and welcoming while the air-conditioning helps take the heat out of the Florida weather. Maybe it's that level of comfort and homeliness that assists them in creating great pies. Their Pizza alla Napolitano is a real nod to the homeland and a simple, but exquisite bake, following the traditional recipe. If you want something a little more flamboyant then go for their Masterpiece and you can top it with what you like.
Bro's Pizzeria is a well-established, family-run restaurant where you can pick up the best take-out pizza in Clearwater. You'll find Bro's on South Fort Harrison Avenue and if you're in a vehicle you'll be able to pull up right outside. A small terrace area separates the premises from the sidewalk and that's a great spot to sit and wait for your pizza order to cook as you can watch the traffic streaming by. Inside, Bro's has an eclectically mixed décor with ceramic tiles on the walls and a few framed paintings of Italian landscapes in the style of the old masters. They're not particularly eye-catching and definitely don't detract attention from the precooked pizzas displayed on the counter. Those pizzas are there for clients who are in a hurry or don't want to risk getting a parking ticket while their pie is baking. Fresh is always best.
St Petersburg is twenty-four miles south of Clearwater and on the east rather than west coast. It's named after Russia's second-largest city, but the name is where all similarities end. Head there if you want guaranteed sunshine while you're visiting The Dali Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts before driving over the breathtaking Sunshine Skyway Bridge just for the fun of it. Pick up a pizza from Joey Brooklyn's Famous Pizza Kitchen on 1st Avenue North and eat it on the beach in the Fort de Soto Park.
Head out of Clearwater in a northerly direction and after about nine miles you'll come to a community known as Palm Harbor. Unless you enjoy seeing how the other half live, in mansions surrounded by golf courses, take a left before you get there and drive over the Dunedin Causeway to the Honeymoon Island State Park. It's the place to stroll over deserted white sand beaches while bird spotting with nothing more than the sound of the waves lapping against the shore. If you want a pie to take with you, pick one up from Frank's Pizza on Achieva Way.
If you have kids that are not too keen on swimming in the sea, but still want to play about in the water, take a trip south out of Clearwater to Indian Shores. They'll have a great time at the Splash Harbor Water Park where there are chutes galore. You can get them used to the surge of the sea by introducing them to the wave pool before taking them for a pizza at Beach Pizza Plus on Gulf Boulevard. If there's any leftover crusts they can feed them to the birds in the Town Square Nature Park or at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. Seagulls just love pizza.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Clearwater?
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