April 19, 2024


The Food community

Clearwater Restaurants Among 2020 Wine Spectator Winners

2 min read

CLEARWATER, FL — The restaurant industry is perhaps the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Months into the crisis, many of us still aren’t venturing out to that quaint downtown bistro to savor a meal and a glass of our favorite merlot.

Putting aside the challenging year, Wine Spectator magazine recently released its list of 2020 Restaurant Award winners, honoring the best in the industry and recognizing the devotion displayed by an industry that has, according to a statement posted to its website, “come together to support its members and the communities they serve.”

The annual list typically gives us a generous glimpse at the best spots in Clearwater. This year, seven Clearwater restaurants and one Indian Shores restaurant earned a nod from Wine Spectator.

The annual Restaurant Awards honor excellence in restaurant wine lists, as well as those who have demonstrated passion and devoted extensive resources to creating outstanding wine programs.

This year, the awards honored 3,800 restaurants in 50 states and 80 countries and territories. Awards were given in three categories: Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence and Grand Award.

The Grand Award is Wine Spectator’s most prestigious honor, given to the world’s most elite wine programs. Read profiles of all 100 current Grand Award winners,

Candidates for the Grand Award are required to undergo a rigorous inspection by Wine Spectator judges; however, this year, travel restrictions and mandatory restaurant shutdowns made inspections impossible. As a result, the magazine named no new restaurants to the 2020 Grand Award list.

Check out the restaurants in Clearwater and Indian Shores that earned nods for excellence this year:

  • Alfano’s Restaurant, 1702 Largo Road, Clearwater

  • Forlini’s Restaurant, 434 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach

  • Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, 447 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach

  • Caretta on the Gulf, Sandpearl Resort, 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach

  • Clearwater Wine Bar & Bistro, 482 Poinsettia Ave., Clearwater Beach

  • Island Way Grill, 20 Island Way, Clearwater Beach

  • Sea-Guini, Opal Sands Resort, 430 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach

  • J. Salt Rock Grill, 19325 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores

The hospitality industry remains hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and is still working to get back on its feet. Abrupt closures, inconsistent reopenings, changes in public health guidance for operations and other state-mandated orders have pushed the industry to the brink.

Two months into the pandemic, 40 percent of America’s restaurants were shuttered and 8 million employees out of work — three times the job losses seen by any other industry, according to a Forbes report. While some restaurants began reopening in May and June, most featured only takeout, delivery or outdoor dining options due to local restrictions.

In June, the number of diners remained down more than 65 percent year over year, and the National Restaurant Association has projected an industry revenue shortfall of $240 billion for the year.

This article originally appeared on the Clearwater Patch

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