A Family Night Out for the Holidays at Sparkman Wharf

Here at the Alden, we’re always looking for new fun experiences for our guests, and we have a new one for you that’s perfect for the 2020 holiday season! Just a 30-minute drive from the Alden is Tampa’s new waterfront entertainment district, Sparkman Wharf. Built on the Tampa Bay right next to the Florida Aquarium, this open-air center is built for families to have fun together, and they’ve added some special features to make it an awesome holiday destination.

You’ll want to spend more than an hour or two at Sparkman Wharf because there’s just so much to do. On your next visit to the Alden, why not drive over at lunchtime and sample some of the amazing food that our local restaurants are offering at the food trucks? The Naked Farmer serves chef-prepared seasonal American food from farms close to home. You can expect fine-dining quality and cooking techniques, served in a fast, convenient manner. Then stop by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for a cone of their locally made ice cream with a uniquely smooth texture and buttercream body that makes you come back for more!

If you haven’t experienced the Florida Aquarium yet, you won’t want to miss it. With a 4-D Theater, 100,000 gallon Heart of the Sea exhibit, and an opportunity to interact with real-life penguins, your whole family is sure to be entertained and inspired. The Florida Aquarium is currently requiring reservations to limit capacity, so make sure to book your trip in advance.

Sparkman Wharf has plenty of other ways for families to enjoy time together, including Splitsville, a retro-cool bowling alley that goes WAY beyond the traditional ten-pin bowling. They have lawn and feather bowling, billiards, foosball, darts, and shuffleboard! You can even pick up a classic Southern snack from their menu inspired by two-time James Beard Award winner Chef Art Smith.

If you have little ones, they won’t be able to resist the lure of Tampa’s Pirate Ship, the Lost Pearl. Right off the dock at Sparkman Wharf, you can set sail for a Pirate’s Christmas!  The festive cruise will take your family to Holiday Island where you will get an up-close look at Tampa’s largest floating Christmas tree. Children will also write and mail a letter to Santa to drop into Tampa’s only floating mailbox. Pirate singalongs featuring Christmas carols, swashbuckling games, round out the magical Christmas event!

While you’re out and about with the family, you can even get some Christmas shopping done. Shop local and support Tampa’s small businesses, finding unique gifts for everyone on your list. Fido will be in dog heaven when you bring home a present from The Modern Paws. You can find local food products like teas, honey and jellies, plus gifts for your favorite home chef at the Main Ingredient.

And Joyful Notion offers fresh Florida fashion and The Flower Bar, where you can create your very own floral masterpiece from their abundant assortment of fresh blooms.

Hang out and watch the boats go by on Sparkman Wharf’s recreational lawn, with cornhole games, porch swings and live music. Sip on local brews under sparkling lights at the Biergarten. Take a picture with the iconic TAMPA sign and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Tampa skyline as the sun goes down.

We recommend a grand finale for your festive family day out: dinner on the patio at JOTORO. Fine Mexican provisions prepared by a Michelin-starred chef elevate your dining experience. Start with a few of their margarita flights- we did and we’re now obsessed with the Izzy Colada and the Prickly Pear Margarita. It’s a good idea to bring plenty of family members so you can share bites and try it all.

We munched through the whole menu and could not stop talking about their Mexico City Grilled Street Corn, Crispy Tempura Fish Tacos, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas. They have vegetarian and keto options so the whole family can find something to enjoy.

We know you’ll be full after all that yumminess, but make sure to order JOTORO’s house-made key lime pie. Chef Joe Isidori elevates this classic Florida dessert with a crunchy crust and cinnamon horchata sauce. It’s truly the best key lime pie we’ve ever experienced and trust us, we’ve had more than our share! And before you go, don’t forget to take a photo with their life-sized llama piñata!

2020 has been a tough year for all of us, but there’s no reason not to enjoy the holidays with your family. Here in Florida, we have plenty of ways to celebrate safely outdoors, whether you’re on the balcony of your suite at the Alden, spaced out in our cabanas at the beach, or having a grand adventure at Sparkman Wharf. We hope to see you here for the holiday season in St. Pete Beach!

Four Fine Dining Restaurants You Can Walk to from the Alden!

Staying at Alden Suites you have already made the wise choice of being comfortable, taken care of and you’ll still have a vacation budget to indulge. We want to make sure you enjoy whichever occasion you’re celebrating with us, and that you eat well! We’d love to share some of our favorite restaurants for your special dinner out and they are all within a mile of Alden Suites! Alden Suites is conveniently located on the beach with lots of choices for shopping, dining out and entertainment, but if you’re looking for something a little more special, we’ve got you covered! If you’re finding it hard to celebrate a special meal that doesn’t feel like you fell into a tourist trap with a menu that’s mostly fried, we suggest these 4 amazing restaurants to indulge and escape from the ordinary.

Snappers Sea Grill

Right across the street from the Alden is a wonderfully romantic restaurant called Snappers. The romantic ambiance and personalized service at Snappers set the scene for a truly special meal. Snappers is famed for their stuffed grouper, dry aged steaks, and blue tuna appetizer, and we’re totally addicted to their hand-cut fried zucchini sticks! Don’t forget to try their house-made desserts, the perfect accompaniment to a delicious celebration!

Skidders’ Restaurant

Located right across the street from the Alden, Skidder’s is a bit more casual than our other picks, but they offer a full bar and exceptional personal service. Pick a table on the new side patio or the front garden for a romantic meal. Every dish is incredible – souvlaki, burgers, seafood, pizza, even the house wine. The lamb shanks are something else, and don’t miss out on a shot of their amazing ouzo!

Seared 1200 Chophouse

If the way to your love’s heart is steak, Seared 1200 Chophouse holds the key. Set in a refurbished 1940’s home along the intercoastal waterway just across the street from the Alden, 1200 Chophouse elevates steak to an art form, with incredible side dishes and a wine list to match. The flavor combinations and presentation will have you visually stimulated while you savor every bite! The truffle fries with gouda dipping sauce and seared duck breast are not to be missed. .

Sola Bistro and Wine Bar

Sola’s warm, quaint and comfortable atmosphere is cozy and intimate, perfect for a romantic evening out. The creative and passionately prepared dishes and attentive service offer a first-class dining experience. Ranging from unique dishes for the area like rabbit and venison and more traditional meals including pork belly and grouper, the menu offers a wide variety for everyone to enjoy. Romantic setting, amazing wine selection, and live music make for the perfect date night or celebration dinner, but we highly recommend you do NOT skip dessert here! Their famous honeycomb cake is a dish no one should leave St. Pete Beach without trying!

We hope you have a fabulous night out and indulge in a fine dining experience to complete your special stay with us. It’s great to live the no shoes, no shirt, no problem lifestyle, but if you’re looking to snazz it up a bit, all these phenomenal restaurants are all less than a mile away! It’s your vacation, why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Bon Appétit!

Top 7 Cheap Eats in St. Pete Beach

While you stay with us here at the Alden, there are a variety of delicious places to eat without breaking the bank. From breakfast to dinner there are cheap eats to please any palate right here on St. Pete Beach. There’s nothing better than spending your vacation on the beach and eating amazing affordable foods. Check out our Top 7 Cheap Eats in St. Pete Beach and make plans for your next delicious beach vacation!

Barracuda Deli Café

They are known for serving the Best Cuban sandwich, and it lives up to its reputation. But the Barracuda Deli Café offers so much more all at an affordable cost! From refreshing salads, wraps, and a variety of pressed sandwiches, to their fusion of Caribbean/Mexican dishes. Do your taste buds a favor and try one of everything! Here at the Alden, we often have Barracuda Deli cater our staff meetings and small gatherings, so we definitely recommend them if you need to feed a crowd for your Alden Suites family reunion!

https://barracudadelicafe.com/

 

Giuseppe’s Pizza

Giuseppe’s has been voted the best St. Pete Beach Pizza year after year. With so many different pizzas to choose from as well as calzones and subs, they have something to please every member of your group. If you’re tired after a long day at the beach take advantage of their delivery service and have your pie from the comfort of your room at Alden. Made fresh to order and served up fast, hot and delicious.  You will not find better pizza in St Pete Beach!

https://www.stpetebeachpizza.com/

 

Snapper’s Oasis Food Truck

You just can’t beat the convenience of our Snapper’s Oasis Food Truck, located right next to the Cabana Bar on the Alden Suites Beachfront Resort property. Stroll over to our new beachfront snack shack operated by award-winning local chef Dan Casey. Grab a Snapper’s juicy hamburger, crispy chicken tenders or a fresh seafood sandwich basket, all served up at budget-friendly prices.

https://www.aldenbeachresort.com/snapperrsquos-oasis-food-truck.html

La Casa Del Pane

La Casa Del Pane is an authentic Italian bakery that serves fresh bread baked daily from homemade dough, classic Italian style pizzas, salads, pastries, and the best coffee on St. Pete Beach. Their breakfast menu is full of favorites from omelets to chocolate croissants all at a great price. Lunch specials include gourmet sandwiches with savory spreads, made on their delicious Italian bread. Stop by for a taste of Italy you can enjoy there or take back for a snack.

http://www.lacasadelpane.us/

 

St. Pete Beach Produce & Deli

St. Pete Beach Produce and Deli is family run and has the best prices in town for farm fresh produce and Greek cuisine. They serve yummy gyros with tzatziki sauce, spanakopita, creamy potato salad and sundried bow tie pasta salad that’s simply to die for. Dine in or have a beach picnic with your family!

http://www.spbproduceanddeli.com/index.htm

 

Paradise Grille

One of our favorite ways to start the day is to walk a few yards north on St. Pete Beach up the boardwalk to The Paradise Grille. They have picnic tables right on the beach, so you can enjoy breakfast with a view at a great price. The Paradise Grille is world renowned for their Beach breakfast featuring omelets, egg platters, and famous blueberry pancakes. For lunch and dinner, they serve up a great grouper sandwich, as well as burgers, fish n’ chips, oysters, crab legs, wraps, wings, and many other gulf side treats. They also have specialty cocktails and daiquiris that will cool you off while you soak up the sun!

 

Dixie’s Dog House

Dixie’s Dog House has been serving Chicago style Dogs and fare since 1970.  Their hotdogs are made fresh to order with the finest ingredients and only use Vienna Beef. They also offer milkshakes, ice-cream, wings, and delicious chili. Nothing says vacation like a corn dog and a milkshake on the beach- who could resist!

http://www.dixiesdoghouse.com/

 

These are just a few of the best cheap eats to enjoy at St. Pete Beach. If you have any other savory spots to add, please leave a comment. We are always looking for new delicious options!

Ice Cream Smackdown! 8 Hotspots for Enjoying a COOL treat in St. Pete Beach!

Nothing is better than some cool treats on a hot day! And we did all the legwork for you, rounding up our favorite hotspots for COOL treats in St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach!

Beach Snoballs

Beach Snoballs is the best place to get authentic, New Orleans-style snoballs with a beachy, island twist! With over 65 flavors and a variety of toppings, these hand-crafted snoballs are the softest, juiciest gourmet shaved ice on the beach!

http://www.beachsnoballs.com/

Micki’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Micki’s Ice Cream is St. Pete Beach’s best source for all things local and all things ice cream. Try their signature ice cream waffle sandwiches and a variety of unique flavors. As well as serving delicious handcrafted ice cream they are incredibly passionate about the environment and partner with local organizations to maintain the beauty of St. Pete Beach.

https://mickisicecream.com/

Candy Kitchen

Founded in 1937, Candy Kitchen has been making salt water taffy, creamy fudge, and delicious ice cream the old-fashioned way for over 80 years.  They are a family owned and operated business that prides itself on using only the freshest, quality ingredients and time-honored recipes.

https://candykitchen.com/

Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Gelato

Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream and Gelato has been a staple of St. Pete Beach vacations for decades. Larry’s is a landmark and generational favorite that never goes out of style. They’re famous for homemade waffle cones, super-premium ice cream, authentic Italian gelato, and fresh mini donuts!

http://www.larrysicecream.com/

IceBurg

Iceburg opened in Downtown St. Petersburg in February 2017. They serve delicious ice cream rolled to order with your choice of toppings. This trendy style of sweet treat is light and flavorful and perfect for a hot beach day!

https://www.iceburgrolledicecream.com/

Amish Creamery Co

Amish Creamery Company, Inc. prides itself on creating handmade ice cream with only the most natural ingredients. Stop in say hello and check out their great variety of Amish deli meats and cheeses, jar goods, old-fashioned sodas, fudge, many other Amish-made products — all while you’re enjoying Florida’s finest homemade ice cream!

http://amishcreamery.com/index.html

Paciugo Gelato & Caffe

Paciugo in Downtown St. Petersburg shares the tastes of Italy with the world. You won’t be able to get enough of the silky smooth, irresistibly delicious gelato served in an environment that feels uniquely Italian.

https://paciugo.com/

Twistee Treat

Our President, Gary Renfrow and his wife Mary Ann probably know St. Pete Beach better than anyone else- they’ve been living here and making Alden Suites an amazing vacation destination since the 1970’s! Mary Ann’s favorite spot for soft serve ice cream is Twistee Treat, just a few blocks away from the Alden. The Twistee Treat’s claim to fame is soft serve ice cream & yogurt served in over 70 flavors of ice cream or sugar-free/ fat-free ice cream. They have over 100 ice cream and food menu items that are sure to please your passion. Kids adore the iconic ice cream cone shaped shop- make sure to check it out!

http://stpetebeachicecream.com/

We hope you’ll try out some of our local ice cream parlors on your next St. Pete Beach vacation, and make sure to show us what sweet treat you savored! Did we miss any of your favorite ice cream shops in St. Pete Beach? Feel free to chime in below in the comments, we’re always looking for great ideas to share with our guests!

 

 

 

It’s Happy Hour All Day Long!

Now you can enjoy happy hour pricing all day long when you purchase an Alden Suites Happy Hour glass from our beachfront Cabana Bar. Talk about tasty treats!

This 14-ounce beauty comes in a variety of beachy colors, fully stocked to you with your choice of domestic draft beer, house wine or mixed well drinks — for only $6!

So whether you’re staying a few days, a week, or visit us every year, you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank (and the beach!) when you pick up one of our Happy Hour glasses! Be sure to enjoy responsibly as you enjoy our pristine beach, sunshine and spectacularly famous Alden Suites hospitality!

Five Sweet Spots for Breakfast In St. Pete Beach

If you’re anything like us, the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is: COFFEE! And the next thing is, where can I get some breakfast?

Well, here at Alden Suites we have the coffee part covered, with delicious free coffee every morning in the lobby. And you can always fix some breakfast in the fully-equipped kitchen in your suite. But you’re on vacation, and sometimes it’s just nice to go out for a leisurely breakfast to start your day.

Lucky for you (and us!), Alden Suites is right in the middle of a sweet spot, with several delicious breakfast options within easy walking distance of the resort. So slip into those flip flops and follow your nose to the most delicious breakfasts in St. Pete Beach. We dare you to try all five!

Many locals say their favorite spot for breakfast is the Toasted Monkey just two doors up to the north. A hopping hotspot at night, with a fun tiki bar, in the mornings the Monkey has a more chill vibe. Wood tables and bright tropical decor will keep you all relaxed as the chef whips up the best chicken and waffles you’ll ever have. The Monkey makes their chicken fingers with Cap’n Crunch cereal in the breading, so they have a nice sweet flavor that complements the soft, malty Belgian waffle. And many of our guests say that the Monkey’s biscuits and gravy are even better than the ones Grandma makes!

Looking for a real Italian experience along with your bacon and eggs? Walk a few blocks north and you’ll arrive at a slice of heaven for lovers of all things Italy: La Casa del Pane. A family of Italian immigrants runs this cafe, market and bakery, and people line up every day for their freshly baked breads, custard filled croissants, authentic Italian cookies, and the Naples-born flaky pastry called sfogliatelle. Be sure to try the divine cappuccino, and we don’t blame you if you come back for lunch- their focaccias are truly sublime.

Want to get really decadent to start your vacation? Just a hop skip and jump north of the Alden is Larry’s Ice Cream and Gelato, where they proudly make the only fresh mini donuts on St. Pete Beach and serve them up with a myriad of toppings. Hot fresh cinnamon toast, maple walnut, and toasted coconut donuts for breakfast? Sign us up!

And speaking of pastries, you haven’t LIVED until you’ve taken a morning stroll to Cafe Soleil. The owners moved from France a few years ago, bringing the authentic art of French pastries to St. Pete Beach. Each morning at 8 am, people line up at their doors for piping hot fresh, flaky pastries like chocolate filled croissants, lemon pastries, and cherry cheese danishes. It’s an easy stroll south from the Alden, in the Publix shopping center. They serve delicious coffee too, and they have a waterfront patio out back where you can enjoy your pastries while watching the sun rise over Boca Ciega Bay.

For a classic beach diner experience, head north a bit to Skidder’s Restaurant. Owned by a Greek family, they serve Greek specialities like gyros and spanakopita at lunch and dinner. But breakfast is classic American fare- stacks of fluffy pancakes, crisp bacon and yummy eggs, French toast and waffles. Skidder’s is great for families since they have a lot of space and can put tables together to seat a large party. And the broad menu selection means everyone will get to taste their favorite breakfast treats.

Next time you’re at the Alden, we hope you’ll try some of our favorites for your morning meal. Here on St. Pete Beach, we’re blessed with so many wonderful dining choices. Please do let us know if we missed out on a place you love- we’re always eager to find new places to start the day delectably!

St. Petersburg’s Little Italy

Did you know that the St. Petersburg area has a substantial population of Italian immigrants? Drawn to the sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, and friendly, relaxed lifestyle, many Italian families have moved to our town over the years. And they brought some of the best of Italian culture and food along with them! We’d like to share some St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach Italian treasures that will help you live La Dolce Vita here at Alden Suites.

The most famous Italian food destination in the St. Pete area is Mazzaro’s Italian Market. It’s about a 20 minute drive from St. Pete Beach, and you’ll want to time your visit well since Mazzaro’s gets VERY busy on weekends. The market is a festival of everything Italian, with freshly made breads, hand-sliced prosciutto, gelato, handmade cheeses, fresh pasta, and all the spices and sauces you need to make an Italian feast. It’s a perfect place to stock your refrigerator for a week of delicious meals in your suite at the Alden. While you’re there, grab a sandwich to eat on the outside patio, and check out the cool shop next door full of Italian imports.

Downtown St. Pete has an upscale Italian restaurant that many Alden guests enjoy for a romantic night out. It’s called BellaBrava, and they offer some unique, modern twists on Italian food. All of their pastas are homemade, which makes even something as simple as cacio e pepe, fresh spaghetti with cheese and pepper, truly delicious. Foodies rave about their squid ink pasta, calamari and inventive appetizers. It’s a cool place to hang out too, with live music in the bar most evenings.

Closer to home, just a few blocks north of Alden Suites, we have our own Italian Market called La Casa del Pane. They have a small market with Italian candies, sauces, and pastas, but the real star is the fresh-baked bread. Pick up a fresh baguette, ciabatta, or a soft focaccia to make a delicious meal. La Casa del Pane is also a great place to grab a delicious fresh-made sandwich for a picnic on the beach. Who knew you could eat so well while enjoying a blissful beach day?

And speaking of Italian, we have some Italian restaurants here in town that you won’t want to miss. Just a couple of blocks south of the Alden, you’ll find Buona Pizza, the perfect place to pop in for a slice at lunchtime. This waterfront gem offers way more than pizza, with seafood and pasta specials that change every day, and their garlic knots are to die for! Verducci’s Pizzeria and Trattoria is another romantic spot for a classic Italian meal. Famed for their gnocchi and osso bucco, the chefs at Verducci’s have been delighting visitors to St. Pete Beach since 1976!

You never have to worry about depriving your tastebuds of Italian deliciousness when you’re staying at the Alden. Arrividerci for now, and let us know how you enjoy our Italian foodie favorites!