Clearwater Beach Has Amazing Food History
Harry Truman was president when Robert and Eva Nelle Heilman started Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant in 1948. A gallon of gas cost 15 cents, a nice house was about 10 grand. The road out front wasn’t paved and the island of Clearwater Beach was much smaller. Much has changed since then, yet experiencing good people, delicious food, and great service really hasn’t. When the future is like the past you know you’ve found something lasting. With 70 years under the belt, they know a thing or two.
No matter what, the best ingredients always make the best food!
The original Beachcomber building caught fire and was destroyed in 1959 but Bob Sr. immediately opened a dining room nearby and continued to satisfy customers for 11 months as the rebuild took place. There have been a few remodels since then and today Beachcomber Restaurant is classic and elegant with just the right amount of tradition.
It still feels like you might see Frank Sinatra sitting in the corner and you may see a modern day celebrity.
The history vibe is alive yet modern amenities just make it feel high quality. It’s the kind of place you look around to see who’s there as you saunter through also wanting to be seen. It is great for date night! Prestige is still a thing.
Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant has changed and modernized with the times. Since 1984 Bob Jr. and Sheri Heilman have overseen the daily operations. Sheri runs the place like the captain of the ship with the standards of the highest level. The crew or staff are highly professional and are experts at their crafts. As the fourth generation of family restaurateurs, Bobby Heilman has taken on responsibilities including full Sommelier training. That’s like a Ph.D. in fine wine as well as food pairings. The great tradition of excellent food and service remain well intact. The future is well spoken.
Expansion took place in the 90’s with a modern vision, arguably, a vanguard of things to come.
Bobby’s Bistro and Wine Bar was added adjacent in 1994 and features four distinct dining or wine rooms. Bistro’s by nature are servers of simpler fare and are places to go for wines or beers. Brewpubs, gastropubs and several other iterations of quality food paired with good drink took off after this establishment was conceived. It’s what’s hip. It’s a great place to hang out. Delicious food and perfect drinks with friends is the simple approach. No one does it better than Bobby’s. It’s where the cool kids go. I may see you there!
Take away: The relaxed atmosphere and intimate setting are conducive to a night out with pals. Plus, It’s at the beach and people are having fun and enjoying themselves!
The Bistro is located just behind Beachcombers off Mandalay Ave, one of the main drags of Clearwater Beach. They have a significant wine list featuring great vintages from the world over. The variety for the connoisseur is a treat, for the novice a learning experience, the wine cellar stocks around 20000 bottles. Be prepared to learn a thing or two about wine.
Example: What are you supposed to do when you are handed a cork in a fine establishment?
Answer: Look at it if you want to make sure it is the bottle you ordered as the cork is likely stamped. Check it if either dry and crumbly or wet and stained all the way up. There is no need to sniff it! The suave thing is to just glance at then ignore the cork and say “thank-you” if it was presented to you.
Included in the cellar are selections of wine from Heilman’s very own vineyard in Willamette Valley in Oregon. FoxyRock Estate wine is a world-class Pinot Noir and is available in both restaurants. Passion drives action. The opportunity to grow the best grapes to make the best wine came up and they just did it. The wine is great.
A big push for a better future.
Through Sheri Heilman’s spearheading movement they became the first “Ocean Friendly Business” in Clearwater. Now others learn how to make positive changes with her help. She as led the movement to make Clearwater Beach the most ocean-friendly beach on earth. There is now a number of other restaurant groups and businesses in the community that are taking steps to ensure our future is brighter and free from the dangers of our modern human liter proliferation. Beachcomber and Bobby’s Bistro only allow biodegradable to-go products, no straws, plastic forks, styrofoam or environment hazards. Sheri’s passion to make her restaurant and the world a better place is remarkable.
Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant and Bobby’s Bistro and Wine Bar are two of the finest of their class on Clearwater Beach or Pinellas County or beyond for that matter.
Like family, they are always willing to fix you a great meal. They are open 365 days a year for their friends and patrons. Of course, the folks that work holidays want to be there. Those days are always special. The thought is ” When you can’t be with your family, come and have a great meal with ours.” Hours are from 11:30 AM until 10 pm.
Here is to family tradition and history that runs as rich as a fine wine… It just keeps getting better with age! Lift your glass, “Here’s to another 70 years!”
Note: We were not paid for this review.
Click here for Menu at Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant.
Click here for Menu at Bobby’s Bistro and Wine Bar.