Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish (1350 Pasadena Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707 — 727-381-7931; map) has been in operation for over 50 years. It’s a place locals love. I suppose there is the occasional tourist who wants something more high-falutin’ than this, but 99.99% of all the locals I know—and most tourists–dream about the food at Ted Peters. It’s rustic and it’s real. It’s the Florida I remember as a grade school kid visiting from Illinois. My parents would pack us in a 1950s Buick with no air-conditioning. We’d head down for our summer road trips to Mississippi and Florida. FLORIDA!… paradise for any Yankee.
Ted Peters has a very short menu. My personal favorites are the potato salad, fish spread, and the smoked mullet and smoked mackerel (when it’s in season). They also have smoked salmon. Many people swear by their cheeseburgers. I keep meaning to try one…but every time the smoked fish calls to me too loudly. That’s only the lunch sized portion of mullet pictured above; the complete dinner portion is considerably more. Their iced tea is freshly brewed and really helps one cope with August-in-Florida heat and humidity; that’s also true for their root beer in a frosty mug.
You can eat indoors or outdoors. They’re closed on Tuesdays and only take cash (this is not an uncommon practice in many local restaurants in St. Pete). It’s a very casual place, so no need to dress up at all.
The fish are red oak smoked (red oak is a Florida wood) right there on the property (the picture above is of the smoke house). If you’re an angler, they’ll smoke your fish for you for $1 a pound. Ted’s is in a part of St. Pete that’s technically South Pasadena, an area very near the water but before you get to the actual beaches. Fishermen are not uncommon at Ted’s. Same for bikers. Same for families. Same for everyone who loves “old Florida” charm and comfort food.
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