Professional clowns Jim and Bonnie Parr of St. Pete make up the "Fun Finders," one of five teams participating in the Rand McNally/USA Today "Best of the Road" rally. During this venture, the Fun Finder's are to consider six small towns for the category of "Best For Food", of which our own Gulfport is in the running.
Gulfport received its visit from the judges on Sunday throughout July 4th. The couple was escorted to the participating restaurants in pursuit of delicious dishes and noteworthy hospitality while locals enjoyed the holiday's festivities. See their journey here.
With judging in Addison, W. Va. and Gulfport, Fla., crossed off the "to-do" list, the Fun Finders are headed to sample fares in Lafayette, La.; Burnsville, Minn.; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Visalia, Calif., before wrapping things up at an event in Los Angeles on July 15, at which time the Road Rally teams will announce the winners in the "Best For Food" category, as well as small towns in other categories including "Most Patriotic," "Most Friendliest," "Most Beautiful," and "Most Fun."
Though the excitement of the contest has since passed through our region, you still have the chance to get in on some good eats. To celebrate Gulfport's nomination as a finalist, fifteen Gulfport restaurants are providing the public with their own individual "Best of the Road" sampler plates, offering tastes of their signature dishes in one serving from June 23 - July 23.
The restaurants include: Backfin Blue Café, Habana Café, Isabelle’s at Peninsula Inn & Spa, Island Flavors and 'Tings, La Cote Basque Winehouse, O'Maddy's Bar and Grille, Peg's Cantina & Brew Pub, Neptune Grill, Pia’s Trattoria, Smokin’ J’s BBQ, Stella's Deli, T & Me Tea Co., Tangelo’s Grille, Village Pub and Yummy’s Casual Café.