Best Of 2008

BEST CHEAP EATS THAT ARE NOW LESS CHEAP: Grillside Central

Shrimp and Grits at Grillside Central.

The first in a series of restaurants slated for downtown St. Pete from seasoned corporate chef Craig “Chappy” Chapman, Grillside Central wowed us with its simple formula of cheap Southern cooking from early morning to late at night. Well, the food’s still good, but it’s not quite as cheap. Months after opening, the incredible shrimp and grits jumped from $7 to $10, burgers inched up a buck and many other items were similarly hiked. CL has no problems with businesses making the tough calls needed to stay afloat in these difficult times, but it may result in fewer visits to a place that could have been a three-times-a-day dining room for many regular, non-cooking Pinellas folk who want good food. Maybe we’ll drink a coffee breakfast from now on, skipping the chipped beef gravy to save the extra dollars for Grillside’s shrimp and grits. No way we’re giving that up, no matter the price. 437 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-820-9200