Grouper Week 2016 Kicks Off With 'Food Truck Takeover'

Monday, June 27, 2016 - 12:00pm

St. Pete/Clearwater (June 27, 2016) - Grouper Week in St. Pete/Clearwater has taken on new life this year, featuring a food truck serving up free samples of the tasty local favorite throughout the destination, brand new social-style recipe demo videos and a new promo video voiced by actor Gary "Grouper" Busey.

For the second straight year, St. Pete/Clearwater is celebrating being the Grouper Capital of the World while the rest of the country takes in Discovery Channel's annual celebration of a different denizen of the deep.

From an impressive array of grouper dishes at area restaurants to fishing charters that let you catch your own to a selection of original grouper recipes from Florida's top chefs, Grouper Week has something for every seafood lover around.

The culinary promotion, which touts the flaky, white local favorite fish through July 3, is an evolution of the more traditional "Restaurant Week" concepts found in destinations around the world.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, of the 7.5 million pounds of grouper caught in Florida last year, 4.6 million pounds landed right here in the St. Pete/Clearwater area.

"Rather than highlighting a wide range of dishes during a generic restaurant week, we wanted to focus on what makes our culinary scene unique," said Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Executive Director David Downing. "And what better way to do that than passing out free grouper samples to our locals and visitors."

To kickoff the celebration, the Grouper Week food truck will be at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach starting at 10 a.m. today. Throughout the week, the food truck has plans to hit other local landmarks like Clearwater Marine Aquarium, The Dali Museum and a Rays baseball game.

Helping cook along the way will be the state's own chef, Justin Timineri, from the Florida Department of Agriculture.

"Grouper is a great example of the incredible bounty of high-quality seafood we have here in Florida," said Timineri, who is the only state-appointed chef in the country. "Not only is our Gulf seafood a truly authentic local offering for visitors, but it's a major economic driver for Floridians as well."

After last year's Grouper Week video netted more than 1 million views across platforms, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater created a new promotional spot that highlights many different grouper dishes and aspects of the destination, while featuring Busey voiceovers. New this year are social-style recipe demo videos showing users how to make Frenchy's famous grouper sandwich, RumFish Grill's Asian grouper tacos and FarmTable Kitchen's pan seared black grouper.

 A dedicated landing page, GrouperWeek.com, hosts a variety of offerings, including a list of Grouper dishes, recipes and links to related videos and images. The features for just about every palette range from crab crusted grouper in Dunedin to grouper picatta in Tarpon Springs and grouper tabbouleh in Madeira Beach.

Media is welcome to the Grouper Week food truck's stops, starting at 10 a.m. today at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. For more information, contact VSPC Media & Interactive Director Leroy Bridges at 727-421-7432.