With the Flyers and Sixers in a serious funk and the Eagles hobbled by injuries, the Phillies give Delaware Valley sports fans the best hope for the next championship parade down Broad Street. Pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training in Clearwater, Florida in mid-February 2010.
Many of the Phillies faithful travel every March to Clearwater, where the Phillies have readied for every regular season since 1948. There are multiple daily nonstop flights from Philadelphia to Tampa, the city with the closest major airport to Clearwater about 40 miles to the east. Home games are played at Bright House Networks Field, which opened in 2004. The Phillies’ Grapefruit League games begin on March 4, 2010 with a contest against the New York Yankees, whose Spring Training home is in Tampa.
Lots of gluten-free dining options exist in Clearwater and surrounding cities. In Clearwater and Tampa, there are familiar standbys such as Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden. In those towns, gluten-free menus also can be found at Columbia Restaurant, a Latin spot, Smokey Bones Bar and Fire Grill, a barbeque joint, and breakfast and lunch eatery First Watch. Also in Clearwater is Peter Gillham’s Nutrition Center, which has a café that serves gluten-free pizza.
In Tampa, you’ll find recognizable gluten-free-friendly places like The Capital Grille, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, LongHorn Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner. There’s gluten-free pizza at Boston’s, seafood at Mitchell’s Fish Market, Southern cuisine at Lee Roy Selmon’s, Asian-American at Kona Grill, barbeque at Shane’s Rib Shack, surf and turf at Stonewood Grill & Tavern and baked goods, sandwiches and salads at Viitals.
About five miles north of Clearwater is the town of Dunedin, the Spring Training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. A new organic gluten-free restaurant called Serendipity Café, serving pizza, pasta, sandwiches, wraps and sweets, is set to open there this month. Meanwhile, you can order gluten-free pasta at Joseph's Little Italy.