There aren’t a lot of restaurants that fall under the heading of “mom-&-pop” anymore, but Sam’s Fresh Seafood is quintessentially just that. Sam Hart fishes everyday and his wife, Phyllis, cooks and bakes.

They met in junior high, married just out of high school and have owned Sam’s Fresh Seafood restaurant for over thirty years, thirteen at the current location. The entry to the restaurant looks more like a fish store, with a large glass refrigerator case filled with fresh stone crabs. This is why we’re sending you there. Sam goes out fishing for stone crabs every day. They are divinely sweet, meaty and cooked just right.

How To Tell Freshness

On most days, you can find Sam sitting in the restaurant’s back corner, beneath the overhanging television set and he’s more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the scrumptious crabs. He told us that if the meat comes off the shell easily, it’s fresh. If it sticks, they’ve been frozen.

Local Seafood, Local Fisherman

Sam started catching local seafood when he was five years old, standing on a 5-gallon bucket to make up for his lack of height. Both his dad and his uncle were fisherman, so he decided to go into the family business. In 1982, he and Phyllis opened a fresh seafood market in Dunedin, eventually opening up their current restaurant.

What’s kept him fishing professionally for the past 27 years? He says it’s his love of the water, the freedom and seeing something new everyday.

Old School, Florida Style

While Sam may like to see new things everyday, his restaurant is definitely old school. It’s got a Key West seafood shack feel, with wall-mounted fish, jaw bones and ceiling fans. Waitresses wear Sam’s t-shirts that read: Got Mullet? Which was the fish Sam used to catch in the early days. No need to dress up to go to Sam’s. In fact, stone crabs can squirt some unwanted messiness, so leave the finery at home. We also recommend the peel-n-eat shrimp. They come from Florida’s east coast, are very fresh and seasoned with a tad of spice. The smoked fish dip is a good way to start the meal and Phyllis’ homemade Key Lime pie or peach cobbler is a nice way to end your meal.

LIke a true mom-&-pop joint, Sam’s is folksy. Just what you’d expect from a guy who married his Junior High sweetheart and still lives in the same house he grew up in.

For more facts about stone crabs, click here.


Tampa Bay Area - FL

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.



Tampa Bay Area


900 Broadway Street

Dunedin, FL 34698

T: 727.736.1179


Tue - Thu: 11am - 9pm

Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm

Sun: 8am - 2pm

Mon: closed



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