If you are traveling to Clearwater Beach, you’ll soon begin to see the name “Frenchy’s” everywhere! Clearwater Beach is a small island, but Frenchy has businesses in several different industries operating on the island.
Who is Frenchy?
Despite seeing “Frenchy’s” signs all around the Clearwater Beach, Florida area; he isn’t originally from the area! Michael Preston (“Frenchy”) was born in Canada and grew up speaking both French and English. Michael and his family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where he quickly received the nickname “Frenchy” from his new friends.
Frenchy first stepped foot on Clearwater Beach for a vacation shortly after high school. He loved the beautiful area and warm weather and quickly decided not to leave. Frenchy began working at a local Clearwater Beach restaurant as a dishwasher. Over the next several years, he learned the ins and outs of every part of operating a restaurant. Soon, he would be opening his own restaurant.
Frenchy’s Original Cafe
In 1981, Frenchy opened his first restaurant – Frenchy’s Cafe (now called Frenchy’s Original Cafe). Located at 41 Baymont Street on Clearwater Beach, Frenchy’s Original Cafe is still open today and known for the exact same thing that made them popular in 1981: Friendly atmosphere, cold drinks, and fresh seafood – specifically the grouper sandwich. The restaurant quickly became popular enough to have lines out the door and struggled to find a large enough local seafood provider to keep their kitchen full. Needing more local fresh fish and seeing a growing demand for fresh fish in the Clearwater Beach area, Frenchy started another business on Clearwater Beach.
Frenchy’s Seafood Company
Frenchy bought his first fishing boat in 1983 and opened Frenchy’s Seafood Company. The focus was to supply continuously, fresh and high-quality seafood to his restaurant and other restaurants in the Clearwater Beach area. As the desire for fresh local seafood increased, he purchased more fishing boats and grew his fleet. The fish are line caught, then weighed, cut and prepared on Clearwater Beach docks. The fresh fish is delivered to local restaurants, including Frenchy’s restaurants, every day.
Frenchy’s Continued Growth
Frenchy has a love for restaurants and Clearwater Beach, so he kept opening restaurants on Clearwater Beach. He opened Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe, located on 419 Poinsettia Avenue on Clearwater Beach in 1989. In 1991 he opened the very popular, beachfront Frenchy’s Rockaway Grille. In 2003, Frenchy expanded south of the circle on Clearwater Beach and opened Frenchy’s South Beach.
After opening his fourth restaurant on Clearwater Beach, he took a break from restaurants and purchased the Olympia Motel on Clearwater Beach. After strong renovations, Frenchy opened a retro 60’s style beach motel featuring 15 units with waterfront views of the intercoastal. The retro hotel was named Frenchy’s Oasis Motel and opened in 2010.
In 2013, Frenchy expanded his name off the island. He opened Frenchy’s Outpost Bar & Grill. “Frenchy’s Outpost Bar & Grill is an open-air Key West Style restaurant situated near the causeway to beautiful Honeymoon Island in Dunedin.”
If you’re in the Clearwater Beach area, be sure to grab lunch or dinner at one of Frenchy’s restaurants. My personal favorite is Frenchy’s Original Cafe. I love their buffalo shrimp and the original grouper sandwich and it’s only blocks from Surfside Condominiums and The Villas of Clearwater Beach.
If I catch a late flight to Clearwater Beach, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grille is one of my favorite late-night eats on Clearwater Beach. Not only is it a very short walk from Surfside Condos and The Villas of Clearwater Beach – but a great way to get there is a quick and beautiful walk on the beach!
What’s your favorite of Frenchy’s restaurant?