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Village Inn Finds New Home on Gulf to Bay

The longtime Clearwater restaurant opened last week a mile down the street from its old location with a new look but the same menu.

Although the Village Inn restaurant had been in the same location on for 31 years, people always seemed to miss it, according to owner Jim Walker

Despite being located on the major thoroughfare that connects Clearwater with Tampa, motorists would pass by hundreds of times without really noticing the place, he said. 

That lack of recognition caused Walker and his brother, Paul, to move their eatery one mile down the road, to the opposite side U.S. 19, where new developments and businesses are springing up and patrons are flowing in. 

“We had been down the street for 31 years, but when the lease was up, we started looking for a bigger space closer to where all the action is,” Jim Walker explained. “We hope to keep our current guests while introducing ourselves to the many businesses and people in this area.” 

New Restaurant Features Upgrades

With the move came a change of style for the restaurant known not only for its famous pies and home-style meals, but also its drab, dated décor. 

A refresh of the interior, complete with flat screen TVs, comfortable furniture and an appealing color scheme, brought the restaurant into the 21st century, a move that is planned for many of the franchise’s more than 200 nationwide locations, according to Walker. 

The Walkers, who own 10 Village Inns, including five in Hillsborough County, also added new fixtures, painted the exterior, added new signage and dropped the ceiling in the dining room, creating a more cozy and inviting atmosphere. 

“We pretty much gave the place a big facelift,” Walker said of the building, which has been home to a number of diners, clubs and restaurants over the years. “It’s kind of modern retro, like a '50s diner with a modern look.” 

Customers Embracing the Changes

So far, the reception to the relocation and the changes has been extremely positive, Walker said. 

In addition to keeping much of the existing customer base, many new diners are checking the place out for the first time thanks to its new, highly visible location. 

“I had never been to a Village Inn before. I always thought they were kind of dumpy,” Largo resident Beth McCarthy confessed after finishing lunch with her girlfriends. “But the food was good, the service was wonderful, and the prices were great, too. I’ll definitely come back.”

Village Inn

Address: 2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd. 

Phone: 727-796-4988

Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 24 hours Friday-Saturday

jimmy a June 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM
We went to the gulf to bay village inn a few times over the years and it was always "horrible, Sorry Mr. Walker, but hopefully your new location also comes with new tasting food. Hopefully... That is everything with out good tasting food You have nothing Lots of luck!
BKL June 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I loved loved loved Route 60 Diner that was there recently!! So very sad they colsed down. Had the most wonderful food, clean, fresh fruit, more eclectic, classy waiters and waitresses.. :( Fine dining at a so reasonable price.
Cate Colgan June 22, 2012 at 05:02 PM
So great to be in our new location ! Come by and see us! I'm Cate pictured in one of the photos above holding a slice of our Coconut Cream Pie ! Although Triple Berry is my favorite! What YOUR favorite pie? :)
Cate Colgan June 22, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Hi Jimmy - look forward to having you come by and giving us another chance - think you'll be pleasantly surprised on the quality/taste of our food :) Message me and let me know what time/day might be convenient for You to visit us! I look forward to meeting/serving You :) Cate
Kathy Smith September 09, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Mr. Walker, best of luck in your new location. I have vsited the old location many many times. I always found the staff to be very friendly and the food was always more then you could eat. I have sent lots of people to the old location in my job at Target when they asked for a nice place to eat. I will be in soon to try the new resturant. I will continue to recommend your resturant to people who want somewhere nice to eat. Best of luck

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