Leverock's Great Seafood

Leverock's Serves the Community

by Donna Winchester

Since 1948, Leverock's has been providing quality, value, and service. Our dining room is casual, so come as you are. We are located just off of St. Pete Beach in the South Pasadena area of St. Petersburg, Florida. See you soon!

Leverock's also has been closely affiliated with the Taste of Pinellas. For many years, employees of the seafood houses and the Leverock's Steakhouse have staffed food booths at this event to raise money for All Children's Hospital. Leverock's support at this year's Taste was part of a $200,000 contribution to the hospital. Leverock's has participated in the All Children's Hospital Telethon as well, donating dinner certificates for two to the telethon auction. Beachfest, a fund-raiser for terminally ill children, has been a high priority for Leverock's over the years. This annual event is sponsored by area businesses and contributes money to the Children's Dream Fund.

Leverock's has also been instrumental in organizing area blood drives on a regular basis. Both employee and guest drives have been held to benefit Community Regional Blood Center and Hunter Blood Center. The annual event to benefit the combined efforts of Florida Blood Service will take place this year in August and September.

Thanksgiving has provided Leverock's with the opportunity to help needy families for many years. Employees have given generously of their time to shop for food and prepare baskets for area residents. Thousands of dollars of food have been distributed over the years to families who otherwise would have had no Thanksgiving dinners.


September 6, 1962, Capt. George Michael (center), Evening Independent fishing writer, displays plaque awarded him by Florida sheriffs for his work in helping promote the Sheriff's Boys Ranch at Live Oak.

Pinellas County Sheriff Don Genung (left) made the presentation at Johnny Leverock's restaurant in St. Petersburg.

Johnny Leverock, also a Boys Ranch booster, is at right.


March 7, 2015, Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch President Bill Frye & Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri presented George Lewis, owner of Leverock's Seafood House, with the Youth Ranches "Gold Star Award".

When Leverock's opened their Pasadena Ave. location 8 years ago, Lewis contacted the Youth Ranch & let them know that Leverock's would like to continue the annual Fish Fry fundraiser at this location.

In the past, Leverock's founder Johnny Leverock had hosted the Fish Fry at the original location in Pinellas Park. It is an annual event in our community. Sheriffs and Politicians from all over the Tampa Bay Area & beyond attend the event which typically serves 750-850 meals in an old fashioned outdoor tent setting. Since its inception, the Annual Fish Fry has raised more than $100,000.00 for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch.

The Legend of Johnny Leverock


Johnny Leverock was born in Saba, Dutch West Indies. As a cabin boy at the age of 10, he left on a sailing ship and headed for the US. He served in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. Before WWII, he was an aviator in the flying circus. By the end of the conflict, he was commissioned as a Commander in the Merchant Marines, internationally licensed to command any ship in the world.

As the story goes, Johnny won a 7-acre Tampa Bay oyster bed in a game of poker. He began to cultivate oysters and soon needed an outlet for his annual 15,000-bushel harvest. In 1948, he opened Johnny Leverock's Oyster Bar in Pinellas Park, Florida. The restaurant soon flourished and became the gathering place for public figures, visitors, and locals alike.

Johnny's wife, Bertha, developed special recipes for fresh grouper and other Gulf delicacies. Her famous clam chowder, peanut butter pie, and key lime pie recipes are still being served at Leverock's today.

Leverock's Plays Its Cards Right

by Peter Holliday

The Longboat Key Times - June 17, 1992

It was a young, lean Johnny Leverock who sat at the high stakes poker game in the back room of his Pinellas Park gas station. The room was filled with smoke as the players slurped their warm beers and watered whiskey.

The game included some celebrities from the local political community who must remain unnamed. Most notable of these was the mayor of a nearby small town - he was a regular in the game, and usually won a small amount or broke even. The mayor was a cautious better who played the odds; he would never pay to see your hole card unless he had a statistical advantage of beating you. Tonight he was losing heavily to a new man in the game.

This new player was an oyster fisherman from Apalachicola who had been enjoying a run of good luck. The three other players in the game had also been hit hard by the new guy. It was late, and most were ready to cut their losses and call it a night. Only the mayor, Johnny, and the oysterman waited to play out the last hand.

It was five-card stud, and the mayor was holding a possible heart flush with one card to go. He had counted only one other heart played, and guessed that between six and eight hearts were left among the 30 cards remaining in the deck. Those were fair odds, but Johnny and the oysterman were showing disturbingly good poker hands.

Johnny’s pair of tens was obvious. His other up card was an ace. What the mayor and the oysterman couldn’t see was the third ten that Johnny held in the hole – that gave him three tens and an ace. Even though he suspected that the mayor had the fourth heart of his flush, Johnny’s ten in the hole was the ten of hearts. That meant the chance of the mayor’s flush hitting on the final card was less than even the mayor knew. Further reducing that likelihood was Johnny’s observation of a flash of red from the bottom of the deck, seen while the mayor dealt the last round of cards. It wasn’t cheating to know a heart was on the bottom of the deck; it was just good poker.

The oysterman was showing two sevens and a king, but he was betting like a maniac. He’d raise anyone’s bet. Quite a big pot was building up in the middle of this blanket-covered table. The oysterman’s down card was another seven, making his hand a powerful three of a kind. He wrongly suspected that Johnny didn’t have the third ten in his hand; he assumed Johnny might have another ace and was, at most, looking at two pair.

The last cards were dealt. Johnny hit the ace of diamonds to give him a full house, tens over aces. The mayor received the three of hearts, giving him a solid king-high flush that is a winner in most five-card stud games. So much for his poker face. The oysterman hit a king of clubs and began reaching for his pile of chips as soon as the card hit. He, too, had a full house, but his three-of-a-kind was sevens and Johnny Leverock’s was tens.

The betting began. The Oysterman wagered everything he had. The mayor, smelling a full house, dropped out. Johnny covered the oysterman’s bet and raised him a thousand. The mayor became very glad he had dropped.

The oysterman had nothing with which to call Johnny’s raise, so he put up his oyster beds in Tampa Bay. And that was fine because Johnny Leverock had always wanted to convert that old gas station into an oyster bar.

The rest is history.

The Modern Era of Leverock's


George Lewis, John Stross, and Chip Phillips work together at The St. Pete Fish House, a popular seafood restaurant in South Pasadena, FL. Located at 1080 Pasadena Ave S., it is now the Rally gas station.


The team is hired by the Leverock family to run the original store in Pinellas Park, FL. John Stross negotiates a one-year option to buy the restaurant. With new management and marketing in place, the sales double that year.


John Stross brings in financial partner Dick Tappan to help with the purchase from the Leverock family.


The team opens a second location located in the booming Countryside area of Clearwater on U.S. 19. Richard Chandler joins the management team.


Leverock's on St. Pete Beach opens on Corey Ave.


Leverock's at Maximo Moorings opens.


Leverock's on the Bay in Madeira Beach opens.


Richard Chandler, Dick Tappan, John Stross, Chip Phillips, and George Lewis form a partnership agreement to own and operate all of the Leverock's restaurants together.


Leverock's Waterfront Steakhouse opens in Bay Pines, FL.


Leverock's of Tierra Verde opens in the Tierra Verde Resort, featuring a 500 seat banquet area, concert hall, and CoCoMo's Pool Bar.


Leverock's in Clearwater Beach opens. This is the highest-grossing of them all.


Leverock's Perico Island opens in Bradenton, FL.


Leverock's New Port Richey opens on U.S. 19.


Leverock's Marietta opens in the Atlanta, GA market.


Leverock's Lakeland opens on Lake Parker, the site of the first Red Lobster opened in the world, at 1330 E. Memorial Blvd. As a tribute to the history, the original plaque from the Red Lobster is kept on the building.


Leverock's at Palm Island Resort opens in Cape Haze, FL.


Leverock's Jacksonville opens in the Tinsel Town area.


Leverock's Sarasota opens on Fruitville Road.


The Leverock's partners sell the company to Gold Coast Restaurants, Inc.


Leverock's Fort Myers Beach opens on San Carlos Boulevard.


Leverock's Ellenton opens on the Manatee River.


Gold Coast Restaurants shuts down operations.


George Lewis and John Stross reacquire the rights to the Leverock brand and open a new store at 840 Pasadena Avenue, just a block away from where their careers started together in 1978.

Leverock's Pinellas Park location - U.S. 19

Leverock's in Christmas Boat Parade

Leverock's Tampa Bay Advertising

Leverock's New Port Richey Location

Leverock's Madeira Beach Location

Leverock's New Port Richey Location

Leverock's Maximo Marina Location

Leverock's Maximo Marina Location

Leverock's Bay Pines Steakhouse Location

Leverock's Corey Avenue - St. Pete Beach Location

Leverock's Perico Harbor - Bradenton Location

Leverock's Perico Harbor - Bradenton Location

The St. Pete Fish House

The St. Pete Fish House