Owner: Dave Coover
10925 Gulf Blvd. | Treasure Island, 33706
The Tradition Continues
When Dave Coover moved his family to Treasure Island in the 1960s, he didn’t know he was laying the foundation for a tradition that would last more than 40 years.
That tradition started in 1973, as Robby’s Pancake House.
“We had a family recipe for pancakes,” explains Dave’s son, Dan. People liked the family recipe so well that it wasn’t long before Robby’s Pancake House was serving up breakfast to an ever-growing clientele. It became a regular meeting place for groups small and large. Always interested in helping his community, Dave often put Robby’s Pancake House to work for fund-raising pancake breakfasts for a variety of local charities. Robby’s became a go-to for tourists, who came back for breakfast year after year, vacation after vacation.
Robby’s Pancake House became a local landmark, and directions were given in terms of how many blocks north or south of Robby’s other establishments were located. From the beginning, Dave made sure Robby’s was “tapped in” to the community, joining the then-Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce, and continuing membership today in the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber.
It’s said that “nothing stays the same, save change,” and by 2005, Dave knew it was time for Robby’s to prove the rule. “My dad wanted to go more ‘upscale,’” says Dan, so Dave got to work transforming his popular pancake house into a fine dining destination. Middle Grounds Grill opened its doors on August 19, 2006, and quickly became just as popular as its homespun predecessor.
The name of the restaurant was inspired by the “middle grounds,” a prime angling spot located about 100 miles off the Treasure Island coast. The middle grounds have long supplied fishermen with an abundant supply of quality fish, and Middle Grounds Grill pays homage to that tradition.
In addition to the freshest, tastiest seafood, Middle Grounds Grill also serves up signature soups and salads, pasta dishes, and Black Angus steaks. Early dinner service is from 4:30 p.m. till 5:30 p.m., and the restaurant accommodates intimate gatherings as well as banquets. Families are pleased to see a well-designed kids’ menu, too.
Middle Grounds Grill hasn’t lost sight of its beginnings, says Dan. “Our dessert menu includes Robby’s Famous Pancake Berry Stack,” a delightful confection that includes fresh blueberries and strawberries, drizzled with a berry coulis and topped with whipped cream.
Dave’s tradition of caring for his community continues, too: Middle Grounds Grill regularly donates gift certificates to charities on the Gulf Beaches and in downtown St. Petersburg, and provides the cooks and recipes for fund-raising pancake breakfasts several times a year.
Dan says Middle Grounds Grill supports about 85 employees, many of whom have been with the restaurant from the beginning. During our busy tourist season, Middle Grounds Grill serves up more than 400 dinners a night. Open seven days a week (the restaurant only closes on New Year’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Labor Day, and Christmas Day), there’s plenty of time for you to stop by and see what the buzz is all about.