St. Pete Gems: Ted Peters, serving famous smoked fish since 1951

Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish in St. Petersburg is a local foodie icon — and it even received a full feature on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The no frills smoked fish joint first opened in 1951. Know before you go: the restaurant is cash only.

Located at 1350 Pasadena Avenue South, this family-owned business can still somehow feel like a hidden in the Sunshine City.

The story of Teds is brimming with world and Florida history.

A dream that began in the 1940s

It was 1945, WWII was over and America was on the move and it was no different for Ted Peters and his family. “He got into the fish business with his stepbrother, “Red Hot” who had come from upstate New York in 1931,” the owners note on the Ted Peter’s history page.

While working at the Fisherman’s Co-Op at Madeira Beach FL, Ted Observed the fish smoking process where most were smoking in the woods or in the back yard. Ted said, “Put it out there where people can see that thing.” So he salvaged an old smoker and put it out on Blind Pass road in front of the Blue Anchor.

Ted would run out and open the smoker so that people driving by could see and smell the fish spread out on the smoking trays at his very first restaurant.

He knew that just as the sun and sand drew tourists to Saint Petersburg Beach, the smell of his fish smoking would bring customers to his restaurant.

 

In 1951 the “Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish” restaurant was up and running at it’s current location. Ted was joined by his half brother Elry Lathrop as a partner in the day to day operations.

“Tilla Lathrop “Mom” was a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen and is the creator of the German potato salad,” according to Ted Peters website.

The best fish spread in Florida

Ellen Peters came up with the recipe for the Fish Spread. Betty Lathrop helped out too. When they all retired, the current owners, Mike Lathrop (Elry’s Son) and Ted Cook (Ted PetersTa grandson) were in place to take over having worked there at the restaurant since high school. Ben cook (Ted Peters Great Grandson) is now smoking the fish.

Have you visited this St. Pete icon? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.