Beloved Clearwater restaurant, Cafe Ponte, closes for good

Photo of gourmet doughnuts

Cafe Ponte is a staple in the Tampa Bay dining community. The restaurant originally opened in 2002 and has acted as a catalyst in the emergence of our current culinary boom. The Tampa Bay Times reported this morning, May 13, that the restaurant has closed for good.

In March the restaurant had announced it would close for the foreseeable future.

What makes Cafe Ponte so special?

The obvious answer is the damn fine food. They were whipping up gourmet doughnuts before it was cool. Zagat-rated, and highly regarded amongst local critics, this New York-style cafe features an open-kitchen that allows guests to watch the team of chefs design each dish.

Cafe Ponte doughnuts

Have a sweet Sunday! 🍩Enjoy our signature doughnuts served with coffee pot de crème and a decadent dark caramel sauce.

Posted by Cafe Ponte on Sunday, December 23, 2018

Cafe Ponte offers Contemporary American Cuisine with French, Asian, and Italian influences. Chilean Sea Bass Miso Marinated and Filet Mignon are signature favorites.

Chef Christopher Pont began his culinary career at Clearwater’s Pepper Mill Restaurant in 1991 after graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Following years abroad and in New York, Ponte found his way to Florida, and in 2002 began a culinary legacy all his own.

What pizza are you having? 🍕See our menu:

Posted by Cafe Ponte on Monday, February 17, 2020

You don’t have to be without the culinary creations of Ponte. He is also the executive chef at On Swann in Hyde Park Village, which is currently open for curbside pickup. The restaurant also opened for limited dine-in.

Did you ever dine at Cafe Ponte? Sharing your memories in the comments!

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

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