Hookin’ Ain’t Easy Is Making Waves in the Seafood Scene in St. Pete

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Hookin’ Ain’t Easy Is Making Waves in the Seafood Scene in St. Pete

Hookin’ Ain’t Easy definitely deserves your attention while they’re making spectacular waves in the seafood scene in St. Pete. The cafe is the perfect spot for a laid back and delightful seafood meal while soaking up the sun and live music. Or, visit their market for an array of fresh seafood from grouper, shrimp, octopus, and so much more, seriously so much. No matter how you like your seafood, Hookin’ Ain’t Easy is one of the best seafood restaurants in St. Pete that will soon reel you in.

The ambiance is relaxed and friendly neighborhood-like as you order from a food truck and listen to live music either on a picnic table or at the tiki bar. Matthew, the owner is passionate, friendly and welcoming. Also he’s hilarious as he was showing me around and telling me that he catches the majority of the seafood on the menu and knows where everything comes from, he called himself a “busy hooker”. His words, not mine, but nonetheless, hilarious.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Dining and Order
Outdoor Dining and Food Truck
Hookin' Ain't Easy Bar
Tiki Bar

Let’s dive right into the food and what you absolutely must order: Stone Crab Claws (while in season – October 15 through May 1 in 2023). Get cracking and dunk these meaty claws into butter for the best you’ve ever had. We ordered the Claws Only. The other option is the Claw Dinner which comes with fries and coleslaw. The Stone Crab Claws are fresh and caught by the owner, Matthew. In fact, he catches mostly everything on the menu and if it’s not him, he knows the fisherman who did by name. I can’t wait to go back for more.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Stone Crab Claws
Stone Crab Claws

Though Hookin’ Ain’t Easy has only been open for 10 months, locals already know it’s the place to visit for one of the best grouper sandwiches in St. Pete. Served blackened or fried and with a side of fries, you can’t go wrong either way. I ordered it blackened and really loved it but I must say the seasoning was heavy and salty which, if I had ordered a beer or something more refreshing than water, it would have been a solid pairing. You must order the house-made remoulade sauce. It’s tangy, creamy and delicious. The fries were perfection, crispy and salted just right.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Blackened Grouper Sandwich
Blackened Grouper Sandwich

Anything on the menu, including this freshly prepared Smoked Wahoo Fish Dip, is soon to become a favorite. I would recommend ordering it spicy for a nice kick and more flavor. This fish dip is prepared to perfection. It’s probably the freshest fish dip I’ve had in St. Pete for its high quality and obvious hand craftedness. Add some hot sauce for the ultimate bite.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Smoked Wahoo Dip
Smoked Wahoo Dip

Hookin’ Aint Easy is obviously a seafood eatery and this may shock you, but they also have some BBQ on the menu with a smoker on site, house-made BBQ sauce from a family recipe, and more. We tried the Pulled Pork Sandwich and it was massive. I have to admit, we were busy cracking open the Stone Crabs and enjoying the Smoked Wahoo Dip that by the time we were ready to eat the Pulled Pork Sandwich, it had become a little dried out. I bet if we would have started with the Pulled Pork Sandwich, it would have been amazing, but we messed up. It was still great to nibble on and the BBQ sauce really was one to remember. I have also heard great things about the wings which I can’t wait to try.

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Hookin' Ain't Easy Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Sandwich

Before you leave, pop into the market to pick up some seafood to make at home. They have everything you can hope for, and more.

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Hookin' Ain't Easy Market
Hookin’ Ain’t Easy Market
Hookin' Ain't Easy Market
Hookin’ Ain’t Easy Market
Hookin' Ain't Easy Market
Hookin’ Ain’t Easy Market

Like I said before, this is a great local spot for great seafood in a casual setting. They have live music every day they’re open to go with the beachy vibe. Pop in for a meal or to chef it up at home! Either way, you will be surprised at the freshness that Hookin’ Ain’t Easy has to offer.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Live Music
Live Music

Be sure to follow Hookin’ Ain’t Easy on Facebook for day-of specials and catches.

Hookin' Ain't Easy Cafe Entrance
Entrance
Hookin' Ain't Easy
  • Readers Rating
  • Rated 4.8 stars
    4.8 / 5 (40 )
$
  • Your Rating


  • Hookin' Ain't Easy
  • (727) 592-1388
  • Seafood , Seafood Market, BBQ
    • Wed - Sat 11:00am - 7:00pm
    • Sun - Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm
  • 3660 22nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, US

Seafood Market and Cafe in St. Petersburg

DISCLAIMER: Kevin, Lori, Abby, Haley, Lindsey & Mahika do not dine anonymously (this would be impossible) and we sometimes get free food (though never expected). However, we dine with the locals and we support our own. You will always get honesty in a respectful manner. We do not include any large national or regional chains in our ratings and reviews. We focus on independent locally owned eateries exclusively.

PLEASE NOTE: Reviews reflect a certain moment in time. Some restaurants stay extremely consistent over many years, and some change for the better or worse. Some things that may change are: chefs, recipes, food suppliers, ingredients, philosophies, ownership, etc. We always hope that you have the same good, or great experience we had.
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1 Response

  • Definatley our favorite seafood place in St Pete! Matthew is awesome and the beers are always cold . List of craft beers and seltzers, wine and sodas are sure to please. We live in TIerra Verde and love to ride our bikes. Parking can be tight but the church across the street is a option for overflow. A must try for sure!

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