Wildflower Café opened in September 2000. Owners and good friends, Leslie Alfred and Joan Dragon, had talked and dreamed about creating an engaging neighborhood destination that would serve freshly prepared food in a friendly, open air environment. They started small with the existing space and amenities, gradually adding a little here and there over the years – always with integrity – to present a unique and delightfully seasonal menu.
With the loyalty of a terrific customer base, while still in the middle of an uncertain economy, remarkable renovations were completed in 2011 so that many more customers could enjoy the Wildflower Café experience in comfort, year-round. Wildflower Café has been named First Choice for Lunch and Runner-Up for Breakfast in the Tampa Bay Newspaper’s Readers Poll. TripAdvisor.com readers have ranked Wildflower Café #2 out of all the restaurants in Clearwater and the readers of Yelp.com have also ranked Wildflower Café with 4 ½ out of 5 stars.
Leslie Alfred grew up in Westchester County, where she delighted in meadow, marsh, brook, pond, deep woods, and family. Her grandmother learned to drive so that she could take her many children from Stamford to Pound Ridge to view the meadows full of wildflowers. She was introduced to culinary delights in New Orleans, where she attended college.
She owned the Red Roe Restaurant which typified Old Florida dining. There, her bent for “making a place for things to happen” took root. For ten years, The Red Roe held two annual festivals, the Environmental Awareness Festival each Spring, and the Stone Crab Festival each Autumn. In these, the themes of our responsibility to the earth and sharing in His bounty prevailed. The variety of other Red Roe events included: weddings, art shows, poetry slams, story time with Santa, a Save the Everglades rally, and last, but not least, music.
She is proudest of the achievement of a group effort which, successfully, fought to preserve Travatine Island.
Leslie has a son, Peter, both a commercial and sports fishing captain. And a daughter, Luisa, who is a Speech Therapist. Her husband, Steve, is our Wildflower builder and a musician. She loves being a grandmother.
Joan Dragon is a Jersey girl at heart with a passion for food and for music. Joan owned and operated the Black Cat Gourmet Deli and Catering as well as the Black Cat Café for 12 years. Before that she spent many years in the music business, playing jazz banjo from New York, to Boston, to Disneyland in California and ultimately Florida .There are loads of musical highlights over the years in clubs, TV appearances and concerts, but Carnegie Hall for Your Father’s Mustache 50th reunion is right up there at the top of the list.
The years of involvement with the Black Cat and the Wildflower Café are an extension of entertaining and making people happy as well as a fulfillment of a life-long dream of having her own bakery/restaurant.
May all your weeds be wildflowers – Leslie Alfred & Joan Dragon