Port Charlotte eatery set up for success following Spring Training

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

Business is booming at the Twisted Fork in Port Charlotte.

This is the way it is in March when the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans come to town for Spring Training.

“We will definitely beat last March,” said Bert Parsley, Twisted Fork owner. “This month will probably be our record month of all time, actually, for four years.”

Bert Parsley opened the restaurant and concert venue right behind Charlotte Sports Park in 2020.

Being in the team’s backyard makes for packed pre and post-game festivities.

“Oh, yeah, they can hear us. We’ve had comments of people coming over and going, ‘Hey, I heard the music, and that’s what drew us here,’ so they can hear it from the stadium, which is cool. We’re that close.”

Parsley and every other business that depends on the Rays every March for revenue took a hit in 2023.

Hurricane Ian did a number on Charlotte Sports Park, forcing the Rays to find a different place to play.

“I’m proud of Charlotte County and what they did to rush the repairs to the stadium and get it all done in time for this season.”

The team came back this spring and so did their fans. Clearly, they enjoyed each other, and Parsley enjoyed getting to know them.

“It brings a crowd that we don’t see all the time, which I enjoy. You see a bunch of unfamiliar faces that you get to meet and talk to, so that’s pretty cool.”

The Rays are back in St. Petersburg and so are their fans.

So business will slow down and go back to normal, but Parsley said thanks to those four weeks of baseball, the Twisted Fork is good to go for its regulars for the rest of the year.

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