New Greek Restaurant to Open in Downtown St. Pete

New Greek Restaurant to Open in Downtown St. Pete

It’s time to don your laurel crown and toga!  The Simple Greek, a new fast-casual greek restaurant, has revealed plans to open in Downtown St. Pete.  

The new eatery will occupy 2,000 square feet on the ground floor of the AER apartment building, which opened in May 2016.  The other 2,700 square feet will soon be home to Tampa Bay’s first Bento Cafe, an asian kitchen and sushi restaurant.

Think of The Simple Greek as Chipotle, but for greek food.  In other words, customers choose between a bowl or a pita and then follow their order down the counter as their meal is built.  After choosing a protein, such as traditional gyro, chicken gyro, grilled steak or grilled chicken, toppings and sauce are added.  There are ten toppings available — feta cheese, red onions, scallions, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives and more.  The sauce selection includes tzatziki, greek dressing, garlic cream, and hummus.

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Downtown St. Pete Scores Tampa Bay's First Bento Café

Downtown St. Pete Scores Tampa Bay's First Bento Café

A popular pan-Asian eatery is coming to Downtown St. Pete at the base of one of downtown’s newest buildings. Bento Café, a Gainesville-based chain best known for their Bento boxes and boba tea, will soon open at 330 Third Street South, in the base of the AER apartment building.  The new eatery will occupy 2,700 square feet of space, leaving 2,000 square feet of retail to be occupied by another soon-to-be-announced tenant.

Since opening in May of 2016, the retail space at the AER building has largely sat vacant, often being used for storage during construction. With retail space at a premium throughout Downtown St. Pete, it seemed odd that this prime space was remaining vacant. But come to find out, the developers were just waiting for the right tenant.

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Popular Dessert Bar, (swah-rey), Opening 2nd Location

Popular Dessert Bar, (swah-rey), Opening 2nd Location

Downtown St. Pete is about to get a little bit sweeter.  On Saturday, the owners of the beloved (swah-rey) dessert bar signed a lease for a second location on the 600 block of Central Avenue.

Gregg and Leslie-Ann Ciccone opened the original (swah-rey) in October 2015 at 2105 Central Ave in St. Pete’s Grand Central District.  At the time, it was St. Pete’s only dedicated dessert bar.  Offering delectable desserts such as cakes, pies, and créme brûlées as well as beverages such as beer, wine and Kahwa coffee, (swah-rey) quickly became the talk of the town.

While all of the desserts are fantastic, the star of the show has always been the Minis, the most delicious bite-sized cupcakes you’ll ever sink your teeth into.  They are baked fresh daily in about 13 different flavors, such as Chocolate Salted Caramel, Funfetti, and Strawberry Lemonade.  And if you’re feeling thirsty, upgrade to a “Mini Hook-up”, which pairs a Mini with a “shot” of beer, wine, milk, coffee, or another beverage.

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Pour Taproom to Bring 85 Self-Serve Taps to Downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom to Bring 85 Self-Serve Taps to Downtown St. Pete

Up until a few years ago, Downtown St. Pete was rarely considered a hot spot for nightlife. It lacked the newness and youth of Tampa and was typically pretty quiet at night. But as we know, the St. Pete of today is much different than the St. Pete of the past. And as Downtown St. Pete has continued to grow with new restaurants, retail stores, and housing, so has its nightlife.

What was once a few bars scattered along Central Avenue and Beach Drive, has turned into multiple neighborhoods with distinct atmospheres serving unique beer and cocktail concoctions. In the core of downtown, with the recent openings of The Landing, The Copper Shaker, and The Estate, the nightlife options have continued to expand.

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Downtown St. Pete Development Update - Second Quarter 2017

Downtown St. Pete Development Update - Second Quarter 2017

This quarter was packed full of groundbreakings!  After over a decade of planning, construction has finally commenced on the new St. Pete pier. Construction crews have started driving piles into Tampa Bay to support the over-water portion of the pier.  It will take 6 months to complete the pile driving process, however construction on the pier deck is scheduled to begin as early as October.

In other groundbreaking news, located on Fourth Avenue North between Third and Fourth streets, the Museum of the American Arts of Crafts Movement site was fenced off this quarter for site preparation.  The $70 million privately funded museum will occupy 137,000 square feet and stand 5 stories tall. The museum will include a 100-seat auditorium, a resource library, a children's education center, a 300-seat upscale restaurant, a cafe, retail store and event space. The expected opening date is May 2019.

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Lolita’s Wine Market Now Pouring in Downtown St. Pete

Lolita’s Wine Market Now Pouring in Downtown St. Pete

Last year, when husband and wife Alex and Kelly Rodriguez adopted Lola, a Golden Retriever/Louisiana Catahoula Hound mix from Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida (GRRMF), they had no idea it would drive them and friend CF Hawkins to open a wine bar.  You see, Lola is sassy and has a penchant for trouble.  “When Lola is bad, we call her ‘Lolita’ and when she is bad, she causes us to drink. So, in order to afford to drink good wine, we had to open a wine market.  So here’s to Lola!” says Kelly with a grin.

Lolita’s Wine Market quietly launched last week at 16 18th Street South in the Grand Central District of St. Pete.  The space is a cozy 974 square feet — just enough room for around 25-30 people.  And the vibe is comfortable and laid-back.  “We want people to feel like they are coming to somebody’s house, not necessarily to a restaurant that they have to get dressed up for.  We like to describe it as a wine shop meets coffee shop concept,” says Kelly.  

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