Have you ever craved fine dining cuisine, but didn’t have time to sit at a table for over an hour? A new Downtown St. Pete restaurant wants to give you the best of both worlds — flavor and speed. And they open Monday April 1st.
Brass Bowl is a new kitchen and juice bar concept located at 656 Central Avenue. Their aim is to offer one of the best chef-driven, organic, flavorful, and gourmet menus St. Pete has ever seen.
"We believe in protecting the environment, responsibly sourcing our ingredients, and supporting as many local businesses as possible,” says Executive Chef Jason Gordon, who was previously the chef at Sunset Grill in Ruskin, FL.
Brass Bowl is a 100% gluten-free scratch kitchen, so there isn’t anything pre-made coming into the restaurant. Everything from the almond butter to the hummus is made in-house. Even more impressive, there are no freezers, no fryers, and no heat lamps. All food is made-to-order with the freshest ingredients.
Not only is the food fresh, but Chef Gordon wants Brass Bowl to be recognized by the USDA as a certified organic restaurant, which requires that 95% or more of your ingredients be organic. For the sake of transparency, all ingredients that are non-organic are displayed on a board every day.
“We are really pioneering the entire organic movement in this area because there’s no one that’s really doing fully organic right now,” says Chef Gordon.
Meats and veggies have been sourced as close to St. Pete as possible, but some items just aren’t grown organically in Florida. The sous vide hanger steak is sourced from a ranch in Nevada and the chicken breast and pork shoulder are both from a farm out of Georgia. The salmon is Ora King Salmon, which is what you’d typically find in the nicest steakhouses. And most of the vegetables come from Worden Farm from Punta Gorda, FL.
As you walk inside, you’ll notice just how enormous the space feels. The restaurant seats 86 people inside and another 20 outside. The decor is industrial modern, complete with copper light fixtures hanging from the exposed ceiling. Teal bench seats and custom-made wooden tables sit against a painted white brick wall. And of course Brass Bowl has kept the original hexagon-tiled floors, a staple throughout St. Pete. Don’t forget to take a peak behind the building on your way out to see a new mural by local artists Tes One and the Vitale Bros.
The kitchen and the juicery each have their own respective counters. The menu at the kitchen features 12 signature bowls, 5 flatbreads, a few side dishes and a daily special. Customers also have the choice of building their own bowl or flatbread. Because Brass Bowl is 100% gluten-free, the flatbreads are made with a cauliflower crust. Also, to ensure diners always have new options to choose from, there will be six rotating ingredients.
As with other quick-service restaurants, you will order at the front of the counter and walk your way down to the register, following your food as it’s assembled.
One of the bowls I can’t wait to try is the El Toro. It contains braised pork shoulder, black rice, heirloom tomato salad, warm olive tapenade, charred corn succotash, chili oil, and micro cilantro. Then again, the Hunter Gatherer looks delicious too — 24-hr sous vide hanger steak, black rice, fire-roasted sweet peppers, smoked foraged mushrooms, four-herb pesto and forest herbs.
On the juicery side, Brass Bowl offers 6 juice bowls, 8 cold-pressed juices, tonics & elixer shots, and a few breakfast items, such as oatmeal, avocado toast, and a greek yogurt parfait.
In an ode to St. Pete, one of the juice bowls is called The Skyway, which consists of a tropical base with pineapples, mangos, strawberries, coconut flake, and local honey.
As for beverages, besides the cold-pressed juices, Brass Bowl has partnered with the Tractor Beverage Co. to serve 100% organic and non-GMO drinks. Available flavors include stone fruit, hibiscus lemonade, kola nut, blood orange, lemongrass, root beer, cucumber and unsweetened tea.
A small retail section will sell a variety of Brass Bowl branded items, including brass bowls, and bracelets from 4ocean. For each bracelet sold, 4ocean commits to pulling one pound of trash out of our oceans. Also, Chef Gordon is in the process of writing a cookbook, which will be available in the near future.
The opening of Brass Bowl marks yet another change for the 600 block of Central Avenue, which was once considered downtown’s grunge hangout. Over the past few years, as downtown’s popularity (and rent) has skyrocketed, the 600 block has undergone a dramatic makeover.
In April 2018, Maple Street Biscuit Company opened their doors at 662 Central Avenue, occupying a space vacated by The Local 662, a local dive bar. Then in September 2018, Pacific Counter debuted their poke bowls and sushi burritos, replacing a pizza joint, Fortunatos on Central. This year, another bar on the block, FUBAR, closed their doors and Daddy Kool Records announced their relocation to the Warehouse Arts District. As for the Brass Bowl space, 656 Central Ave was previously home to Suncoast Medicare Supply Co., which moved to the Tyrone area.
Despite all of the changes to the 600 block, Chef Jason says everyone on the block has been very welcoming. And at St. Pete Rising, we are also proud to welcome another locally owned and operated business to our vibrant downtown.
Brass Bowl opens on April 1st at 656 Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete. Their hours are 9am to 9pm Sun-Thurs and 9am to 11pm Fri and Sat. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram and check out their website and full menu on their website.