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New Jonny Reno's restaurant at Pier hopes to open July 4 weekend

To the owners and workers at Jonny Reno's Waterfront Grille and Watering Hole, a new spot taking shape at the end of St. Petersburg's Pier, the coming July 4 weekend must feel like a massive wave rolling toward them.

And they want to catch it.

Jon La Budde, who also owns the Reno Beach Surf Shop and is a partner in the restaurant, said Monday that he hopes to have 90 percent of the work done at the former Capt. Al's Waterfront Restaurant by the time Friday rolls around.

"I hate opening before it's completely decorated," he said. But he wanted to take advantage of the crowds that are forecast during the weekend. He said despite the restaurant's name and its surfing theme, he's going for a more "sophisticated and edgy" look inside. That has meant doing extensive renovations and bringing in a designer to help create the new look.

"We're not just throwing (surf) boards and bras on the wall," he said.

When finished, the restaurant will have 4,500 square feet inside and 1,900 outside.

As for the menu, he called it "eclectic international." Sounds like a head-scratcher until he explains, and it's right in keeping with the theme.

The food will represent the world's best surfing breaks, he said, from all corners of the Earth. So you'll see dishes that have a Hawaiian theme, as well as food from Puerto Rico and Mexico, among others. And because it's on the water and caters to tourists as well as locals, the menu will also have a good seafood component, La Budde said.

The restaurant will offer a full bar and will have 13 beers on tap, many of them craft beers.

The other partners in the restaurant are Dennis Bender and his son Kenny, who owned Valentino's restaurant on Fourth Street until they sold it earlier this year.

La Budde did caution that he'll have a scaled-down menu, in deference to his newness and to the numbers of people that will be making the Pier their base of operations for the Fourth. But after that, he said, expect a grand opening sometime soon.

New Jonny Reno's restaurant at Pier hopes to open July 4 weekend 06/27/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2011 1:45pm]

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