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Downtown restaurants offer deals

Ferg’s is offering microbrews and talent shows. Drew Giordano plays guitar during a competition in February.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Ferg’s is offering microbrews and talent shows. Drew Giordano plays guitar during a competition in February.

ST. PETERSBURG — As summer heats up and with snowbirds back in cooler climes, restaurants are turning their attention to their regular patrons and are coming up with creative ways to bring in new ones. For locals, that means deals, discounts and games at a number of the restaurants and bars in and around downtown. The flexibility that these locally owned businesses have when it comes to battling the off-season during tough economic times may turn out to be a saving grace.

A number of chain restaurants closed in recent weeks because of low sales. The casualties included Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse in the Tyrone area and the Blimpie downtown.

The possible effects of a slow economy are not lost on even the more prosperous downtown spots.

With baseball season in full swing and the Rays' recent success, Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill on Central Avenue might as well have won the lottery.

"We had our best week ever last week, but we know times are tough, so that's why we brought in craft beer," owner Mark Ferguson said.

"We've been trying everything and it's all coming together at once."

Nick Johnson can be reached at nickjohnson@sptimes.com or 893-8361.

What restaurants are doing | A sampling

De Santo Latin American Bistro, 128 Third St. S

The restaurant has brought back a discounted happy hour menu
and drink specials during the week after a period of chef-related turbulence
forced it to pull the pared-down offerings.

"We're going to continue to push for happy hour and bring people in,"
co-owner Seth Hill said.

• • •

The Hooker Tea Co.
300 Beach Drive NE

The tea shop has promotionals, including Tea and Tarot.
On the third Friday of the month, customers can get a bottomless cup of brew and have their tarot or tea leaf fortunes read.

Hooker Tea Co.'s co-owner, Kendra Rodriguez, summed up its off-season philosophy by pointing out that most people have three places where they spend most of their time: home, work and a place where they can relax.

"We've done things to sort of cater to the crowd that makes Hooker Tea their third place," Rodriguez said.

Last summer the teahouse added a weekend breakfast menu to bolster sales.

• • •

Fish Tales Seafood House, 1500 Second St. S

Fish Tales is offering a gift and a chance to win a trip to the Keys to couples on Wednesday nights. It has also started a celebrity bartender night on Thursdays with local celebs, like Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Spurlock. Tips collected will be donated to the Children's Dream Fund.

• • •

Bella Brava, 515 Central Ave.

The restaurant offers half-price bottles of wine with two dinners.

• • •

Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill
1320 Central Ave.

Tonight's craft beer event will offer 30
beers and food on the patio.

Ferguson also recently hired a chef to add
to the standard repertoire of bar food and has
talent shows slated for Thursday nights. There is a corn toss league in the making. Think beanbags.

Downtown restaurants offer deals 06/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 7:30pm]
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