Food truck finds home within city
For all the consternation about allowing food trucks in downtown St. Petersburg, a Bradenton operator has found a way to sell food from his truck near the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and abide by existing rules. On the Grill is selling pressed sandwiches on homemade bread while parked at Sixth Avenue S and Third Street. He obtained a permit in recent weeks that allows him to vend anywhere in the city except between Fifth Avenue S and Fifth Avenue N, east of 16th Street.
This type of vending permit is the same one ice cream trucks have been using for more than a decade, said the city's zoning official, Philip Lazzara. No food truck policies that would allow the trendy mobile eateries in the inner core of downtown have been passed, but City Council and staffers continue to consider options, he said.
"Business is good," said Gaspare Amato, owner of On the Grill. "The first couple of days people kind of walked by but we have been handing out fliers and now we are getting a lot of repeat customers." His gourmet sandwiches cost $7 to $8. USF students and staff get a $2 discount and a free iced coffee.
Work progressing on extended stay hotel
The top floor at the Staybridge Suites under construction at 940 Fifth Ave. S. is now in place. There's plenty more work to do, however, on the extended stay hotel slated to open in early 2014. The pet-friendly property will have 119 suites for guests staying a night or several months at a time.
St. Petersburg-based Menna Development & Management, the developer, plans to fill the city's first extended stay hotel of this kind with traveling families and professionals, especially residents at nearby All Children's Hospital.
Katherine Snow Smith, Times staff writer