Make us your home page
Instagram

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian eyes Tampa Bay area locations

Local interior designer James Ramos, left, has teamed up with Geoffrey Zakarian to design functional kitchens in five local houses, four on Davis Islands and one in South Tampa. The two are longtime friends. Zakarian is also a friend of BayWalk’s buyer.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

Local interior designer James Ramos, left, has teamed up with Geoffrey Zakarian to design functional kitchens in five local houses, four on Davis Islands and one in South Tampa. The two are longtime friends. Zakarian is also a friend of BayWalk’s buyer.

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian isn't saying "yes" or "no" to reports that he's opening a restaurant in St. Petersburg, but he will confirm that he has been checking out spaces.

"I just like it down here. There are a lot of people with a lot of taste. It's a dining-out market with a great lifestyle. It's growing and a great environment for business," he said.

Rumors have swirled that St. Petersburg's BayWalk — newly renamed the Shops at St. Pete — is on his radar. Recent marketing materials for the complex listed a steak house for Zakarian and an Asian fusion restaurant for fellow Food Network star Masaharu Morimoto. Complex owner Bill Edwards has remained mum on the subject, as did Zakarian, an Edwards friend and colleague, over the weekend. Zakarian was in the bay area working on several home-design projects in Tampa.

With a style often described as "modern" with roots in French cuisine, Zakarian got his start in New York's Le Cirque, eventually nabbing three stars from the New York Times for his restaurant Town and another three for Country. He went on to open a couple of more New York restaurants, to oversee the food and beverage program at Atlantic City's the Water Club at Borgata and to open the Tudor House at Dream South Beach in Miami. In 2013 and 2014, he will open restaurants aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships.

Some of his affection for the Tampa Bay area can be explained by family ties — his family owns a construction company in Tampa and the chef maintains an office here.

A victor on Iron Chef and a judge on Chopped since 2006, Zakarian has other irons in the fire. With friend James Ramos, who owns a design firm in South Tampa, he has embarked on a kitchen-design project, contributing his professional experience to five local houses, four on Davis Islands and one in South Tampa.

While visiting here, Zakarian ate at some new local hot spots. He had high praise for Jeannie Pierola's new Edison, and raved about the just-opened Oxford Exchange, owned by his friend Blake Casper, whose company owns 52 McDonald's restaurants in the area.

The Oxford Exchange is "a knockout. A real gift to Tampa Bay," he said.

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293.

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian eyes Tampa Bay area locations 10/02/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  5. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.