Make us your home page
Instagram

Roman Gardens Italian restaurant relocates from St. Petersburg to Gulfport

GULFPORT — The old Aqua Bella seafood restaurant on Shore Boulevard has been reborn Italian.

Chef Paege Chafin moved her Roman Gardens restaurant into the 4,700-square-foot building, which has been closed since July 2007, when the lease was up at her former location, on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. That restaurant, which Chafin dubbed "Baby Roman Gardens," was 1,400 square feet.

"Look," Chafin said as she waved one arm around her new kitchen, "this was the size of my old restaurant."

The old restaurant seated 50; the new one seats 150. There is seating for 80 at the restaurant's two bars, one on the rooftop.

"We're doing very well," said Chafin, who makes a point of greeting diners at every table.

"We were at 25th and Central for three years. All I did was move the restaurant. I brought the customers with me."

Working as a corporate trainer for hoteliers such as Adam's Mark, Chafin said she opened 256 restaurants around the world before opening hers.

"I speak four languages, and I've lived all over the world — Barcelona, Mexico City, London.

"I was always running," she said.

Getting out of the corporate restaurant world was a relief, Chafin said, mostly because it allowed her to have complete quality control. "I'm really picky," she said.

Chafin isn't quite as forthcoming about how she acquired the building that houses her new restaurant as she is about the restaurant itself.

She said she bought the building but would not disclose the purchase price. She said she is in a partnership with the former owner until she gets the building paid off.

"Sort of like a lease-option but beyond that," she said.

According to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office Web site, the restaurant is owned by Raw Capital Futures LLC, 6220 Pasadena Point Blvd. S, Gulfport.

In addition to the main dining room, the restaurant has two bars, the Rotini, indoors, and the Toga, on the rooftop. It also has banquet facilities for 50 to 60 in the Garden room.

Roman Gardens is open seven days a week.

Sunday through Thursday the main dining room is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. The Toga rooftop bar is open 11 a.m.-midnight and serves a limited menu, including peel-and-eat shrimp and pizza by the slice. Friday and Saturday, the main dining room stays open until 11.

There is no kids menu but kids can always have pasta and sauce for $3.95 or a child's portion of anything on the menu for $6.95.

Roman Gardens Italian restaurant relocates from St. Petersburg to Gulfport 08/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]