Italian restaurant to open on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg

Laser sailboats off Clearwater Beach head back to the Clearwater Sailing Center Tuesday afternoon as a cold front approaches, bringing a line of showers. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
Laser sailboats off Clearwater Beach head back to the Clearwater Sailing Center Tuesday afternoon as a cold front approaches, bringing a line of showers.JIM DAMASKE | Times
Published February 19 2015

ST. PETERSBURG

farm to table restaurant opening soon

Pie Topia, a farm to table Italian restaurant, is opening soon at 5226 Fourth St. N. The 100-seat eatery will offer menu items based on local produce. Fresh mozzarella cheese will be made in house. A "pizza maestro" who just came here from Italy after training in Venice will make many combinations of pies. Along with baked dishes, Pie Topia will offer a special "meter long" pizza that's 39 inches in length and 5 inches wide. Prices and hours have not been set, according to a spokeswoman, who said the restaurant should open this month.

LARGO

Largo considering ban on e-cigarettes

Commissioners on Tuesday tentatively approved a ban on the smoking of e-cigarettes in city-owned buildings. The ban will not become effective until after final approval, which is scheduled for the Largo commission's March 3 meeting.

LARGO

Police to add new dog to canine unit

Commissioners here agreed to spend up to $10,000 to buy a dog for Largo's canine police unit. The dog will replace Jet, who is retiring after eight years on the force. Largo's canine unit has four dogs, allowing the Police Department to have at least one dog on duty during peak hours of the day. That staffing level also allows one dog to be on its normal patrol duties while another is used for special events and emergencies. The money will come from the department's confiscated property funds.

SEMINOLE

Jimmy Johns, Starbucks coming to VA area

Residents here can look forward to having the city's first Jimmy Johns and Starbucks across from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, according to Kitson & Partners.

Kitson, based in Palm Beach Gardens, bought the 60 acres across from the medical center in 2010. Thus far, the property, which once housed a mobile home park, has seen a mix of commercial and residential uses including an apartment complex and single family homes. Also on the property is a Walmart Supercenter. A Village Inn restaurant is locating on the site and a Texas Roadhouse restaurant is scheduled to open March. 3. On Thursday , the company broke ground on a 9,110-square-foot building, which will be the final retail component. The new building will bring the total retail area to 216,000 square feet. The only part of the site not under construction is the space for a 130-bed hotel.

ST.PETERSBURG

City looks forward with new committee

Tackling the complex challenges of climate change — rising seas, stronger hurricanes, bigger floods — will be the task of a newly-formed City Council committee: Energy, Natural Resources and Sustainability.

The brainchild of council member Darden Rice, a former Sierra Club organizer, the committee's first order of business will be to undertake an assessment of carbon emissions in the city, then craft a plan to reduce them. The plan should take about a year to complete, she said.

The committee, which also includes Karl Nurse, Steve Kornell and Bill Dudley, has a list of other projects, including energy usage, Duke Energy issues, green infrastructure, air pollution and alternative energy sources. With seas expected to rise by up to three feet by 2100, members said they wanted to plan to protect the city. Long-range planning, especially for expensive capital projects, needs to take into account rising water, Rice said.

And don't forget flood insurance, said Nurse. "We've been lucky for a long time," he said. "But if we get a even a Category 1 hurricane, we'd be in a world of hurt."

ST. PETERSBURG

Pipos taking spot vacated by Apropos

One hometown favorite is replacing another that just left. Pipos Cafe will open next month at 8 Fourth St. N, a small space that formerly housed Apropos. Pipos closed its Central Avenue location a year ago but owner Raymond Hernandez said he kept feeling a pull to downtown. He has another location at 9531 Bay Pines Blvd. but wanted to offer service to the east side of St. Petersburg as well as catering to downtown businesses. Hernandez' parents started the Pipos business more than 30 years ago after arriving from Cuba. There are several Pipos in the area but Raymond Hernandez owns just the Bay Pines store and now the one on Fourth Street.

Staff writers Katherine Snow Smith, Anne Lindberg and Charlie Frago contributed to this report.

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