Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Pier restaurant site attracts pitches from local group and Fort Myers-area chain

ST. PETERSBURG ó As the pilings go in for the new pier, behind the scenes other developments are taking place in the buildup to its newly projected opening day in April 2019.

For now, two successful restaurant groups are vying for one coveted spot in the $76 million Pier District. The prime waterside site, in a former parking lot, is adjacent to 25 public boat slips and parking.

Doc Fordís Rum Bar & Grille, a popular Sanibel Island restaurant, with locations on Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach, envisions St. Petersburg as its next location.

Competing for the site on the southern vista of the pier approach is local restaurateur Steve Westphal, owner of Parkshore Grill and 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House.

Doc Fordís proposal is not surprising, given Mayor Rick Krisemanís scouting of the restaurant famed for its tie-in with bestselling author Randy Wayne White.

Westphal, however, was among those along Beach Drive who objected to the cityís plans for three restaurants in the Pier District. They said it would be detrimental to their businesses. The city has dropped one restaurant.

Westphal explained his change of heart this way: "Well, if you canít beat them, join them.

"With the knowledge and experience that we have, we can do the best job going forward and represent the area and the community and what it asked for," he said.

Doc Fordís has long been interested in coming to St. Petersburg, said Mark Marinello, a partner in the restaurant. (White is another partner and the restaurants are named after the main character in a number of his novels.)

Kriseman, who wants to make the Pier District a "world-class" destination, is apparently interested in adding a Doc Fordís.

"When the pier first started to get some traction, the mayorís office reached out to us," Marinello said. "As the ground-breaking got closer, the interaction increased. He actually came down and saw us with his team."

This week, Marinello spoke of being "pretty excited" to be part of the cityís vision for the new pier.

While the city has hired Colliers International to manage and operate the Pier District and handle leases, the mayor will make the decision about which restaurants get the potentially lucrative Pier District leases for the former parking lot and the pier head. The mayorís decisions, though, are subject to the approval of the City Council.

For now, the city has two serious proposals. Doc Fordís plans a 250-plus-seat, 10,000-square-foot restaurant, of which 4,000 square feet will be air-conditioned. The remainder will be covered, open-air seating. Each Doc Fordís employs an average of 104 people.

The menu at the St. Petersburg location will be similar to its other restaurants and will feature the traditional "Old Florida" decor, Marinello said.

Doc Fordís proposal includes a list of its charitable donations. It gives a dollar from certain drinks to the Golisano Childrenís Hospital of Southwest Florida. It says it will do the same for Johns Hopkins All Childrenís Hospital.

Westphalís proposal states that he and executive chef Tyson Grant strive "to find ways to give back and be of service."

Westphal, who also owns the Hangar Restaurant & Flight Lounge, Cafe Gala at the DalŪ Museum and the newly opened Annex at 400 Beach, sold the Pub Waterfront Restaurant on Indian Shores this year. The purpose of the sale was to be able to focus on his downtown restaurants and "the possible pier waterfront opportunities," Westphal said.

"We are the local guys,íí he said. "Iíve got four restaurants here, all different brands. We have over 300 employees. They are ready to deploy. The money that we make and earn, we put back into the community."

Westphal is proposing a restaurant that seats about 250 to 300. It will feature a contemporary decor and fit into the style of the new Pier District, he said. Wannemacher Jensen Architects, the St. Petersburg firm thatís part of the team designing the pier approach, is creating an environmentally friendly restaurant, Westphal said.

It will be different from the others he owns, he said.

"Itís definitely family-friendly and affordable. Iíve heard from the city that they donít want another Beach Drive restaurant out there," he said.

"Itís truly going to be an everyday personís restaurant, whether youíre roller blading, riding your bicycle, in a car or coming in your boat, itís going to be a place for you to come and enjoy, and youíre not going to have to break the bank to go and be part of it."

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

     
Comments
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA ó A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from students, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford used the social medi...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA ó Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school. Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

Prosecutors likely to decide by Jan. 25 on death penalty in Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA ó Prosecutors will likely know before the end of January whether they will seek the death penalty for the man accused in the four Seminole Heights murders.A judge set the next court appearance for Howell Emanuel Donaldson as Jan. 25 and asked p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp, a former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has been accused of sexual harassment while a working as an analyst with NFL Network, according to a lawsuit.NFL Network has suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor "pend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bayís mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Tampa Bayís mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA ó A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Is there a rift between Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter as the 4-9 Bucs are eliminated from the playoffs for a 10th straight season?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what impact this has going forward for the Bucs and whether...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tyre McCants, USFís brawny bruiser of a receiver

Tyre McCants, USFís brawny bruiser of a receiver

TAMPA ó Having spent 11 games watching Tyre McCants in the flesh ó all 236 pounds of it ó USF coach Charlie Strong seems convinced his teamís leading receiver down the stretch could be someoneís leading rusher down the road."I think he can do a whole...
Updated: 2 hours ago
MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

LAKE BUENA VISTA ó As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field. His final call, it turned out, was the easiest of all. Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott has decided to retire at 58. "Iím done," he told T...
Updated: 2 hours ago