Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Dining

Engine Rose in St. Petersburg has closed

Engine Rose, the sister restaurant to St. Petersburg burger joint Engine No. 9, quietly closed Aug. 9.

The restaurant in the Grand Central District was originally opened in 2012 by Jason Esposito, the owner of Engine No. 9 and son of Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Tony Esposito.

On Facebook Aug. 9, Jason Esposito indicated that when it came down to the lease renewal, Engine Rose declined.

"We enjoyed the three years there and all the great people we got to serve," Esposito wrote. "Rents are changing and the city is on a fast track to grow which is a catch-22."

Property Manager Bill Hillman said the outdoor restaurant originally planned to close for kitchen renovations, but things changed at the start of the week.

"They decided not to renovate, but instead focus their attention on their other property," he said.

READ MORE: Engine No. 9 serves as sanctuary for Chicago Blackhawks fans in Tampa Bay Lightning country

The restaurant was known to many as a spot great for larger parties on its outside patio and a menu that differed from some of the options available at Engine No. 9. On Sundays, Engine Rose served brunch with twelve different kinds of eggs benedict, priced at $8.50 each. ( Our ode to the $8.50 Eggs Benedict. )

A "For Lease" sign went up on Aug. 9 and by the afternoon of Aug. 10, Esposito was at the restaurant helping break the space down.

"Just the picture of a dying rose," he said.

Despite the closure and a rising rent at the original Engine location, Esposito is looking toward expanding the brand.

He teased "looking over the other side of the bridge to open a brand new space" in his Facebook post. "As a company we want to grow and this gives us the opportunity to regroup and look forward to the future," he wrote.

READ MORE: Laura Reiley reviews Engine Rose.

But not all will be lost for fans of the hamburger hotspot. Hillman said he does not plan to get rid of the airstream Engine Rose used as a kitchen.

"I hope to keep it there," he said. "It just depends on what the next tenant's business plans are."

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