Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Dining

Ford's Garage restaurant to replace Rowdies Den in downtown St. Petersburg

Ford's Garage is expanding into downtown St. Petersburg.

The beer and gourmet burgers-focused chain, which styles restaurants like Prohibition-era service stations, will open a new location at the southwest corner of First Avenue S and Second Street, formerly the Rowdies Den, which has closed.

Ford's Garage acquired the space at 200 First Ave. S from St. Petersburg businessman and Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team owner Bill Edwards, said a news release from the Edwards Group and 23 Restaurant Services. The new restaurant is expected to open in the summer of 2017.

The original Ford's Garage opened in Fort Myers in 2012. The chain opened its first Tampa Bay area location in Brandon in 2015, before announcing plans to open outposts in Clearwater, Wesley Chapel and Citrus Park.

The Brandon location features a hand-hammered copper bar and old-style brick walls meant to conjure the 1920s, as well as Ford Model T's and Model A's hanging from the ceiling. The menu features comfort food and gourmet burgers that range from $11.95 to $16.95, specialty cocktails and more than 150 varieties of bottled beer.

Edwards opened the Rowdies Den in mid 2015. That bar and restaurant was themed after the team, which plays its home games at nearby Al Lang Stadium.

"Ford's Garage will be a great addition to downtown," Edwards said in the announcement. "It's a fantastic brand. (Ford's Garage president) Marc (Brown) has assured me that it will still be the official gathering spot for Rowdies fans, so it's a win-win for everyone involved. We wish him great success."

Before being the Rowdies Den, the space had been home to Midtown Sundries for 16 years.

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