Make us your home page
Instagram

Huge celebrity chef restaurant, market coming to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — This city has hit the culinary big time, one filled with the heady smells of lobster pot pie and caviar parfait.

For the first time, the Tampa Bay area will be home to a bona fide celebrity-chef-owned restaurant, and judging from the well-attended press conference Thursday at the downtown Sundial shopping and dining complex, interest will be keen. Sundial owner and St. Petersburg businessman Bill Edwards made the announcement.

In cities like San Francisco or Las Vegas, Michael Mina's name is money in the bank. The Egyptian native and Culinary Institute of America graduate has parlayed his cooking chops into an empire of more than 20 restaurants and other food businesses, including a wine club. Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans might be interested in an East Coast expansion of Mina's San Francisco 49ers pregame members-only club to be unveiled this year at the Niners' new stadium.

As with many of the nation's top chefs, Mina is a whirlwind of new ideas. But one idea that he and longtime friend Don Pintabona have kicked around for several years is an upscale market. So Mina's first market, Locale, will open at Sundial in the fall. It will be seasonally driven and organized around individual kiosks from charcuterie to chocolate, with the flexibility for customers to take prepared food to go, to buy raw ingredients to cook at home or to sit down and have a multicourse meal.

The accompanying restaurant, Farmtable Kitchen, will open at the same time after much of the retail space in Sundial, formerly BayWalk, is up and running. It will hit all the current culinary buzzwords: farm-to-table, seasonal and sustainable, chef-driven. But the biggest thing Locale and Farmtable will give St. Petersburg and the region is credibility. One nationally known culinary superstar begets another.

Rumors have swirled about other potential tenants at Sundial — Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto and Geoffrey Zakarian, author and megastar Emeril Lagasse and Food Network notable Donatella Arpaia have all been mentioned. Edwards, Mina and Pintabona, who graduated from the University of South Florida and is the former chef at New York's Tribeca Grill, are mum about the other restaurants that will join Locale in Sundial, although Ruth's Chris Steak House and a second location of Naples' Sea Salt seem likely.

There has been some speculation, too, that a fourth restaurant spot in the complex might welcome another celebrity-owned concept.

Regardless of Sundial's other tenants, it's clear that chefs on the national stage will be looking to gauge the success of Mina's Locale and Farmtable. Can a concept of this magnitude — 20,000 square feet, with lots of bells and whistles — thrive in what has long been considered a "second-tier" market?

For now, Mina is excited to feed St. Petersburg.

"We want you to get lost in here," he said as he took the podium at the press conference. "This is food you want to share with your family. People don't associate Florida with good product, but there is great product here."

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.

.Fast facts

Mina Group restaurants

The company has a presence across the United States:

California: Michael Mina, Clock Bar, RN74 and Bourbon Steak all in San Francisco (with two new ones in the works); Arcadia in San Jose; Stonehill Tavern in Monarch Beach; Bourbon Steak in Glendale

Las Vegas: Michael Mina at the Bellagio, Pub 1842 at MGM Grand, Strip Steak at Mandalay Bay, American Fish at Aria

Metro D.C. area: Bourbon Steak in D.C.; PABU, Wit & Wisdom and Lamill Coffee, all in Baltimore

Miami: Bourbon Steak, Michael Mina 74 (a third restaurant is in the works)

Seattle: RN74

Scottsdale, Ariz.: Bourbon Steak

Jackson Hole, Wyo.: Handle Bar

Huge celebrity chef restaurant, market coming to St. Petersburg 06/05/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2014 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Watch Round 3 of Feeding Tampa Bay's Epic Chef Showdown

    Cooking

    TAMPA — Round 3 of the third annual Epic Chef Showdown to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay is Monday night, and you can watch it live right here.

    Chef Richard Bergendale of The Mill restaurant and Sous Chef Jeff Thornsberry of Locale Market competed in Round 1 of the Epic Chef Showdown. [Epicurean Hotel / Feeding Tampa Bay]
  2. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  3. Restaurant review: Food and beer pair nicely at the Eatery at Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA - Tampa Bay's craft beer scene is perennially in flux. New breweries open, others close or get scooped up by bigger breweries, some reinvent themselves so they can sell beer off site, and still others build on kitchens and add food to give enthusiasts another reason to sit tight.

    A Passion of the Heights hibiscus wheat ale is displayed at The Brew Bus in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017.  The Brew Bus Terminal, which houses a microbrewery and tasting room and serves as a hub for bus tours to local breweries, has opened an on-site kitchen called the Eatery. With the opening of the new casual dining concept, the brewery joins the ranks of microbreweries across the country that have asked that question: "What goes with beer? Hey, how about food?"
  4. Daniel Lipton resigns as artistic director of Opera Tampa

    Stage

    TAMPA — Daniel Lipton has resigned as artistic director of Opera Tampa, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced.

    Daniel Lipton took over the post when 17-year director Anton Coppola retired in 2012 at age 95.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 25

    Events

    Shawn Mendes: The multi platinum-selling singer/songwriter embarks on his first-ever headlining arena word tour in support of his sophomore album Illuminate. Charlie Puth opens. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $43.75-$63.75. (813) 301-2500.

    Shawn Mendes, performing at Amalie Arena on 7/25/17. Credit: James Minchin.