Since buying BayWalk in 2011, Bill Edwards has entertained the idea of lots of different restaurant tenants. At various times, the St. Petersburg shopping complex now called Sundial has been considered by celebrity chefs Geoffrey Zakarian, Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia and Ace of Cakes superstar Duff Goldman.
There may yet be a celeb to fill some of the 71,000 square feet of dining and shopping, but one thing is certain: Ruth's Chris Steak House will be in the starting lineup.
According to a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc. will "open four additional new Company-owned Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurants by March 2015 – one each in Dallas, TX, Gaithersburg, MD, Los Angeles, CA and St. Petersburg, FL." As of March 30, there are 140 Ruth's Chris locations internationally.
Tampa already boasts one outpost on West Shore Boulevard, and Sarasota has one as well. Still, Pinellas County has a paucity of chain steak houses. From Shula's Steak House to Capital Grille, Tampa's expense-account steak houses are in the double digits, a reflection of that city's density of business-friendly hotels and business parks.
Ruth's Chris joins Sea Salt, a second outpost of a Naples, Fla., restaurant as the complex's anchor restaurants, with more in the works. Confirmed retail tenants at this point include Marilyn Monroe Spa, Tracy Negoshian, and Diamonds Direct, as well as Chico's and White House Black Market, both of which were BayWalk tenants.
Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley on Twitter.