Make us your home page
Instagram

Upscale Rococo Steak has soft opening in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Tonight at 5 o'clock, Rococo Steak debuts in the historic 1920s YWCA building in St. Petersburg in a soft opening, cementing what most of us already knew: Downtown St. Pete is red hot these days. The grand opening is Tuesday.

The name alone signals its intention to set itself apart from the many traditional steakhouses on the other side of Tampa Bay (Charley's, Ruth's Chris, Shula's and, the granddaddy, Bern's). Rococo alludes to the playful art movement in the early part of the 18th century, a reaction to the Baroque period's grandeur and strict regulations.

What does this mean in a steakhouse?

"The overall idea was something chic and contemporary," says chef Richard Potts, 31. "The idea was something that wasn't gender-specific like your grandfather's steakhouse with the giant knife. The aim was doing something that was revolutionary."

Potts, who cut his teeth in his parents' restaurant in Daytona Beach, has spent the past 10 years crisscrossing the country with his knife kit, spending time at Old Hickory Steakhouse at Orlando's Gaylord Palms and then doing something entirely different presiding over the kitchen at Sorrel River Ranch, a 10-acre sustainable farm resort in Moab, Utah. In his new digs at 655 Second Ave. S, he's been given room to roam, with a charbroiler for steaks, wood-burning oven and a 40-foot kitchen line and staff of up to 20.

The resulting menu is, as Joe Orsino, chief executive officer of Caledon Concept Partners, says, something equally appealing to men and women, with some smaller-sized steak options and a range of side dishes that are anything but status quo (crispy kale chips! Incan red quinoa with candied walnuts!). Kale chips not floating your boat? How about a flight of artisanal bacon.

Orsino also says the traditional paradigm of dark wood and "old boys' club" atmosphere has been retired.

"At Rococo the bar and lounge is central to the concept so the energy emanates from there." Despite the lack of water view, the bar just might rival the popular Canopy at the Birchwood Inn on Beach Drive NE. Tonight is the soft launch with a grand opening planned for later.

Still, the core of the menu is beef, both corn-fed and grass fed.

"We saw this as an opportunity to operate a restaurant and a type of cuisine that didn't exist in St. Pete," says Orsino. "I think there should be a great steakhouse in every great city."

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

Upscale Rococo Steak has soft opening in St. Petersburg 10/25/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 25, 2013 3:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk

    Events

    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 23

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Nathan Sawaya with a sculpture from his The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free Wednesdays through Sundays,  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required.[Courtesy  of the Art of the Brick]
  3. I give you a fish, you give me back my man

    Blogs

    The B-52s are a band with such a distinct visual look that you could tell it was them with just a glimpse of a picture. But was it always beehives and bright clothes for the hipsters from Athens? You can find the different looks of the B-52s in their video for the irresistible Give Me Back My Man.

  4. Joss Whedon's ex-wife accuses him of cheating, being 'hypocrite preaching feminist ideals'

    Celebrities

    Joss Whedon made his name directing cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and big-budget action movies, which often featured women in empowering roles. Many applauded him for being a champion of women, a feminist in an industry accused of misogyny and sexism.

    Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2014. Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole alleged in an essay published by The Wrap on Sunday that Whedon had multiple affairs during their 16-year marriage. (Associated Press)
  5. For James Blunt, life is still 'Beautiful,' especially on tour with Ed Sheeran

    Music & Concerts

    Here's how much You're Beautiful still weighs on James Blunt: He specifically references his biggest hit twice on his new album, The Afterlove.

    ISCHGL, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29:  James Blunt performs live on stage during the ‘Top Of The Mountain Concert’ on November 29, 2014 in Ischgl, Austria.  (Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)