ST. PETE BEACH
The German Baker Boy, somewhat of an institution for customers in St. Pete Beach, is a place where fine German breads, sausages and pastries had been offered with friendly service.
Owners Marina and Detlef Raddant made sure of that by pouring their hearts and souls into the business for the past 10 years, until they were recently told to abandon their bakery.
"Our business was like our child. We put so much personal life into it, that everything else was secondary," Marina Raddant said. "Now we have nothing."
The Raddants, who are German citizens, were able to run their bakery in the United States under investor visas, which must be renewed every five years. Their visas expired this month. When the couple flew to the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt for their renewal application appointment, they were told that their visas would not be renewed. On July 4, they were left stranded in Germany.
"It was such a nightmare for us because everything was here, our life, our house, our business. Everything was here," Marina said.
"Afterward we had a hard, hard time on how to get information on how to get back to the U.S."
After being stuck in limbo for a week, the couple were able to return to their home in St. Petersburg on a visa waiver for German tourists, but they have only until October to get things sorted out.
In the meantime they are unable to work, which means the bakery remains closed.
DISCERNING DINERS AND THIRSTY HIPSTERS CAN REJOICE
A new restaurant on Central Avenue is adding momentum to the influx of hip, eclectic offerings west of downtown's core.
"We wanted to be a little off downtown in an area with a lot of potential," said Dan Clark, general manager of the Table, a trendy Sarasota spot making its way north in October with a location in the Alexander Building at 535 Central.
The Table will be paired with Mesa Lounge, a nightclub for live entertainment and dancing. The restaurant will occupy the space that was O Pescador, with Mesa opening across the Alexander's lobby in an empty storefront. After renovations, the pair will have 160 seats and 5,000 square feet that connect at the back of the house.
The menu will include dishes influenced by the Caribbean, South America and even Spain, Clark said. Items like sea bass in sofrito will be served in both spaces until 10:30 p.m., when the Table will close and Mesa becomes a mojito bar.
"Everyone was starting martini bars, so we didn't want to do that," Clark said. Mesa will offer authentic mojitos, but also flavor them with watermelon, peach, even chocolate and toasted coconut. The bar will also serve the mojito's Brazilian cousin, the caipirinha.
NEW COMPLEX AT JOHN'S PASS DRAWING PLENTY OF INITIAL INTEREST
Menna's Landing, a $5-million mixed-use project in John's Pass Village, is expected to be completed within the next eight months.
Much of the restaurant, retail and condo space is leased or sold, says project owner Frank Menna.
The three-story building, at 111 Boardwalk Place, will be across from the Friendly Fisherman.
The property was once the site of Dockside Dave's Restaurant and before that, the Crabshack. Dockside Dave's moved to 14701 Gulf Blvd., next to the South Beach Tiki Bar and Grill.
The new Key West-style structure in John's Pass will be topped by four condo rental units that are priced between $395,000 and $475,000. The two-bedroom, two-bath units will have from 1,068 to 1,488 square feet and a "Bourbon Street-style" balcony with views of John's Pass.
The second floor will feature a gourmet, cutting-board restaurant featuring design-your-own burgers and other types of sandwiches, similar to a restaurant the owner operated in London for more than 25 years. The restaurant will have a full liquor license, Menna said.
Ground-level retail space has been rented to Florida Realty.Net, a Food Mart and a T-shirt shop, he said.