Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani and Nocturnal Hospitality Group are at it again.
On the ground floor of the 26-story office tower 200 Central in downtown St. Petersburg, Viviani and fellow Nocturnal partners Lanfranco Pescante, David Anderson and Lou Dommer will open a high-end Italian restaurant called La Pergola. It’s the hospitality group’s first culinary project outside of downtown Tampa.
La Pergola will occupy the former Raymond James space, joining the Mill and Craft Kafe at 200 Central Ave. with a projected debut of spring 2020. A major renovation of the new restaurant’s 6,000-square-foot home is set to begin in the coming months.
Diners can expect a high-energy lounge and bar with specialty cocktails, according to a news release. Cafe-style sidewalk seating is also planned.
“I moved to St. Pete as a 17-year-old boy from Italy to follow the American Dream,” Pescante said in the release. "I started as a dishwasher at Lone Star Steakhouse and worked my way up in the restaurant and bar scene. I am beyond excited to go back to where it all started and bring an authentic Italian concept to downtown.
“The development of St. Pete over these past few years is beyond impressive, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to become a part of it by bringing La Pergola to this spectacular location."
Viviani first joined forces with founding Nocturnal partners Pescante and Anderson to develop modern Italian bar and kitchen Osteria, which arrived in downtown Tampa in 2018. A native of Florence, Italy, the celebrity chef has opened more than 30 restaurants across the U.S.
“As a chef and hospitality developer, I am very excited to put my foot down in the St. Pete area,” Viviani said in the release. “Aside from the gorgeous waterfront scene and the good people living there, St. Pete has become a community that has embraced good food, good hospitality and great drinks. We will bring all of that with La Pergola.”
On the other side of the bay, Nocturnal is also behind eclectic downtown Tampa hangout Franklin Manor, launched in 2016. Osteria followed two years later, as did Spanish-inspired eatery Mole y Abuela earlier this year. The hospitality group’s next restaurant in downtown Tampa, Shibui, is slated to open with Asian fusion and cocktails in early 2020.