After more than 32 years in business, the Melting Pot in St. Petersburg has closed.
The national chain franchise made the announcement through email and on social media Monday and said the owners of the long-running Fourth Street N location had decided to sell the property. The statement also said that the franchisor, the Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., had been looking for a new Pinellas County location for a while to “debut a new flagship Melting Pot.”
“We look forward to being able to share an exciting new Melting Pot evolution design and interactive dining offerings with you, our fondue family,” the statement said.
The restaurant had been closed since March 20, when Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all of the state’s restaurants to stop dine-in business in an attempt to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Though the shutter was not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, it “accelerated the real estate owner’s decision to sell the property,” according to the statement.
The first location for the national chain, whose headquarters is in Tampa, opened in Maitland near Orlando in 1975. At the time, the flagship restaurant had just four tables and a limited menu of cheese, beer and chocolate fondue. Over the past four decades, the chain has expanded internationally and now includes more than 100 locations across the United States.
Diners with gift cards to the Melting Pot will still be able to use them at all other Melting Pot restaurants, including the Tampa Bay area’s two locations in Sarasota and Tampa, both of which are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but plan to reopen.
Though the restaurant’s Fourth Street N hub marked the company’s only St. Petersburg location, the owners said they are currently scouting the area for a new home in Pinellas County.
The owners of the shuttered St. Petersburg location said all excess food inventory will be donated to Tampa Bay’s Metropolitan Ministries.