ST. PETERSBURG — Sammy + Paco’s, a new bakery and cafe from the team behind Lolita’s Wine Market and the recently shuttered Sophia’s, is now open at 2735 Fifth Ave. N in St. Petersburg’s Kenwood neighborhood. Here’s what to know about the new spot, and the dishes you won’t want to skip.
Who are Sammy and Paco?
Husband-and-wife owners Alex and Kelly Rodriguez named both their first and second St. Petersburg restaurants after their dogs, Lola and Sophie. So it should come as no surprise that for their latest spot, the couple once again tapped into the family brood and named the restaurant for their two cats, Sammy and Paco. (Sammy is a plump, Garfield-like orange tabby and Paco is a mischievous gray teenager who loves to hunt and bring his parents “lots of gifts.”) The restaurant’s logo features the two furry felines toasting with coffee mugs and was designed by a close friend of the couple’s, Ricky Gonzalez.
Order at the counter
Unlike their other restaurants, Sammy + Paco’s is a counter-service concept where customers place their order in the front and grab their drinks before taking a number and a seat. (The restaurant’s waitstaff will bring food out to tables.) The restaurant, which is also home to the company’s catering kitchen, was designed with breakfast spots in Maine and Vermont in mind, Kelly Rodriguez said.
Pastries and baked goods get the spotlight
To lead their pastry and bakery program, the team tapped Megan Barnes, who was the pastry chef at Sophia’s and also designs specialty cakes for the company’s catering arm. The selection, all baked fresh daily, includes bagels, cookies, cupcakes, fruit breads and other pastries. The bakery will soon start selling whole specialty cakes and will feature a cake of the week, which will be available for purchase by the slice. Another bonus? Folks looking to hire the team for their wedding catering services can sample all the cake and dessert options on site.
Here’s what’s on the menu
The restaurant is open for breakfast, weekend brunch and lunch. Breakfast and brunch dishes include an avocado toast topped with crispy prosciutto, burrata, tomato confit, artichokes and a Calabrian chili oil; a pressed egg sandwich on Cuban bread with bacon, grilled onions and heirloom tomatoes; and a coconut-crusted tres leches French toast filled with guava and served with rum-caramelized bananas. For lunch, there’s a selection of salads, sandwiches and heartier dishes, including a short rib brisket burger topped with mojo-roasted pork, Muenster cheese, pickled red onions and chimichurri on a brioche bun; coffee-rubbed red snapper tacos with mango, jicama slaw, pickled red onions and a chipotle aioli; and a French onion soup-inspired grilled cheese sandwich served with an au jus on the side.
You can grab dinner to-go
Starting in June, the restaurant will debut a market component where guests can grab premade dishes and drinks, including beer and wine, to-go. The concept is designed around precooked proteins, starches and sauces and will include several favorite holdover dishes from Sophia’s. Some of the dishes will include a grilled salmon, grilled chicken, wild rice pilaf, Brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, a tomato bisque and a family-style lasagna.
The couple said they plan on rotating dishes weekly and expanding their takeout menu based on what the neighborhood asks for.
“We’re very walkable for Historic Kenwood and North Kenwood,” said Kelly Rodriguez. “That’s something that we try to be very cognizant of — to grow organically and to let our clients tell us what they want.”
Sammy + Paco’s serves breakfast 7-11 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Brunch is offered 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.