ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was quick.
Just shy of a year in business, west St. Petersburg restaurant Two Graces is being sold to new owners and has closed — at least for now.
Joshua Breen, Two Graces’ executive chef, said he was informed of the sale on Tuesday morning, as he was on his way to work.
“I was heading in and they told me not to come in,” he said.
Owners Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson opened their al fresco-forward restaurant last fall in the space formerly home to the Reading Room at 6001 Central Ave. The duo also run Grace, in Pass-a-Grille. When contacted by phone, Kaplan said he couldn’t speak publicly on the transaction until the sale was completed, which he guessed would be sometime next week.
Breen and several other staff members at the restaurant are former employees of Annata, the Beach Drive NE restaurant that was sold to new ownership last summer and subsequently shuttered for renovations. Breen started at Two Graces earlier this year, wowing diners (and this critic) with a creative menu that included several Annata holdovers. He said the restaurant, which features a large outdoor dining area, had experienced a slowdown in business over the summer.
Breen also said he was blindsided by news of the restaurant’s sale and that he wasn’t told who the restaurant was sold to or whether he would still have a job under the new ownership.
“I was told, ‘If they want to keep you they’ll contact you,’ ” he said. “I worry about my kitchen, I worry about my servers. Most of them have kids — I have kids.”
No further information on the restaurant’s new ownership was immediately available.