The Cider Press Cafe, the vegan restaurant that helped transform the 600 Block on Central Avenue is leaving unexpectedly, but it has already found a new home.
Owners Johan Everstijn and Roland Strobel, who opened the restaurant six years ago at 601 Central, had a lease dispute with their landlord.
“We have an extension after this year on our lease and we aren’t fighting it,” Everstijn told the St. Pete Catalyst. “The landlord is not honoring our lease.”
The owners will relocate the cafe to 3118 3rd Avenue N. in the Shoppes of Kenwood, roughly two miles from the current location. The 2,275-square-foot space was formerly the home of the gay bar, Georgie’s Alibi.
While the same concept will open in the new Cider Press space by the end of the year, it will become a vegan gastropub. The owners will be able to acquire a liquor license, which they wanted to obtain at the current Central Avenue location but weren’t able to, due to their lease agreement.
“The aesthetic will have some similarities to the current location, but we saw it as an opportunity to have a liquor license and make it more of a fun gastropub,” Everstijn said.
The current lease for the Central Avenue location ends this year. The owners will either move out when the lease expires or as soon as the gastropub buildout is complete.
The design of the building is being done by David Fischer, owner of St. Pete’s The Saint speakeasy, and interior design firm Zazoo’d.
Everstijn said he expects to spend $250,000 or more on the buildout of the new location.
“The building we are moving into is more usable and there’s a storage facility about a block away, which will allow us to have more room,” he said.
“The current building is weird. It is so cut up because it is several buildings combined. Parking on Central has also been an issue for us. Most of our traffic is foot traffic because it’s hard to find nearby parking.”
Additionally, the new building has a bar area with a garage door so the Cafe can serve customers outside, which Everstijn said is a critical space to have during a pandemic.
It has since been confirmed that a new restaurant concept called Bonu’ Taverna will open in the Central Avenue space. The Italian restaurant will open in early 2022, according to the business’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.