Datz, an iconic south Tampa restaurant, has opened its first location in St. Petersburg.
Business and community leaders joined Suzanne and Roger Perry, co-founders and owners of the Datz Restaurant Group, in cutting the ribbon on the new restaurant, at 180 Central Ave., Monday morning.
Like its counterpart in south Tampa, the St. Pete Datz features what’s been described as edgy and inventive comfort food that plays well on Instagram and other social media.
“When I became mayor, one of my dreams quite frankly was to have Datz in this city because I had eaten there in Tampa and I was envious, I’ll admit it,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman. “This restaurant, the vibe, the food, everything fits with St. Petersburg.”
The 250-seat restaurant is on the ground level in the same building that houses the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. There are 90 employees on the payroll of the new location.
There are about 400 employees at the Perry’s Datz Restaurant Group, which also includes Dr. BBQ in St. Pete’s EDGE District; Roux, a southern Creole concept; and Dough, a bakery. The group also operates The Canyon, the café inside the James Museum.
Datz St. Petersburg been quietly open for about three or four days, but the Monday morning grand opening was the first chance most people had to stop in.
Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Datz ribbon-cutting, like many others, was about celebrating entrepreneurship.
“It’s usually not just one entrepreneur, but a family, and this one is very much the same thing — a husband and wife who brought their own ideas and thoughts about what they want to do. They tried to retire and failed retirement completely, thankfully, but brought something pretty special to us,” Steinocher said. “When we see ribbon-cuttings we see the notion of a family bringing something better than was here before, always trying to make something newer and different, using their own creativity, their own art. This is an arts town, but we feel like food is art too, and you guys have brought some of the most beautiful and tasty art our way.”
Harvard Jolly was the architect and designer, and Boyd Construction Co. was the contractor on the project. John Witner at KW Realty helped secure the locations for Datz and Dr. BBQ, and Fifth Third Bank financed the Datz project.