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Posted By Joe Hamilton


Ryan is a true community asset in the classic sense. He generously gives of his time, expertise and money on civic initiatives like Grow Smarter. He brings value in jobs and service in his entrepreneurial endeavors. He serves clients, righting business wrongs as an attorney. This combination of contributions is important and greatly appreciated. The greatest treasure he delivers to St Pete, however, is culture - our culture. Mandarin Hide, Souzou & Trophy Fish are St. Pete culture factories, pumping out the intangible sweetness that sustains our je ne sais quoi. His establishments are unique and varied, each delivering the complex nuances of a passionate owner. That they all came from the same person is impressive. And he's just getting started. Not yet 40, Griffin has more projects close to launch and more planned to follow those. As we wind our way through the treacherous journey to gentrification, it's Influence like Griffin's that will protect that quality in St. Pete that's difficult to articulate when it's there and impossible to get back should it go.

Years in St. Pete


Organizations involved in

Chamber of Commerce – the Executive Committee as well as the Vice-Chair of the Grow Smarter strategy

What gets you out of bed every day?

Every day is a new day for me. I don’t do the same thing every day. There’s a lot of excitement with it, a lot of stress. I like to make new accomplishments and at the end of the day when the dust settles, I like to see if I won more than I lost.

Why St. Pete?

St Pete is the perfect sized city to do some really spectacular things. It’s an up and coming with unique character. Very distinct place and people. It’s a place you can make an impact.

What is one habit that you keep?

Sundays are holy to me in the sense that I stay away from emails and technology and getting immersed in too much work. I use that as a day to spend with my wife.

Who are some people that influence you?

As a lawyer, I have a partner Guy Burns, he’s a very successful lawyer. He’s got a great balance and way with people. For restaurants, design wise, Phillip Stark and his design. I like that, his whimsical nature, keeping everything fun. Besides that – every entrepreneur that I see. They are always giving me creative ideas. When I see people working hard, that motivates me, pushes me.

What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?

You never know how much sand is in the hour glass. Don’t leave anything for tomorrow that you can do today. Take risks.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?

For the restaurants, it’s about the people. When you boil everything down, it’s the people who are part of your team. That also translates to the law world as well.

What’s next?

Working on our fish restaurant, which opens up soon. And Mandarin Heights, in Tampa. Partnered with Bodega. That’s an exciting project in the Seminole Heights area. I’ve got a couple other projects after that – a fish marketing and some other cool concepts.

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