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Nash’s Hot Chicken closes – for now

Mark Parker

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Nash's Hot Chicken at 905 Central Avenue has been closed since at least June 19. Photo: Facebook.

The ownership group behind a popular St. Petersburg restaurant has quietly flown their Central Avenue coop ahead of relocation plans.

Doors have remained locked at Nash’s Hot Chicken since at least June 19, and phone calls go directly to voicemail. However, the restaurant’s message simply states that no one is available to answer, and there is no sign on the door to notify Edge District foot traffic.

While a peek inside the fast-casual spicy fried chicken joint at 905 Central Avenue shows an empty dining room, owner Jason Griffin told the Catalyst that Nash’s was not closed, per se. He stressed that the restaurant’s business partners are preparing for a rebranding and relocating to a larger facility.

“We were trying to control the conversation,” Griffin said. “We wanted to do a big rebrand thing, so that’s why we’re just kind of keeping it quiet right now.”

Nash’s empty dining room. The new facility will offer significantly more seating. Photo: Veronica Brezina.

While he didn’t share many details, Griffin said that if everything goes according to plan, another Nash’s will open in less than 60 days. He called the temporary closure “no big deal.”

Griffin said the moniker would remain, but the new facility would look decidedly different. Most important to the ownership group, it will hold exponentially more patrons.

Nash’s began as a food truck parked in an empty lot at 1049 1/2 Central Ave., about a block from the restaurant’s first brick-and-mortar location. It opened in December 2020 when the pandemic and further shutdown fears were rampant.

A small fast-casual facility that focused on takeout and delivery made good business sense at the time. It also allowed for dine-in business, although Griffin said the establishment has since outgrown the space.

“There were six chairs in that place,” Griffin said. “That was it. I mean, that’s what all prompted this – spatial constraints.”

However, Nash’s marks Griffin’s second restaurant closure – albeit temporarily – in less than six months. He and his business partners closed downtown St. Petersburg’s The Mill, known for its industrial-chic décor and New American dishes, in January after an eight-year run.

A social media post attributed the closure to ongoing construction alongside the restaurant at 200 Central Ave. While the owners did not name the project, sources confirmed it was Kolter Urban’s 42-story Art House condominium tower.

“As many of you know, there has been construction behind our facility for the last several months,” read the Facebook post. “What you may not know is the damage caused by this construction has been massive.”

Griffin stressed that the reasons for temporarily closing Nash’s were not as serious. While the ownership group leased the space at 905 Central Ave., he said size – rather than any increased costs – prompted the relocation.

“My partners came up with a plan (for a relaunch); I agreed to it,” Griffin added. “And that’s why I am in this position.”

Owners plan to expand Nash’s Hot Chicken’s menu. Photo: Facebook.

He said the group identified a location outside downtown but “nearby.” Griffin expects the dining room to hold around 40 people, depending on its configuration.

The menu will still feature “the classics,” like the OG Nashville Hot and bacon braised collard greens, and Griffin said the owners would also expand the menu. He encouraged loyal patrons to “just wait for the rebrand” and noted that he didn’t expect to discuss the new plans.

“We want to do a big launch,” Griffin said. “The partners came up with a good plan; I thought it was a good plan. It’s a relocation thing, and the rebrand is the biggest thing.”

Griffin added that he would provide more details ahead of a grand reopening.

 

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Doug Phares

    June 30, 2023at5:18 pm

    Guys, service was weak. Management rarely around. Show up, it will be better.

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