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New investors join Callaloo Group to revive 22nd South food hall

Veronica Brezina

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The Historic Manhattan Casino at 642 22nd St. S.

The 22 South Food Hall, the revitalization project in the Deuces area of south St. Petersburg, is set to resurrect as new investors have come to the table. 

The Callaloo Group, which opened the food hall inside the historic Manhattan Casino building earlier this year, is now working with the Urban Collective group to breathe new life into the project.  

The food hall is a combination of several different mini-restaurants. It was also an incubator for culinary startups and entrepreneurs.

During Thursday’s St. Pete City Council meeting, Mario Farias from the Callaloo Group informed the board how the group recently closed the food hall following the death of business partner Vincent Jackson, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver. 

Leigh Fletcher, a real estate lawyer and co-founder of the Rising Tide Innovation Center in St. Pete, is also a partner. 

“Leigh and I spent a lot of our own money, we weren’t able to get the Trust to work with us, so we continued what we did until we got to a point where we had to make changes and looked for partnerships out there,” Farias said, explaining that he was then approached by the Urban Collective group. The agreement with Urban Collective is expected to be signed Sept. 10.  


RELATED: 22 South Food Hall may reopen thanks to local investors


Farias told the St. Pete Catalyst that the partnership means the Urban Collective group is now a managing partner, within the Callaloo Group. 

Urban Collective is a seven-member team that’s headed by Jason Bryant and Lashante Keys. The majority of the team members are St. Pete natives. 

“We got a phone call that this particular piece of our history was being taken away … the reason we all came together wasn’t for any other purpose other than to make sure we didn’t let our community down again. We have seen this go through so many changes,” Keys said during the City Council meeting. 

Keys said two previous vendors that were working at the food hall when it closed – Irie Mon Jamaican Grill and Betterway BBQ – will resume operations in the food hall. 

Since working with Callaloo, Urban Collective has signed on several new tenants including Two Harbors Burgers; Prepped by Palmer, a meal prep and menu caterer that makes customized orders; and Louie’s Italian Eatery, a spinoff concept from the owners of the Nueva Catina restaurant.

“I want it to work … having empty promises or things that couldn’t happen, knowing what our residents deserve and want the restaurants to work,” Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman said. 

There will be an entrepreneur program through St. Pete Greenhouse to help guide the businesses. The Greenhouse has committed to providing training once a month. 

There are also plans to work with the Pinellas Technical College on entrepreneurship opportunities. 

The duo is working with the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance on rotating African American art throughout the Casino. 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Velva Lee Heraty

    September 10, 2021at4:14 pm

    This is a great idea. Local involvement will make this work. Good luck to all involved!

  2. Avatar

    Valerie Ackerman

    September 12, 2021at10:33 pm

    I am very happy to hear that the 22 South food hall will re-open. It’s our family’s favorite place!

  3. Avatar

    Shelle Berk

    September 13, 2021at3:24 am

    I’m thrilled to read this. I’ve been pulling for this concept in this historical venue! Hope the company that was there previously that had outstanding Sushi returns!

  4. Avatar

    Rose Hayes

    September 14, 2021at8:53 am

    I have some ideas for the Food Hall and for the Main Floor upstairs. I do not know who to contact.

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