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On the menu: New restaurants and restaurant news

Veronica Brezina



Here’s a taste of some of the new restaurants planning to open in the city:

Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani’s Taverna Costale 

Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani will open his new restaurant concept for downtown: Taverna Costale. 

A “coastal Italian” restaurant and bar, Taverna Costale is currently under construction on the ground floor of downtown St. Pete’s tallest office tower, at 200 Central Ave. and will open this winter.

Squid ink pasta from Taverna Costale. Facebook image from Taverna Costale.

The 5,900-square-foot restaurant will be next to Craft Kafe, and will have an emphasis on local seafood. 

Viviani is now partnering with Brian Henry and Anthony Sandstrom for the opening of  Taverna Costale. The group was also behind Viviani’s Wesley Chapel concept Chuck Lager’s American Tavern.


Three Birds Tavern flies under new ownership 

The tavern on 1492 4th Street N. that was once a 140-year-old farmhouse has new owners. 

Robin and Jack King, who have managed Three Birds Tavern for the past 12 years, are retiring and passing the business along to local hospitality professionals John and Haley Ruetz, the Kings announced Wednesday. 

Three Birds Tavern. GoogleMaps.

“When we bought the building in 2009, Jack told me we would give this a 10-year run after his first retirement from a successful litigation career in Ohio, so I knew in 2019 our time was
winding down,” Robin King said.

John and Haley Ruetz plan to preserve the property and make changes. John owns and operates The Annex on Beach Drive and previously managed 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House, and Cafe Gala at the Dali Museum.

“We are excited to carry on the tradition of Three Birds Tavern with our growing family (two future busboys) and be an active part in the community in which we live and love,” he said. He and his wife recently welcomed their second child. 

The Kings had other offers for the building since a developer first approached them in 2015, but all of them had plans to tear the building down.

“That isn’t what we wanted for this little piece of St. Pete history,” Robin said.


LALA St. Pete 

LALA St. Pete, a new restaurant and karaoke bar, is slated to open at 2324 Central Ave. in the Grand Central District.

Construction inside LALA St. Pete. Veronica Brezina.

The 4,500-square-foot bar will be adjacent to Grand Central Brewing. 

It will have two floors of restaurant space, seven private karaoke rooms and a rooftop bar. 

The rear of LALA St. Pete. Veronica Brezina.

The menu offers an elevated approach of American, French and Mediterranean food.


The Wet Spot pool bar 

David Fischer, owner of Zazoo’d, COCKtail and The Saint speakeasy, will open a new pool bar concept. 

“COCKtail is very soon going to have a baby brother, The Wet Spot. and we are grinning,” wrote the Cocktail St. Pete team on Oct. 4.

The location for The Wet Spot. GoogleMaps.


It will be located on the same lot as Fischer’s other concepts and will feature a three-sided bar, a live music cabana and a large swimming pool. 

The owner announced Oct. 5 that the plans were approved for the bar and construction would begin in two weeks. 




Shiso Crispy 

The owners of Shiso Cripy, which operates in a food truck, announced plans for a dumpling concept in a new food hall that will open inside Fusion 1560, an apartment building in the Edge District. 

Shiso Crispy’s dumplings. Facebook image.

The food truck is known for its soup dumplings and handmade gyoza.

The owner announced the news on Facebook: “It will be [serve] steamed, made-to-order gyoza, shumai, and mandu.” 

The chefs will be testing all the new menu items at the Flying Boat Brewing Company in St. Pete over the next few months. 

The concept is expected to debut at 1560 Central Ave. by December. 

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