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On the menu: Steakhouse to open on Central, Portillo’s announces plans for St. Pete

Veronica Brezina



A rendering of The Crane. Image is from The Crane's Facebook page.

From an upscale steakhouse to a tropical Asian-inspired restaurant, here’s the recent foodie news in St. Petersburg: 


The Crane 

A new casual steak and seafood restaurant will debut in downtown St. Petersburg next year. 

The Crane will open in January 2022 at 575 Central Avenue, which formerly housed Wig Villa. 

The steak and seafood concept is being opened by Sean Thongsiri, who recently opened Mangosteen, a tropical Asian restaurant that’s also located on Central Avenue. 

Images show that the restaurant will have elegant decor and will offer craft cocktails.



The Chicago-style hot dog eatery chain Portillo’s will open a location next year in St. Petersburg. 

Four months ago, the St. Pete Catalyst reported the chain filed a stormwater application that stated the restaurant plans to open at 2303 Tyrone Blvd. N. 

A rendering of Portillo’s that will open in St. Pete. Rendering is from Portillo’s.

However, this month, Portillo’s formally announced it will be opening in front of Tyrone Square Mall. 

This 7,800-square-foot location will feature classic ’50s-style decor on the inside and a seasonal outdoor patio. It’s expected to open in the spring. It will have a drive-thru. 

Portillo’s is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef. 

The restaurant was founded in 1963 when Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a trailer to open a hot dog stand called The Dog House in Illinois. 

Today the restaurant has nearly 70 restaurants, including locations in Brandon and Tampa. 



The new tropical Asian restaurant Mangosteen recently opened on the 600 Block in Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. 

A rendering of Mangosteen. Rendering is from Mangosteen.

The concept, created by Sean Thongsiri, opened at 656 Central Ave. It was the former home of the Brass Bowl and is next to Pacific Counter. 

The menu ranges from sushi rolls to spicy Korean tacos and curry shrimp. 

It will also have a full-service bar serving tropical cocktails. 




Tim Gannon, co-founder of the Outback Steakhouse chain, and his son Chris have opened a new restaurant concept in St. Petersburg. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen location in St. Petersburg. Photo provided by Saturday PR.

Last week, the duo celebrated the grand opening of the Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen at 1330 4th Street North in St. Petersburg. 

The 2,411-square-foot restaurant allows guests to build their bowls starting with bases such as rice, kale salad and cilantro noodles and top it with veggies (based on seasonality) like herb-roasted potatoes, Tuscan zucchini and ginger broccoli along with mojo pulled pork, miso-glazed tofu and lemon chicken. 

Chris Gannon consulted with industry leaders such as Chef Martin Oswald, a Wolfgang Puck protégé, to design the menu. 







Restaurants coming to new food hall 

The old Woolworth building at 551 Central Ave. in downtown St. Pete will become the site of a new food hall. 

Construction has started for the new Central Park St. Pete food hall that’s being developed by the Hi Hospitality Group. It will be completed in late 2022. 

Central Park St. Pete Food Hall. Rendering provided.

The tenants will include the Italian seafood restaurant Speaks Clam Bar and the Asian eatery Kojo, both of which are owned by Hi Hospitality Group. 

Kojo, which has dishes such as crispy nori sushi tacos, garlic ponzu grilled Gulf oysters and kimchi fried rice, will be located on the rooftop. Kojo has an existing location in Sarasota.

This will also be Speaks Clam Bar’s third location. 

Additionally, a high-end speakeasy bar will be constructed in the basement. 

Information on additional tenants has not been disclosed, but the group stated they want to have a diverse range of restaurant offerings. 

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  1. Avatar

    Michelle Ensminger

    November 19, 2021at12:01 pm

    Um, one question. Where are all these people going to park?. Im a native of St.Pete and going downtown has always had a problem with parking especially with 4th of July fireworks. So, if there’s a general parking lot like at the Tropicana field, there could be multiple trolleys going to drop and pick people up and eliminate the anxiety of parking and make the experience of dining fun and hassle free and safe as well. Cars and lots of people don’t mesh well and since downtown is very condensed it would be a idea the city needs to address. I personally don’t go downtown because of the congestion and if you charge a parking fee im sure people wouldn’t mind paying to be able to be dropped off at their favorite spot to eat.

  2. Avatar

    Susan Krinsk

    November 18, 2021at10:45 pm

    Always excited to welcome a mew and unique dining experience ! I enjoy the downtime bar scene , but miss having an upscale bar and restaurant, a gastronomic pub that appeals to both foodies and those that like to sip and shoot a sophisticated cocktail In a setting that doesn’t require pounding music with yelling voices ,as if deafening noise creates ambiance ! Please tell me I hit the nail on the head….

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