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On the Menu: Wine bar debuts, Munch’s hints at new future

Veronica Brezina



Calida Kitchen and Wine restaurant opens at 2909 MLK Jr. St. N. in St. Petersburg. Instagram photo.

Here’s some of the latest restaurant and foodie news for St. Petersburg: 


Munch’s teases new plans

The St. Petersburg staple Munch’s Restaurant and Sundries, which sold earlier this year after 70 years in business, may be brought back to life. 

“Who’s ready for some Munchs. (sic) Who would love to see the gang together again? Exciting things to come your way,” a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page read. 

Larry Munch, whose family opened the restaurant in 1952, was not immediately available to comment about the hinted plans.

Former general manager Joe Packard (left) and owner Larry Munch in the kitchen. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Munch’s closed after the retail building at 3920 6th St. S., where it operated, sold in February for $1.6 million to an LLC connected to Brian Wedlake, an executive at California-based Cato Holdings, and Danielle Robillard, president at New York-based AAkron Rule Corp.

Jake Wollman of KW Commercial, who represents the new owners, said there’s interest from a local operator to bring back the Munch’s brand in a new way. He didn’t share further details about the new potential operator. 

However, Wollman said the new owners have a long-term interest in the building and have begun renovating it. 


Calida Kitchen and Wine 

Calida Kitchen and Wine, a European-inspired wine bar serving international cuisines, recently debuted at 2909 Dr. MLK Jr. St. N. in the Crescent Heights neighborhood. 

Local chef Dayna Bennett owns the 25-seat restaurant and operates it alongside her partner, Executive Chef Ian Florence. 

Calida Kitchen and Wine’s chow noodles. Instagram image.

Calida Kitchen and Wine’s menu offers a wide range of dishes including a rotating charcuterie board, empanadas with beef and chorizo, baked polenta, and chow noodles, which are long noodles seasoned with ginger and garlic, vegetables, tamari, sesame and lime. 


Kaia Bowls 

A new restaurant serving acai and poke bowls is opening its first St. Pete location.

Kaia Bowls, based in Clearwater, is opening a location in the former Naples Soap Company space at 30 Beach Dr. NE.

One of the fruity bowls at Kaia Bowls. Facebook image.

The business is owned by the Ancuta family, who relocated from Canada to Clearwater in 2013. 

During a trip to the St. Petersburg area in 2021, husband-and-wife Marc and Cristina, their daughter Beverley and her husband Ben discovered the Kaia Bowls concept and bought the business. 

The family currently operates two Kaia Bowls restaurants in Clearwater. 

Kaia Bowls offers an assortment of fruity bowls with different bases such as the traditional acai base, made from acai berries, and pitaya (dragon fruit) and coconut bases. The poke bowls, which come with rice or greens, can be topped with ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp or chicken. 

The new space is expected to debut later this year. 


Cecelia’s Sweets 

Cecelia’s Sweets, a new restaurant concept that serves desserts and soft pretzels, has opened at 1401 Central Ave. in the storefront previously occupied by Sweet Stack Shack. 

Cecelia’s Sweets. Facebook image.

The female-owned and family-operated sweets shop features baked goods and desserts from local vendors. 

Cecelia’s Sweets, named after a family member, serves ice cream from local distributor Lickity Splits and icy treats from Vampire Penguin, a two-time winner from Food Network’s Dessert Wars competition. 

It also serves soft-baked pretzels from New Port Richey-based Penguin Pretzels. 



Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails owner Jarrett Sabatini has found a new home for the business, as its current storefront – at 1111 Central Ave. – will be demolished to make way for a new hotel development. 

Sabatini said he has inked a lease for a storefront at 1049 Central Ave., a mere several hundred feet from Intermezzo.  

Independent Bar on Central Avenue. GoogleMaps.

It’s the former home of the Independent Bar, which closed last year. 

Prominent Edge District developer Jon Daou, who is developing the new hotel project at the site and is a partial owner of Intermezzo, worked with Sabatini in securing the former Independent Bar space, which Daou and investor Blake Whitney Thompson own. 

Sabatini signed the 10-year lease for the new space in March. He also executed a separate lease for the adjacent lot.

Sabatini said he plans to move to the new space later this year. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    S. Rose Smith-Hayes

    April 22, 2023at2:07 pm

    In the future, please give the address of all mentioned establishments.

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