Big things are coming to the EDGE district, and they all have one thing in common – Jonathan Daou. The New York transplant and founder of Eastman Equity has developed a special love for St. Pete, and after the restoration and renovation of the North Ward School on 4th Street, he’s turned his attention to the EDGE district.
Openhouse took the former home of Ricky P’s New Orleans Bistro and transformed it into a trendy, flexible event space with a full bar and commercial kitchen. It hosts business workshops, parties, events and everything in between.
Daou saw possibilities for the space beyond and between hosting events as Openhouse, and so Baum Ave Market was born. Operating alongside Openhouse, a close-knit team of co-owners were given creative license to make Baum Ave Market their own. Royal Palm Market, which runs every Thursday night, was the first announced installation. It was profiled by the Catalyst in mid-October. But something was already quietly budding inside the space in September.
“Baum Ave Market is about curating something that hopefully everyone else in the EDGE district would want to be a part of,” said Jennifer Miranda, the woman behind Baum Ave Market’s concept, Serene St. Pete. “For me, it’s all about building our community with brands, concepts, and fresh ideas that we’re not only interested in but also cater to all age groups.”
Serene soft-opened at the end of September, keeping a low profile while finding its footing, said Miranda. At 23, she’s just a few short years out of graduating from University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a degree in Psychology. But the young entrepreneur has been managing the Eastman Equity office since 2014, something she still does alongside her passion for growing the Serene concept.
Miranda describes Serene St. Pete as a wellness bar. The menu is filled with juice shots, smoothies, and smoothie bowls like the “Glow-Getter” (a vegan golden milk blend with peanut butter and banana, topped with gogi berries, coconut flakes, chia seeds and edible flowers) and wellness lattes like “Soothing Cacao” (a lavender tea hot cacao with honey and macadamia nut milk, topped with lavender buds).
It fills a space in the EDGE district, where quick, healthy to-go options are in short supply.
As a health-conscious consumer, Miranda said she wanted to create something she knew was actually healthy, not a run-of-the-mill chain smoothie filled with hidden sugars and additives. “I wanted to make something nutritious that could appeal to the masses.”
Miranda said she was tired of stressing and making special requests in a so-called health-food store. “I was always saying, ‘Don’t add turbinado sugar to this, don’t add that,’” she explained. “I wanted to create products that are naturally healthy. I don’t like concepts that sell health and don’t serve the actual meaning.”
She also wanted to create something that gave people who’ve battled with disordered eating and hormonal imbalances, like she has, a safe space where they can feel welcome and not worry as much about their food choices. “I’ve always been interested in finding ways to make food healthier because I always had to find those alternatives. I don’t want people to come in and feel like they need to count macros.”
Serene St. Pete and Avocado Valley, a Mediterranean restaurant that focuses on clean plant-based foods, are open now in Baum Ave Market. Expect more news to come from the space, with plans in the works for a vegan bakery pop-up and retail endeavors. Check back with the Catalyst to stay updated.
Serene’s soft-open hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (with the exception of Thursday’s, when they’re open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.!) and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for updated times: @serenestpete