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Top Chef star, Tampa restaurateurs bring high-end Italian concept to 200 Central

Nocturnal Hospitality Group plans to open what it says will be Pinellas County’s first celebrity-chef driven restaurant at 200 Central in downtown St. Petersburg.

Fabio Viviani, a fan favorite on Bravo’s Top Chef, and Nocturnal Hospitality partners Lanfranco Pescante, David Anderson and Lou Dommer are collaborating on the new restaurant, La Pergola, which will specialize in high-end Italian cuisine and top-shelf cocktails.

Nocturnal Hospitality is the Tampa company that developed Franklin Manor and other venues along Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. La Pergola is Nocturnal’s first restaurant outside of downtown Tampa.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to extend Nocturnal Hospitality Group’s success to downtown St. Pete,” said Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital, which owns 200 Central. “Fabio and his partners David and Lanfranco are professional restauranteurs who pride themselves on perfecting an authentic quality dining experience that blends with the vibrant and emerging demographic of downtown St. Pete.”

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will be on the first floor of 200 Central in the space that has been occupied by the downtown branch office of Raymond James & Associates. Raymond James is moving to the top three floors of the 26-story, Class A office tower.

“We are fortunate to have a landlord with the insight and desire to reinvigorate this former office space into a destination restaurant, a use that better serves the property and the downtown St. Pete community overall,” said Cushman & Wakefield Director Wendy Giffin, who serves as the exclusive leasing agent for 200 Central. “La Pergola is an exciting addition to downtown St. Pete and a great complement to our existing restaurants and amenity base.”

There are two other restaurants at the building — The Mill and Craft Kafe — and another, Dig In, is expected to open soon. La Pergola is expected to open in the spring of 2020.

Viviani has appeared on dozens of food-centric television shows and is one of the featured chefs for Epcot’s upcoming Food and Wine Festival. He has opened more than 30 restaurants in the United States.

“As a chef and hospitality developer, I am very excited to put my foot down in the St. Pete area,” said Viviani. “Aside from the gorgeous waterfront scene and the good people living there, St. Pete has become a community that has embraced good food, good hospitality and great drinks. We will bring all of that with La Pergola.”

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at margie@stpetecatalyst.com

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