Food Hall, coming to St. Pete.
By Breanne Williams – Reporter, Tampa Bay Business Journal
551 Central Ave.
A new food hall on Central Avenue is in the works, which will serve as a central hub for local health-conscious foodies and culinary experts alike.
The building purchased in June 2018 by Mark and Natalia Levey. The owners plan to keep some of the historical elements of the building while also adding in modern architecture.
Natalia Levey, a well-trained and well-traveled chef, is the driving force behind the project. She is a native of Moscow, Russia, went to culinary school in New York City, and has been to over 40 countries.
CENTRAL PARK FOOD HALL AT 561 CENTRAL AVENUE, IS A THREE-STORY FOOD HALL EXPECTED TO OPEN SUMMER 2021.
The three-story building will have dining experiences on each floor.
The first floor will contain a flagship food hall and a world class bar. Although the dining concepts are still in the planning stage, they will feature healthy eating and European cuisine. There will also be a variety of international eateries for customers to enjoy.
SPEAKS CLAM BAR AT ST. ARMAND’S CIRCLE IN SARASOTA, FL
The second floor will feature an existing restaurant concept owned by Levey, the award-winning Speaks Clam Bar, an eatery with fun, Prohibition-style decor offering classic Italian entrees with a New York City vibe, seafood dishes and cocktails. This will be Speaks third location on the Gulf Coast. Its other locations are in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota.
The third floor will serve as an event space with a rooftop park and another opportunity for afternoon and evening dining. In addition to another new restaurant concept by Chef Natalia, the rooftop will include outdoor seating with a park-like atmosphere with events in mind.
NATALIA LEVEY, AN OWNER OF SPEAKS CLAM BAR IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND CENTRAL PARK FOOD HALL
The name “Central Park” came not only from its location on Central Avenue but also from the nostalgia that owner Natalia Levey feels from time spent living in New York City. It’s where her culinary career started and she’s experienced some of her best memories in Central Park.
“I feel like I have a very special connection to the European heritage that St. Petersburg holds,” said Levey. “We look forward to Central Park becoming the go-to destination for meaningful culinary, interpersonal and business connections for the vibrant community of St Petersburg.”
Construction of a food hall is underway in the old Woolworth building on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.
Hi Hospitality Group begins work Monday at the three-story building at 551 Central Ave. The 24,000-square-foot building is called Central Park St. Pete Food Hall and will have unique elements on each level for customers.
The old Woolworth building, which was home to breakfast restaurant Dome Grill until it closed in 2018, will “undergo a massive transformation” to become Central Park, which will integrate unique dining concepts with the “service, technology of the future and stunning interior design,” according to a news release from Hi Hospitality.
“We hope this food hall will become the central hub for international culinary experiences, delicious celebrations, and create lots of jobs and opportunities in the community,” Natalia Levey, founder of Hi Hospitality Group and James Beard Foundation 2021 WEL fellow, said.
Hi Hospitality owns Speaks Clam Bar and Kojo, which will have a presence in the food hall. The project will include fast-casual options that range from breakfast offerings to late-night snacks.
In addition, a high-end, speakeasy-style bar is also expected to be at the location. The food hall will include a rooftop bar and lounge as well as a private event space with a balcony that overlooks Central Avenue.
Hi Hospitality Group is working with Invision Advisors, Behar + Peteranecz Architecture, Barr & Barr and SSA to bring the project to life.
This is one of three food halls that in 2019 announced intentions to come to downtown St. Pete. A spinoff of Hall on Franklin in Tampa named Hall on Central is planned for the Edge District in St. Pete at 1246 Central Ave. as part of the Edge Collective, from Miami-based PTM Partners.
The team behind Tampa Height’s Armature Works announced in 2019 it would open a two-story food hall and bar at Sundial, though bankruptcy filings appear to have brought those plans to a halt.
3-story eatery ‘Central Park’ coming to St. Pete
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Another food hall is set to open in St. Petersburg in 2021.
Tampa chef and restauranteur Natalia Levey is looking to turn the space that housed the former Dome Grill into an eatery with different concepts among its three stories.
The new business will be called “Central Park Food Hall,” in honor of Levey’s time in culinary school in New York City and the hall’s location on Central Avenue in St. Pete.
“I love the culture and it’s really, really special to me,” Levey told 8 On Your Side. “I love Central Park and I think Central Park will create that special ambiance for St. Pete.”
She called the building a “treasure,” saying she and her team began exploring different ideas as to how to utilize the space.
The second floor will feature a Tampa Bay area favorite – Speaks Clam Bar, also owned by Levey.
Speaks currently has locations in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota.
“Our restaurant – our Speaks Clam Bar – is performing so well, we always get requests. I just got an email, ‘please, please open on the east coast of Florida!’ So it seemed like St. Pete was going to be a natural place for Speaks,” Levey explained.
The bottom floor is 8,000 square feet and will house a bar and several different eateries. Levey explained some of those will be very health conscious and others will offer international flavors.
The first-floor concepts have not been announced or named.
Levey told us the roof is going to be what’s really special. It will feature a new restaurant concept all her own.
“So the concept (is) it’s will be very small and it’s going to be inspired by my travels all over the world and exploring different cultures. It is designed to be a celebration of the diversity of taste,” she explained. “In going with the whole theme of Central Park, my restaurant will be sharing the roof space. So the bar will be accessible from inside the restaurant and from the roof side, or that’s the intention….If we can make it actually come to reality, hope. One can dream. We have big dreams.”
The roof will feature private dining rooms for meetings, fun celebrations and weddings.
In addition, Levey has studied different aspects of maintaining health and eating well and that will be incorporated into Central Park Food Hall.
“I know St. Pete has Healthy St. Pete initiatives, so being able to offer a lot of healthy options and contribute to that initiative is something I’m most excited and proud of,” she said.
As for the other food halls opening in the city in the next few years, Levey said she is happy to work with them and bring the culinary community together.
“Oh I absolutely don’t think of them as competition,” she said. “We’re all colleagues. I feel like chefs will collaborate and we’ll all work together. I’m all for working together and welcome everybody to cooperate and join hands and providing more dining opportunities for people.”