Riviera Bay
3:26 pm, May 23, 2024
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Transformation of Village Inn on 4th Street


An impressive improvement, greatly anticipated by the Riviera Bay neighborhood, is the transformation of the Village Inn on 4th Street N. in St. Petersburg. This initiative is particularly significant for the community as it offers a much-needed brunch option accessible by walking, biking, or even riding a golf cart, allowing residents to avoid the busy traffic on 4th Street. This development is a testament to the evolving character of the area, which has been transitioning from a landscape of motels, trailer parks, and run-down buildings to a thriving, rejuvenated community.

The investment in the Village Inn on 4th Street is reflective of the broader renaissance that Riviera Bay and surrounding areas are experiencing. With a surge in construction, redevelopment, and renovations, the neighborhood is witnessing a revival. The upgraded Village Inn, with its modern amenities, alcohol service, and a fresh menu including espresso-based craft coffee drinks, becomes a focal point in this transformation. It’s not just a dining destination but a symbol of the area’s growth and potential. Other recent concepts to arrive that are connected to our neighborhood is Scooters Coffee (soon to open), Frankie’s Italian Chophouse and others currently in development. 

For residents, this development offers a convenient and enjoyable dining experience close to home, promoting a sense of community and local engagement. The ability to access a quality brunch spot without the necessity of a car underscores the evolving urban landscape, catering to a more sustainable and community-oriented lifestyle. This change aligns with the desires of a modern populace seeking both convenience and quality in their neighborhood amenities.

Overall, the transformation of the Village Inn on 4th Street N. is more than just a renovation of a restaurant; it’s a significant contribution to the revitalization of Riviera Bay, highlighting how far the area has come and its promising future.

A series of Village Inn franchises in the Tampa Bay area, encompassing locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco Counties, are undergoing significant renovations with a budget of $5 million. These upgrades are aimed at modernizing the well-known restaurant chain, which is famous for its breakfast offerings and award-winning pies. The transformation includes a revamp of both the interior and exterior designs, an updated menu, and notably, the introduction of alcohol service—a first for Village Inn establishments in the region.

Daniel Lehan, the owner and operator of these franchises, has submitted applications for liquor licenses and plans to introduce a full bar menu at several locations, including those on 4th Street N. in St. Petersburg, Tampa Road in Oldsmar, and a new site on Roosevelt Blvd. in Clearwater, by February 2024. The introduction of alcoholic beverages, including mimosas and Bloody Marys, is expected to enhance the dining experience, resonating well with the current clientele’s preferences. 

Lehan, who started his career as a table busser at a Village Inn in 1990 and rose through the ranks to own his first franchise in 2011, is focused on creating a unique and local feel for the franchises. He aims to “de-chain” the restaurants, infusing them with a sense of individuality and local spirit. The redesign, executed in partnership with The Agency Group in St. Petersburg, emphasizes cool tones, greenery, and colorful accents, with each location featuring unique details and nods to local history.

The remodeling efforts, which include a $300,000 renovation at the Village Inn on 4th Street site, have already begun to draw increased customer interest. Lehan aims to make these establishments more relevant and appealing to both existing and new customers by expanding their offerings and enhancing quality. This strategy is part of a broader goal to double the number of guests served across the nine locations, which currently stands at approximately 1.2 million per year.

In addition to the aesthetic changes and alcohol service, the revamped Village Inn locations will start offering espresso-based craft coffee drinks, such as cappuccinos, lattes, and iced coffees, further broadening their appeal. This transformation represents a significant shift for the Village Inn brand in the area, aiming to attract a wider customer base while retaining its loyal patrons.

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