Dang, this new brew pub on the block just hit all the vibes with a huge Ka-Bang for this native St. Petersburgian. Really, there is nothing better than seeing an establishment honor the rich history of Central Avenue in my beloved home town. Back in the day, my daddy owned Buddy Hill's Auto sales just a block or two west from 16th Street World Liquors (yep, the one with the black and white globe). The same Buddy Hill who once set huge blocks of ice on the corner of Central Avenue and 4th Street and as they melted they revealed advertising for his Auto Sales. He got fined, of course but he foiled the signage prohibition at the time. I love the sense of history preserved in this tiny spot on Central. From the reclaimed Augusta bricks that line the wall behind the bar, to the 30 foot back-lit mural with historic buildings accurately painted, to the copper pennies that make up the bathroom floors. It is just a delight to the eye.
Now let's talk food and brew. I love the large chalkboard with prices for full pours and half pours. A nice touch if you want to try a few new brews and not commit tummy space to a full pour each. Believe me, you want to leave room for the food.
The Mister and I share a delightful little iron skillet of kielbasa wrapped in proscuitto and sprinkled with brown sugar. The little nuggets were perfect as an appetizer. A little sweet, a little salty and a good bit of fat to make that perfect Beach Blonde from Three Sisters Brewery all the more delectable. Mr. Boring did his usual Miller Lite as his brew of choice.
Cameron was a terrific server, she was attentive and can pour a perfect pint. She gave us the lunch specials and we were immediately drawn to them. The Mister chose the Beef brisket with sweet bbq sauce topped with an overeasy egg on a huge pillowy bun. (Don't tell his cardiologist). He upgraded his side dish for the house special mac n' cheese (another piping hot skillet topped with crispy bread crumbs, yum).
I chose the SML sandwich....what is an SML? Why it is a smoked meat loaf sandwich with smokey bacon, your choice of sauce (make mine spicy) topped with house made cole slaw. I chose my side of collard greens. Good heavens, I will always worship a sprinkle jar of vinegar full of full of peppers and garlic. What better sprinkle can anyone have for greens? The greens were perfectly tender and the hot vinegar made them sing! Our lunch specials were served on 1/8 sheet pans lined with a paper liner. It harkens back to the day when your favorite bbq came on butcher paper with a few slices of wonder white.
Hubby declared he was absolutely too full to indulge in a dessert. I was intrigued with the Sweet Potato Souffle that Cameron had mentioned, so I ordered one for us to share. "Oh no, Tina, I won't eat any I'm too full." Famous last words from Freddie. I went to use the facilities and marvel at the penny floor and when I returned, Mr. I'mtoofull had eaten half of the sweet hot dessert. It was served in the mini-piping hot cast iron skillet, the sweet potatoes were topped with brown sugar crumble, walnuts and marshmallows. It was delicious. All the guilty goodness of the Thanksgiving table in a fun dessert. A half pint of Bet Red with a perfectly creamy head was a good match with the sweetness of the dish.
We had a perfectly fine afternoon at this nice addition to the burgeoning Central Avenue scene. Nothing can make me happier than to see our downtown shake off the sleepiness of the past and embrace the vibrancy of good food and cheer. Here's looking at you, kid.
In a former life time I was known as "Tina, the Tourguide." Maybe I gained my nickname because of my penchant for telling 'people where to go' or maybe not. My former employ as a resort front desk manager allowed me to indulge in tasting, trying and then recommending restaurants for our diverse base of guests. It was the favorite part of my job....investigating what was new, what was popular and what would be a good fit for the diner. I was not compensated then or now for my dining choices, it is purely my personal opinion on finding the best tasting restaurants, value or splurge, family or intimate to recommend to either guests or friends. That being said, I do have a personal bias to the old St. Pete establishments as a life long resident of a city I love. I am drawn to visit and review the places that have been re-vitalized into something new from my recollections.