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John's Pass Village welcomes new eatery
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Photo courtesy of HEATHER GRZELKA
Alma, a former St. Petersburg tapas restaurant, opens this week at 111 Boardwalk Place in John’s Pass Village.
MADEIRA BEACH – A former anchor restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg will open under a new name this week at John’s Pass Village.

Scott and Thorn Vogel, the owners of the former Café Alma, are opening Alma on the second floor at 111 Boardwalk Place.

Alma will feature a VIP private dining room with seating for up to 50 guests and dining accommodations for up to 300. In addition to bringing the restaurant’s core tapas menu to John’s Pass, Alma also will feature locally caught day boat fish, Seminole Pride Angus Beef, Florida wild caught catfish and shrimp and other seasonal, local fare.

Scott Vogel said he hopes to attract both tourists and local diners who go to the Salt Rock Grill in Indian Shores and Loew’s Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach.

The new restaurant will occupy the entire second floor of the building, which also features some residential units on the third floor.

The move marks the first downtown St. Petersburg dining establishment to expand operations in the John’s Pass tourist district.

After 12 years of successful operation at 260 First Ave. S., Café Alma served its final diners on June 29.

The move became necessary when the restaurant’s rental property was sold a year ago and the new owner expressed an interest in doubling the rent.

In March, David Kramer of Pridgen Realty brokered a sale of the John’s Pass Village building to Boardwalk Place LLC of Clearwater for $1.675 million.

The deal included a long-term lease with the Vogel brothers and another commercial lease with Yogurt City, making the building 100 percent tenant occupied.

“When we first began serving diners in downtown St. Petersburg, there were only 30 other restaurants in the area,” said Scott Vogel, president of Alma. “Today, there are more than 100 restaurants in the downtown entertainment district. David Kramer opened our eyes to the massive business potential John’s Pass has to offer.”

Alma will join other dining establishments at John’s Pass, such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Hooter’s, the Friendly Fisherman Seafood Restaurant and Hub’s Oyster Bar and Tavern.
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