Five Courses: On the DL with Southside Coffee Brew Bar & more

St. Pete's Southside brew bar is among two other quietly opened joints, and there's more to come.

click to enlarge The Southside brew bar's Sheila Smith pours a helping of Mother Kombucha. - Robert Neff,, @5wa
Robert Neff,, @5wa
The Southside brew bar's Sheila Smith pours a helping of Mother Kombucha.

click to enlarge The Southside brew bar's Sheila Smith pours a helping of Mother Kombucha. - Robert Neff,, @5wa
Robert Neff,, @5wa
The Southside brew bar's Sheila Smith pours a helping of Mother Kombucha.

In January, a 230-square-foot St. Petersburg coffee shop debuted next door to Munch’s Restaurant & Sundries at 3922 Sixth St. S. The spot’s called Southside Coffee Brew Bar , and Chicago native and owner Sheila Smith refers to it as a “retirement toy.” 

According to Smith, who lives near the brew bar on Coquina Key and has held several coffee-biz positions (in roasteries, labs, sales, etc.) since about 1989, the neighborhood needed a place to grab early-morning cups of java and a bagel or two, which Southside gets from St. Pete Bagel Co.

“Good bagels, good coffee and good conversation,” Smith said. “It’s like a little day bar here.”

The pooch-friendly, indoor-outdoor brew bar crafts its signature drinks, the Mexican Mocha spiked with red pepper and a cold brew infused with nitrogen on tap among them, using an Atlanta roaster’s coffee, which Smith’s worked with for the last 20 years. 

Patrons order their fixes hot or iced, and the house blend is featured daily alongside a rotating offering. Rare, single-origin coffees are also on hand at times. After hours, Southside hosts cuppings and tastings, as well as consulting and training on topics like coffee sourcing for restaurant idustry folks.

“There’s a lot of educational aspects to coffee,” Smith said, everything from processing to growth to origins.

•  The Way , a family-style eatery with Southern cuisine, recently launched at 351 W. Bay Drive in Largo, where the Thirsty Marlin used to be. The lunch and dinner destination describes its bill of fare as “ever-changing.”

Eats like bacon-wrapped meatloaf, chocolate hand pies and a smothered chicken sandwich are served along with beer and wine, and daily specials, including Friday fish fries, are available. There’s an outdoor patio and indoor bar, too.

• At 6630 Central Ave. in St. Pete, D’Mexican Restaurant , headed by partners Nelson Saldarriaga, Manuel Trujillo, Juan Pablo Quevedo and Allan Galeano, slings authentic grub during lunch and dinner.

“Everything’s made from scratch. When it’s out, it’s out,” said Galeano, who left Park City, Utah, in 2007 to open Push Ultra Lounge.

Though he’s been involved in other St. Pete-based projects like Ruby’s Elixir and the Avenue, he said he wasn’t a fan of Mexican until tasting chef Saldarriaga’s creations: “This is really different.” 

The approximately 13,000-square-foot spot has more than 40 seats for fans of fresh tortillas, tamalito (a sweet corn side served with each dish), carne asada and more. To accompany draft and bottled brews, the house-made red sangria is served in mason jars.

“This is the way I wanna go,” Galeano said, adding that he’s looking to stay small, and away from downtown.

A D’Mexican location in Seminole is set for 9617 Bay Pines Blvd. near the end of May.

click to enlarge Iron Skillet Mac & Cheese from the Rowdies Den. - Rowdies Den
Rowdies Den
Iron Skillet Mac & Cheese from the Rowdies Den.

• At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the Rowdies Den , St. Pete’s Tampa Bay Rowdies-themed bar, will hold its grand opening in the former Midtown Sundries space at 200 First Ave. S. While the joint’s full menu, including blue cheese-stuffed tater tots and skillet mac, will premiere, the event will also act as the team’s season-opener watch party.

Alongside the 120-inch projector screen that plans to air Rowdies home and away games, patrons can expect 14 draft beers, cocktails and wines on tap, bar games and late-night offerings.

• Datz-Dough-Roux owners Roger and Suzanne Perry have unveiled plans to launch Sear City , a new burger concept, at a South Tampa site to be announced. The burgers, dressings and all, will be inspired by different U.S. cities.
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