Gordon Davis — one of the "creators" of SoHo and a pioneer of Tampa's restaurant scene— is out at Ceviche. According to Andrew Wilkins (one of Ceviche's manager/partners) the Canadian investment group that Davis brought in last year to help fund Ceviche's big expansion into Orlando and Sarasota bought Davis out three weeks ago.
"That was always the plan," said Davis from his second home in Colorado. "We've been working on that for a long time, I just didn't know how soon it would happen." According to Davis, he'll be involved with Ceviche as a consultant for the next three years.
Davis is not leaving the Bay area restaurant scene entirely, however. Separate from the Ceviche sale is a barbecue joint on Platt Street he's been trying to open for the past two years, long-delayed by permitting and change of use problems. "It looks like we're probably four weeks away from opening," he said. He'll return to Tampa this week to gear up for Platt Street Smokehouse's debut.
Meanwhile, Ceviche is continuing to grow. Last week, the restaurant moved it's Tampa restaurant into Davis' old St. Bart's spot on South Howard, after getting into a conflict with the condominium that housed the former location. The mammoth, 29,000 square foot Orlando Ceviche that opened last September in the venerable Church Street Station entertainment complex has been hampered by nearby construction that closed roads leading to the restaurant. A brand new Ceviche outpost will open in the next two weeks in an historic building in Sarasota.
I think Davis is glad to be out of the fray. "I love the Ceviche project," he said, "but [my wife and I] are still healthy and we'd like to retire while we can still do some high adventure." He plans to spend a lot more time in Colorado.