A long-awaited addition to south St. Petersburg is now open for business. The Hideaway Pizza Pub at 3901 6th St. S. began earning its reputation as a neighborhood pizzeria on Aug. 1 — with the added twist of a tiki hut out back, where live entertainment is featured on weekends.
There's a still-under-construction recreational area, too.
Owner Ed Smeltz purchased the land that The Hideaway stands on two years ago, intending to turn it into apartments. However, Smeltz decided another dining spot was what the area needed instead. Munch's, located across the street next door to Southside Coffee Brew Bar, used to be the only restaurant nearby, and it closes at 3 p.m. daily.
"The name was going to be Chunky Monkey," said Smeltz, a downtown St. Pete local for the last 10 years who's originally from Pittsburgh. "We wanted to create a destination — not just a local bar or pizza place, but a destination. We want people to say, 'Have you been to The Hideaway?' Chunky Monkey seemed to not fit, so The Hideaway came from [the fact that] this was a house that no one was ever able to find."
Initially, The Hideway was scheduled to open in December 2017, but the house-turned-pizzeria — built in 1928 — required a few upgrades to go from residential to commercial, including adjustments for fire regulations and city permits.
"You should feel like you're at the beach, but you're here in the neighborhood," said general manager Dave Draver. "The music will reflect that, Thursday through Sunday evening."
The menu is focused on New York-style pizza, showcasing standard pies like margherita, Hawaiian and veggie that mingle with sandwiches, salads and barbecue. Formerly of Mellow Mushroom, Draver says new options will continue to make an appearance.
"I'm going to try to bring some of that flavor in [from Mellow Mushroom]. The pizza will be basic, but we're going to form our own specialties. Full bar at two bars — outside and inside. Patio dining," he said.
Residents might even recognize the friendly face spearheading The Hideaway's barbecue: "Uncle Earl" Spinks, who operated a barbecue stand down the road at 6th Street South and 45th Avenue for a time. Eventually, the pizzeria aims to launch a mobile food truck, serving up pizza alongside ribs, chicken, pulled pork and wings.
At the moment, the pizzeria employs about 20 people, and the plan is to hire more staff members as volume picks up.
"We plan on doing flea markets in the lot around us," Draver says. "Every Saturday morning people pull up with produce and food for the neighborhood. From golf and fishing tournaments to motorcycle rallies and car shows, this will be the venue."
Angela's Italian Market and an education studio for kids will soon debut next door, joining The Hideaway as neighborhood newcomers.
According to Smeltz, he wants the pizzeria to be known for its entertainment as much as the pies.
"We've got some local people, but we'll also bring some people in from Memphis — and a group from the Caribbean."
The Hideaway is open 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Starting next month, the pizzeria will kick off lunch service at 11 a.m. Expanded parking is available across the street in front of businesses and at Grandview Park.